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Something To Declare: Can we still escape the noise of the world?

I once sat in the garden of one of our most idyllic Herefordshire B&Bs, drinking tea and listening to my hostess waxing lyrical about the tranquillity of this quietest of areas: the Welsh Marches. Then we ducked as two fighter jets screamed overhead, preparing for the invasion of Iraq. It was more surprising than it was alarming, but it did remind me that total peace is elusive in these isles. "Noise" takes many forms other than the scream of fighter jets.