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Dorset on St George's Day

It's England's national day and the St George's Cross is flying high on the church flagpole.

Across the road, the brewery has just picked up a load of empty beer barrels from the pub and stocked up its cellar with full ones.

In the fields, there are cuckoo flowers. Great drifts of them.
The naked ash tree is silhouetted against a bright blue sky and the old shepherd and his dog on my late father's weather vane trudge ever onwards.
In the village hall where Mr Grigg and I had our wedding reception many moons ago, they're clearing up the remains of the cider festival. The golden nectar of my grandparents' days, when they made cider from their own orchards and no additives were involved, is now quite rightly enjoying a resurgence.

Thomas Hardy loved it, as you can gather in this extract from Great Things:

Sweet cyder is a great thing,      A great thing to me, Spinning down to Weymouth town      By Ridgway thirstily, And maid and mistress summoning      Who tend the hostelry…

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