I've never really appreciated just how green England is. Perhaps because the other places I've lived in or visited have been pretty green themselves. The one previous time I went anywhere very un-green (Arizona, USA) it was winter. I returned to crisp snow and clear blue skies, and apart from the temperature it didn't seem so different.

But then you spend some time in California, USA during summer, and all of a sudden it's a real shock to come back to what you've known all your life.

You walk around like you've survived some great natural disaster. You're delighted by the unruly greenness. No careful little strips of a springy variety of grass you've never seen before, fed by "reclaimed water — do not drink". Oh no. Here there are wild uneven expanses of grass. There are undergrowth areas made up of any number of different grasses, ferns, and mosses. There are wild flowers. There are thorn bushes and trees striving to take over and envelop whatever man-made junk has been planted amongst them. Paths you can't easily walk down because the trees, bushes, ferns and brambles want to close the path for ever.

And you're amazed that no-one seems to be paying any attention to any of this.

(I saw a sign in San Francisco, CA, USA. It said something like "it's a good job we arrived on the east coast; if we'd arrived on the west we'd never have gone further than San Francisco". I liked that. Delightfully ambiguous, like all the best aphorisms.)