“I’d catered for what Maslow would have considered the first level of the pyramid, shelter. In the increasing breeze I pitched the Khyam & in the lee of a hedge with the Truck across the entrance.

The downside was that the farm had lots of birds: peackocks & peahens, chickens, ducks, geese & all sorts of big waddly birds, many in the habit of squawking raucously at every opportunity. Of course an opportunity was often the previous squawk of another waddly bird which then gave the next opportunity for another waddly bird & so on until they all got bored of squawking, which they never seemed to do.

During the evening, amid the wine, the larking about on the net, plus the endless loud squawks, a vehicle pulled up just outside. The engine switched off to the sound of dogs barking, five or six thousand of them it seemed. From then on the barking continued for the rest of the evening. (The inside of a tent is a surreal place, cut off from the sight of the outside world but utterly exposed to the sounds which can lead to a sense of vulnerability.) The dogs seemed to be barking at each other & amongst the barking there was a low growling, not very loud but menacing all the same.

Laying in my tent, unable to see what was going on outside, the wind picked up, with the occasional sound of something just beyond the flimsy wall of fabric, the barking and growling continued into the night. I didn’t sleep until the early hours. It was more disturbing than serious (Maslow describes the second level as safety and although it was irrational I didn’t feel safe), the sound of the Beast of Rutland was with me for some time.”

Abridged extract from In SatNav We Trust – A search for meaning through the historic counties of England, a philosophical travelogue through the historic counties of England exploring belief, rationalism, science and religion. A personal journey, autobiographical account, philosophical musings & characters along the way – a unique interpretation of life’s big questions using historic architecture, humour, heritage, history & engineering, to explore & reflect on concepts of science & belief.

Pre-order the book here: https://unbound.com/books/in-satnav-we-trust/