Alex James: Punch drunk in the summer moonlight

Rural Notebook

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I was still dancing, my heart fit to burst, when the sun came up on Sunday. So perfectly still it was, and clement under the stars when I bounced out of the tent to cool down. A wedding in the parish and a real cracker.

I missed the service, having been in Colchester with Blur, our first gig for 10 years: grown men weeping, bawling, losing themselves utterly; young people saying things like, "That was mint, bro." Young people don't say "wicked" any more.

Anyway, not a dry eye in the house. The sound of music I never thought I'd hear again, then home to this, the commemoration of everlasting love; love and music, the only enchantments we deserve or need. Joy and harmony everywhere, and I was drunk on it as I lay in the short grass, reflecting that people must have been doing silly dances in the moonlight around here for a long, long time, since they lived in the fort on top of the next hill along.

I could see one of our neighbours flinging herself around to "Walking On Sunshine" in floods of unself-conscious delight, and other locals, arm in arm in a big circle, kicking their legs and tossing their heads around. I wondered where my wife was and I didn't mind. She'll find me, I thought.

How many stars am I looking at? I wondered. It was like trying to work out the number of leaves on a lime tree, impossible to guess. Easy to get it wrong by a factor of a thousand: many, many stars. And what strange tree do they all hang from? Nothing but music, I promise you.

The sky gradually became simpler, just a lazy crescent of moon and the bright spot of Venus sitting side by side in the bottomless blue of forever. Immaculate England gently going green before my exhausted, exhilarated eyes. And there was my wife in the summer mist and she said: "Let's go home."

The grass is never greener

After all that messing around with architects and four-be-twos, endless arguing about furniture, trying to make everything perfect and then sitting in the grass on Sunday, surrounded by all the nice little things that live there, I suddenly realised I'm happiest in the grass.

I have hardly given any thought to the grass except for cutting it, and it's nicer long. I suppose you have to try everything in order to realise that you don't need to do anything.

Everything is just peachy

The peach tree is probably my favourite thing in the garden after the bouncy castle. I thought peaches came only from banana-y sorts of places, but they live quite happily in Oxfordshire. In fact, it looks as if it's going to be an exceptional year for peaches. I've never seen anything like it. 2009: the Year of the Peach.

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