I walk a square of Suffolk, staring at my boots.
I read somewhere – probably Pratchett – that a piece of flint with a natural hole through its heart is a lucky charm. So, head down, I kick flints from chalk and clay.
Anyway, looking up is unnerving. Suffolk sky is huge: Endless, mottled, flecked with birds, it grants nothing to the imagination.
These inland gulls sound like the absence of the sea. With no salt on the air, their cries are thin, plaintive. Island gulls screech like their great-grandmothers.
It’s getting cold. The wind whistles through my head and I whistle back, calling the dog from her solo adventure. She prefers the woodland, too, and we retreat together, turned from the unsettling sky.
A week later, I walk the same square with Angie. The weather is grimmer today and, somehow, it better suits the landscape. Or perhaps it’s that I’m in a better mood, and in good company.
Angie loves it here. She’s up from Sussex, where the view’s constituent parts block the whole – you can’t see fifty yards in front of you for the hills.
“The sky is huge,” she says, arms out wide to absorb it. I nod at my boots, treading carefully around the deep hoof-prints. (Who rode through this clay quagmire in November? The poor horse sank to its shins.)
The dogs stampede through the field stubble, kicking up clouds of indignant crows.
We squint at where the sun should be and decide to risk another ten minutes, remembering the sea to each other, raising our voices on the wind.