The dog and I wondered out at about 6:30pm. It takes about 45 seconds for the nature cure (Richard Mabey's words, not mine) and then I'm out for the count, in full-on adoration mode. I love the stripes of color -- green grass, blue sky, broccoli woods, purple thistle, grubby sheep. And I love that there were hot-air balloons tonight, two of them, in red and white, floating gently over the escarpment, as if we were characters in an Ian McEwan novel. We walked a few miles, the terrier and me, down into the Hangings where the rookeries are, through the field where the sheep graze, along the road towards the Grand Union and then back along the path that runs parallel with the railway line. The path zig-zags up past the llama farm (or were they alpacas?), back along the edge of the cornfield, past a chalky Watership Down and then back up through my father's wood. The wood is full of brambles, cuckoo pint, nettles but the path, which I remember taking so long as a child, is a breeze and we walked home listening to the wood pigeons.