We are spending the weekend in Herefordshire, loveliest of English counties,which at this moment of May is looking at its most heartbreakingly beautiful. The hedgerows are bowed with waterfalls of blossoming hawthorn, the verges foaming with cow parsley. The meadows are golden with buttercups or starred with daisies,while the cottage gardens are bright with aubrietia, clematis, lilac and laburnum (which my mother-in-law always called Golden Chains,though I have never heard that anywhere else). The trees in the Herefordshire cider orchards are thick with pink-and-white apple blossom, perhaps the most beautiful blossom of all, with its promise of future bounty. Meanwhile the swallows have returned and the garden birds are singing their heads off. This morning I was delighted to hear a cuckoo calling from the woods.
For me, the brilliantly yellow rape fields are a little too garish for the gentle colours of the English countryside, but there is no doubt that they are spectacular and form a striking contrast to the pale green of the young-leafed trees around them.
It is hard to imagine anywhere better to be, as the longed-for warmth and sunshine illuminates the landscape.