We dodge the sun-baked horse shit in the middle of the road. The dog stopping to pee every few yards. Frequent yellow trickles marking nettle leaves as a warning, or a calling card for errant labradors and the occasional spaniel. We are flanked by grass and horses. all of the fields round here are used to grow horses, not food. Acres of ownership of the ground we stand on. The hedgerows, iconic, mark the boundaries. The last harbours of diversity, they are ancient markers of history and terrain and the privilege of using land only to keep animals as playthings.
A morning walk holds all of this for me. It is supposed to be relaxing, healing, good for me. And it is beautiful, this archetypal English country scene. There are moments when a gap in the hedgerow lets the early morning sunlight through in such a way as to catch my breath. But this morning, for some reason, the boundaries are the thing I notice. A rabbit slips through a hole in the hedge, across the road, and through another hole on the other side. The dog barely notices, his nose has more important business. He and the rabbit have different territories to our fields and hedges and roads. The edges of their terrain, nebulous to us, are marked out fluently, as molecules in piss and shit.
I am not locked out of the fields. I can, if I choose, climb a stile and follow a way-marked path. The dog wants to - he is following a well-worn route - and digs his heels in. I stand at the fence and gaze over the field with its line of oaks. The trees that once covered the land are now just beautiful punctuation.
But today, the boundaries feel too real, too there, too much like us and them. And I know today - fuelled no doubt by the news, and social media - that I am them.