I wake here at the morning chorus, starting at 4am, then I'm so wide awake that I simply have to get out of bed and slip out the door. By 5 o'clock I'm wandering the lanes and fields of the countryside. The land is crisscrossed with public footpaths, walkways open to everyone. These paths were established hundreds of years ago and there are teams of people who walk them twice a year to make sure they remain accessible.
This morning a cuckoo bird sang and I could hear the shotguns of the pheasant hunters in the distance. As the sun began to smile, I caught glimpses of light on the roadside brambles and grasses. One of these plants you need to be especially careful of is nettle, a stinging plant that will get you, like a jellyfish. If you happen to get stung, my mother says, wrap the wound in another plant, called dock, to remove the pain.
I am looking forward to many more walks in Wales, but here the Midlands, the quintessential English countryside, has filled my heart with joy.