I have been ambushed by the past

The other week I turned up for the village walking club’s Monday hike. A dawn meet. Two cars. A 90-minute drive and we parked on beaten earth under umbrella pines. The line-up that day was three English, three French. I was the youngest; the others were encumbered by walking poles. We shouldered our day packs and skied through the pines to emerge on a dazzling beach next to a glittering sea. A hundred metres offshore was a steep fortified island. Fort de Brégançon is the French President’s summer residence, they said. A spry and taciturn old Frenchwoman, dressed for any future meteorological possibility and with a whistle and lanyard strung

Why it pays to be rude to ramblers

If the novelty of going for a walk doesn’t wear thin for the marauding masses soon, I am going to have to buy a laminator. I’ve bought so many warning signs off the internet telling townies what they can’t do around livestock, I might have to learn how to make signs myself. A bulk order of ‘Dogs Must Be on a Lead at All Times’ had to be placed during lockdown as we started to attract people who would rather be at Westfield shopping centre. I affixed them along the fence line inside my field, along with traffic cones and stripy roadworks barriers, because although walkers should not be in