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Country Mouse

Regulars | By Giles Wood | September Issue

I long for office dolly birds instead of cottage chaos 

My old chum Danny, a London art dealer, took a rare day off from his busy Mayfair gallery to visit me and my unruly garden. It was the heat that swung it. I’d explained why his own Balham back garden would offer little in the way of respite, since it would be suffering from the effect known as Urban Heat Island. This is when too many surfaces that absorb and emit heat – for example, cars, buildings, pavements and roads – are clustered together. There has always been an ongoing rivalry between us over which has the better lifestyle. On this occasion, he conceded defeat and headed for my garden. On his arrival, we installed ourselves in a pair of Tesco zero-gravity recliners, under the shade of an apple tree, but there the comparison with Isaac Newton ended. Danny was not searching for inspiration, but the opposite. He declared he...

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