In Sussex, we have England's newest National Park, the Sussex Downs.* Rolling hills of chalk, dropping off (quite literally in the case of Birling Gap) to the sea, but stretching for miles inland. Topped with scrubland and grazing fields, it's a nice place to get away from it all.
Well, it would be, if 'all' hadn't had the same idea and begun tromping and driving round the countryside in inappropriate clothing.
On the rare moments, however, when the sounds of traffic and/or screaming kids that would rather be watching TV are mercifully absent, it's a gloriously peaceful place to be. Close your eyes, and just listen. That's the wind in the grass, maybe an early cricket or grasshopper, the occasional sheep, and possibly one of the most defining sounds of the English open countryside, the song of the skylark.
A couple of weeks ago, we were driving to Seaford to take Roxy for a long walk along their promenade. For a change, I decided to take a route through the Beachy Head area of the South Downs National Park. The weather was warm, and I had the windows wound down a little, and I was thrilled to hear the skylarks singing away. Julie couldn't hear them, though.
Yes, she went there. Then claimed the cows were singing too, even though there weren't any nearby. I suggested their tune would be 'Udder the boardwalk'.
The conversation went absolutely nowhere after that.
* Why on earth are these hills called 'downs'? As far as most people are concerned, they should be 'ups'. I'm sure there is a logical, etymological reason.