Despite the rain and a heavy sky the air crackles to the thrum of larks ascending and descending. All around me, song. From the reeds comes a flutey call, followed by a whirr of wings. It’s something marshy, with a long curved beak and a flash of white on its back – a curlew? A whimbrel? Is there even such a thing as a whimbrel?

I love this landscape, reminiscent of Dickens and Magwitch, or the wonderful atmospheric scene in Anna Karenina when Levin is out at dawn, hunting snipe and duck. It has an elemental quality, all this water and sky – it is a place for the birds, not people. But here I am, enjoying the feeling of the rain and cool air on my face, worries dissipating into the sky that soars above me and the low horizon. All this space puts things into perspective – I feel small here, and the daily troubles seem insignificant and irrelevant.

Refreshed and invigorated, I head back to the car and the long drive home.

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