Mr S. writes from Ashford to ask if Brown had trouble with flies.

One coffee no flies

One coffee no flies

It’s not a good question, but Mr S. is to be congratulated on living in Kent, which is a very fine county, notwithstanding there is scarcely a yard of Capability Brown landscape within it. Indeed once outside the London boroughs, we are reduced to Chilham Castle and the evocative fragments that are Valence and Leeds Abbey – exceptional though these are – but the point, to which Mr S.’s note draws our attention, is that Brown’s landscapes are not evenly spread across the kingdom of England and Wales. They congregate in areas of greater wealth (London) and industry (Staffordshire), they like places of popular resort (Southampton) and, of course, they love Slough. Indeed Slough is to the Browns of the south-east what Cannock is to the West Midlands, an epicentre of great landscapes, a Balaam’s ass at rest, undecided between the twin courts of London and Windsor.

We need to beware of generalising from one part of the country to another. So ask yourself, Mr S., if your fly trouble is limited to Kent. Try Thurrock, and see whether you observe the same difficulties there, and then catch the overland to Slough. There is so much more to enjoy in Slough.