In the British countryside, the month of May is best summed up as abundant.
The verges and laneways are cloaked with dandelions that reach for the sky and lacy cow parsley that grows at a rate of knots. The hedgerows are filled with blossom, bluebells and a dozen more things I still can't name. Woodland undergrowth is a sea of wild garlic flowers and wild anemones. Agricultural crops are inching up, higher and higher each day. The perimeters of the fields are dotted with clouds of hawthorn in mid-blossom.
After months of dormancy, everything unfurls, climbs and blooms all at once.
After a long, bleak winter, you easily forget that England could be this green and fertile!
The sun has drenched the West Country all month long, sending crops and weeds alike hurtling ever skyward. The daylight and the birds softly begin around 4am, our thin linen drapes no match for their early morning enthusiasm. I really don't mind though. I relish the languid nature of this time of the year as British summertime stretches the days to their pinnacle; 17+ hours long. Going for post-supper walks in the warmth of the sinking sun is such a treat.
I regularly pull on my wellies and squelch up my favourite local bridleway before wandering along a long forgotten cobbled Roman road running alongside lush, sheep dotted farmland. The Fosseway is close by and Roman history is well documented in this rural pocket at the junction of Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. My route takes me across a Roman footbridge, though I usually eschew it for the opportunity to wade through the crystal clear water of the brook, giving my wellington boots a much-needed wash in the process. I walk home through the village, peering over garden gates to see what will be in flower next.
As May draws to a close, I see roses blooming around cottage windows, foxgloves outstripping dandelions and hot-pink valerian sprouting from the crevices in stone walls.
Which means only one thing,
summer is nigh.