Alex James: Back to earth, with a bump

Rural Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Fresh air, cool on the skin. Very still, very quiet in the valley. The farm's boundaries and the whole of the rest of the world had disappeared somewhere behind the softest of morning mists.

Sometimes the Cotswolds can feel like a suburb of London. It's only an hour-and-a-half in a taxi from Charing Cross to Daylesford after all, but there in the mist it was like we were on a remote desert island, floating disconnected from anything.

I'd been making swings with the kids. Made them with old lengths of rope dangling from the huge oak in the front field. Quite a big success, so we'd been to the hardware shop to get some bits and pieces to make a "flying boat" from a huge old tractor tyre. The hardware shop is one of those places where you can get anything. Some-one stuck their head around the door and asked if they sold reindeer while I was at the counter. "Try the Post Office," said the shop assistant. I drew the man a picture of what I wanted and in five minutes I had nuts, bolts, chains, gimbal everything.

After I'd spent an hour with a stepladder and a hammer the three of them were sitting in the tyre and I was swinging them round faster and faster. I'd never seen them so happy. Suddenly it all made sense. There could be no better place to live and bring up children. Just when I was feeling like the best dad in the world the hook attaching tyre to tree snapped and they collapsed on the floor in a heap of cracked heads and tangled limbs, screaming. They were all howling. "Where does it hurt? What's the matter? Tell me what's the matter!"

"The swing's broken!" they howled, "The swing's broken!" So it was all fine, no harm done.

"Come on let's go and have a cup of tea and a mince pie," I said. "Yes, yes, yes," they all chimed, "and can we watch telly now?"

Oh what a night

Darkness can make the rest of the world disappear, too. It's hard to believe in New York City or China when you're wandering round a muddy field at midnight.

Last night it was dark, windy, cold and raining – and somehow beautiful as well. I ended up going on quite a long walk. Alone in the dark isn't supposed to be much fun but I felt such a sense of liberty I just couldn't stop singing, as loud as I could. Really loud. Couldn't stop. You can't do that in Notting Hill. You'd be arrested.

Morning glory

Everyone tends to complain about the cold and the wet. I don't like it when March and April are inclement but I love these grey misty winter mornings. Sunshine, all those bright colours, that's just kids stuff, really. The frosty silver greys and deep soft greens of winter: they're exquisite.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: We are winning the fight against extreme poverty and hunger. It's time to up the ante

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron addresses No campagn supporters in Aberdeen  

Scottish independence: Cameron faces a choice between destroying his country or his party

Matthew Norman
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week