Pleasures Of July

Flautists, eighties wine bar music, and iced tea drunk by the bins: Ben Myers shares his favourite bits of July.

High summer.

My neighbour over the road has a new cockerel. My neighbour over the road has two new cockerels. They begin their conversation as the sun first peeks over the top of Scout Rock, usually around 4am and continue that way, on and off, all day. Do they not sleep? Do they not get hoarse?

The church bells chime the time every hour, on the hour. I don’t have a clock by my bed so use them to decide whether I have to get up, though more often than not the first one or two are lost in sleep, so I’m frequently an hour or two out.

Cockerels and church chimes are either endlessly comforting or auditory triggers towards madness, depending upon the state of mind.

The countryside is noisy. When I moved here ten years ago I thought we had relocated somewhere remote and utterly rural. It certainly felt like that after years of small rooms on busy streets in South London, though I’ve long since realised that this is far from the reality. This is a valley busy with a traffic jam due to on-going restorations following the Great Floods Of Boxing Day 2015. There are cranes and diggers and car-horns. A train line runs close by too, and a canal, and a shallow river rich with litter. The screams of children at play echo across the valley and my next door neighbour only listens to Lemmy-related live albums: Motörhead, or “the mighty ‘Wind, my son.” And because we are at the edge of the village, our street riding up into the trees, young boyracers tend to floor it up the road at night, the sub bass-boom sending birds up into flight. Discarded McDonalds milkshake cups tossed from passing windows mark their territory.

Read on here…



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