My Devon lanes are not known for their breadth . They meander snake narrow between high hedges and flower laden banks . As a driver you always keep a mental note of the last gateway or lay by that you passed and at this time of the year more so than ever . The harvest is well under way and almost certainly you will meet an alien machine straight out of Star Wars . Yes , the Combine Harvesters are back in the lanes which are ill equipped to deal with them as they laboriously trundle from farm to farm . As you round a corner there is a leviathan heading directly towards you . You stop nose to nose and high above you on his throne sits the King of the road . He smiles benignly down at you knowing full well that it is you who is going to have to back off .
This procedure can be made all the more interesting if there are several cars behind you , you look in your rear view mirror in amusement and then despair as the cars attempt to reverse . I say despair as inevitably there is one driver for whom reversing is an unknown quantity . A zig zag course from bank to bank can take an inordinate amount of time .
I met one such driver in a lane a few weeks back . We faced each other and it was a stand off . Behind her was a gateway some 30 yards back and I knew that my gateway was at least 100 yards back . She was a county lady ,all tweed and blue rinse, driving an enormous, very new 4X4 . She folded her arms across her chest and glared at me in my ancient Vectra . I suddenly had the urge to give my undivided attention to my nails and so we sat and waited .....and waited . Eventually I could bear it no longer so approached her car and cordially suggested she might reverse the 30 yards . "No" she replied ' I can't reverse and anyway this is my husband's car and I don't know where reverse is either which doesn't really matter because even if I did I couldn't "
Beaten I retreated and reversed back to my remembered gateway . She swept past me with an imperious wave of her hand , very Queenlike and disappeared round the bend . I couldn't help but wish there was a tractor and trailer round the next corner . Unkind ? Vengeful ? Yes correct on both counts .
We have been enjoying the wonderful weather here in Devon but also having to live with the consequences . Parched fields , dusky brown ,more Greece than Devon . Cows mournfully chewing on winter fodder as there is no grass left . Hedgerows looking exhausted in the heat and rivers and streams reduced to a trickle.Even people look different, everyone is nut brown as if they have been holidaying on the Med . And the most amazing array of shorts you have ever seen ,some of which have not seen daylight for years , mine included . I suppose this is the kind of summer childhood memories are made of -endlessly hot sunny days . Maybe next year huddled under an umbrella looking at leaden skies we will look back and say "ah 2018 , now that was a real summer " .