It's a privilege, living in Wiltshire. Especially at this time of year.
Our huge fields are patterned - combine harvesters have swept up and down, up and down, weaving round trees and over ditches, bringing in the crops. Rabbits and mice and little voles run around like mad things - all protection gone. The air is full of dust, and bits of straw.
Harvesting begins the second the dew dries in the morning and continues long into the night. Headlights, like giant eyes, creep across the hillsides. And you know that some farmer is making the most of sandwiches for he'll be too tired for supper tonight - all to bring in wheat for my bread or barley for my beer.
The street where I live, on the edge of a market town, is lined with parked cars. At this time of year trucks thunder up and down, trailers laden with straw - which scatters across the cars and onto front doorsteps. There's so much straw you can taste it in the air. Children cling to railings as they pass, as they are huge and sometimes it seems that the mountains of straw must topple to the street crushing cars and small children. It's untidy, of course, all these bits of straw - but it's part of the season, part of living where I do, evidence that farmers are doing what farmers have done for centuries.
And sometimes it's truly entertaining - when the combine harvesters try to get down the street. It is the main route from the farms to the combine harvester menders, and so every year we have one or two who must make it between the lines of cars to the garage. The driver sits twenty feet or more in the air. Wheels over six feet high. Barely two inches each side (even less if someone has parked carelessly) for the machine to get through safely. Someone walks in front, waving the driver - an inch this way, an inch that (left hand down a bit, so to speak). The noise is wonderful - the growl of the engine as the machine edges its way, bit by bit down the street. With, of course, an audience - most of us who live here are out there, watching the entertainment. I don't have a car, but those who do bite their nails as it seems impossible their precious heaps of metal might be scratched. Occasionally we gather together to bounce a carelessly-parked car onto the pavement. And I've never seen the combine harvesters scratch a single car. (The big tractors - they've been known to clip a wing mirror or two!)
Are we too easily pleased - if this is our idea of excitement?