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Glory be to god for dappled things. The sun’s out in an unprecedented effusion – five days of straight heat. No work has been done. Still,

‘Upon such days, with such-like sloth Who wants to study?..’
(Nabokov’s very long Cambridge poem)

The Great British Summer has arrived. ‘After all,’ said A, ‘if we can’t have a put on a Great Summer with an Olympics and a Diamond Jubilee, it’ll prove we are a rubbish country. We are a rubbish country.’


Finally, my Anglophilia – which I now wear under very domestic retiring colours to distinguish me from day-visitors – can blend in. The flag bunting on the streets, the window displays (the one at Boswells is particularly glorious and Elizabeth-studded). Every newspaper feature has a list of ten Great British _____ (fill in the blank.) - cheeses, destinations, monarchs, fabric prints, restaurants, novels, icons, country walks. The ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ motif, which has gained loyal followers in the past few years, has been maximally exploited as a street meme. Bottles of Pimms are out , Summer VIIIs down at the river, wafts of cheers coming from the Exam Schools as finalists finish.

I took a midnight walk to the meadow two nights ago and saw the rapeseed glowing in the dark, the canal boats dozing and the ducks hidden in their nests. None but the mosquitoes were out.

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