Yesterday was a gorgeous day weatherwise with wall to wall sunshine and just a faint breeze. Admittedly, that was coming from the wrong quarter - north-east - but it was fairly gentle, even on the top of the Downs. That was where I took Fern for a walk in the afternoon. I drove out through Falmer and past the university sports ground in the direction of St Mary's farm before parking in a layby and heading uphill across the Downs towards Plumpton. I spent a couple of minutes watching a pilot practising aerobatics - including loop the loop and victory rolls - before he headed off away to the west. With young lambs playing - the first I have seen this year - it felt almost as though spring had arrived at last.
This is a there-and-back walk for me. It would be possible to make a circular walk of it but that would take much more time than I usually have. Coming back down the hill I caught a few tentative notes of a skylark's song and then there was complete silence: no sheep or lambs bleating, no cattle lowing, no birds singing, no aircraft, no traffic. That's not something that happens very often in this crowded corner of our island. There was not even a wind rustling the branches of the few stunted hawthorn trees. The Downs were spread out behind me and to both sides as far as I could see while in front of me were a few of the taller buildings in Brighton silhouetted against a brightly sparkling sea which looked for all the world just like silver. Even the new football stadium was hidden from my view. It was a magical moment when I could enjoy the beauty of the England I love.