Country diary: the sharp side of inflammatory season

Easton on the Hill, Northamptonshire: On a family walk, I learn at first hand the the nasty and fiercely efficient work of the female horsefly

Something clamps the skin on my right arm and I look to see: a flattened arrow, ashy coloured and the size of a fingernail, is on my forearm. Reflexively I shove it off. It leaves a swelling globe of blood behind, and I peer at it. “Horsefly,” my wife says.

It’s a hot day. A walk outside the bewitching village of Easton on the Hill on a route we haven’t taken before has taken us along rights of way, into farmland. Within sight of the steeples of the town we live in, the packing of a map for such novel walks is now a regular occurrence: the exploring of ways near home one of the few welcome discoveries of so much time spent closer to it.

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