The drive to work normally took Derek 30 minutes, 25 minutes on a good day. Sometimes snow blocked the lanes and he couldn’t leave the cottage for days, so he worked at home. He liked quoting for insurance cover whilst wearing pyjamas on those days. He kept promising himself a quilted purple smoking jacket to complete the look, but never found quite what he had in mind.
His journey to Derby city took him past miles of waterways whose levels rose and fell during the seasons, but that seemed a little lower overall each year. Over stony bridges that relied on a give-and-take system, increasingly fragile as younger commuters, less willing to give way, became more a feature in village life.
Derek dreaded cow season. In the winter, cows were kept close to the barns and short daylight hours meant fewer moves were possible. Farmers were well known for moving their stock from field to field, and over time a gentle truce had been achieved. Farmers waited until after morning commute to move the beasts and local drivers waited patiently for a herd at other times in return.
The Audi A3 and BMW X5 drivers didn’t want to wait patiently for a herd of cows. They didn’t want a hold up at all on their way to the office and the Rotary Club lunch and the golf course. So they sat and honked and beeped horns and scared the cows. And the farmers got angry.
So now there was a warlike situation in the back lanes of Derby. Farmers took their cows to fields across the lanes whenever they felt like and they usually felt like it about 8am. Derek mostly took over an hour to get to work, leaving early every day to try and avoid the cows. Locals still waited with relative good grace and some thought the farmers moved cows a little quicker if there wasn’t any beeping and honking to be heard.
Derek spent his lunchtimes Googling quilted smoking jackets and wondered if maybe green would do instead.