My gardener has just arrived to cut my lawns and is already complaining about the humidity although the sun isn't shining. Even before he starts there is a delicious smell of cut grass because the field behind my house is having its second crop silage cut this morning. And it looks to be a good crop judging by the amount of grass that is shooting out of the top of the machine and into the following trailer.
The farms around here are all quite large; small family-owned farms, where the ownership goes back several generations, are often just not financially viable any more. And when one becomes empty a neighbouring farmer or a syndicate will buy the land and add it to their existing land and thus does a lot of farm history disappear for ever. Our 'Peacocks'(which presumably belonged to a Mr Peacock in the distant past) is now part of a larger farm and the name will just die out.
Does it matter? Probably not. The whole way and manner of farming has disappeared as with so many ways of life. Gone are the days when if you passed a field there would be half a dozen men working it, whatever the crop. If it was wet they would still be working, sacking draped across their shoulders, working in all weathers and going home to their farm cottage, usually a 'tied' cottage, to a wife and a brood of children and usually a good hearty meal on the table and a good fire in the grate because tied cottages usually had good gardens and often a pig sty and a chicken run. But they were still 'tied' - the job went with the cottage.
Now one big, spanking, expensive machine does the work that half a dozen men did and often the tied cottages have been renovated and let as holiday cottages, or sold and joined together to make one lovely country cottage. And most people (if they even glance in the direction of the land) are people who have come into villages from outside and don't know anything about the old lives. And no longer is it just one crop of hay feed, where the farmer has to keep his eye on the weather and judge exactly when it is right to cut - now with modern methods of feeding two, three or even four crops of silage can be reaped each year.
And nobody wants to work on the farm any more - too hard work.
And so this morning I can sit in the window and watch D mowing my grass with a modern mower and the farmer's sole employee mowing the field beyond for the second time this year. The old times may well sound romantic in the poetry of the day and look romantic in a Constable painting
but the truth is nobody wants to do back-breaking work if it is unnecessary do they? Nostalgia is all very well but best viewed from the comfort of one's arm chair.