A beautiful afternoon; I am enjoying a walk in the countryside when I hear a voice
‘Excuse me, you.’
Oh dear, a man in a tweed jacket and cap is marching angrily towards me. Just now, I climbed a fence and walked along the edge of a large field, climbed another fence before finding the legitimate path on which I now stand facing the red-faced farmer.
‘How did you get here?
‘I’m sorry, I climbed over the wrong fence. It was a mistake.’
This does not placate him. His eyes narrow.
‘How did you get here?’
He is aggressive; the bull-male in me rears up.
‘I came on my legs – it’s known as walking.’
He looks momentarily confused then tries another tack.
‘Tell me, do you have a garden?’
I know exactly where he is going with this. He is going to ask me how I would like it if he turned up in my garden. As though his farm is an urban garden.
‘How would you like it if I turned up in your garden?’
‘I should be delighted. It’s not as big as all your fields but I like to invite in anyone who passes.’
He blinks. Game to me.
The antipathy between the countryman and townie is a game that has been played for two hundred years and more. To him I am a trespassing smart-arse and probably a leftie; to me, he is a posh yokel who was easily outwitted.
Neither of us looks back as we stride away from each other. (well, I don’t know – maybe he did)