Every time I go down to the field to feed the ponies, I enjoy the birdsong in the woods. This morning, a cock blackbird sang on a low branch rather than his usual treetop, and I listened entranced.

Further away in the woods, I could hear another bird singing in a distant duet. It occurred to me that everyone in mainland Britain listening to a blackbird was connected to me at that instant, by a chain of territorial birdsong. A lovely thought …  how much nicer than being connected by mobile phone cells or the internet.