Every real landscape has an imaginary equivalent that exists only in our minds, a perfect example that is seldom encountered outside of dreams. But every so often the material and the intangible meet up and sing together in unison. When an absent-minded cyclist wobbles unexpectedly into such a scene all he can do is dismount and lean his bike against a tree.
The place is Barrington, a village just a few miles from my home. The time is a fine, sunny Saturday afternoon at the end of May.
Many villages in this part of the world have "greens", as sung about by the Kinks, you know, "We are the Village Green Preservation Society". Historically they were places where the livestock could be kept safe overnight, later they became the venues for outdoor sports and dancing too. But nobody knows why the village of Barrington needed such a huge green; it's 1,100 yds (1 Km) long and nearly two hundred yards (or metres) across at its widest point. And, believe it or not, it used to be even bigger till some parts were built upon.
Around the perimeter of this large green space is a mixture of old houses and thatched cottages, many of which are picture-perfect - a vision of the idealised Olde England of fantasy.
Of course, you'll need a few pounds if you want to buy one of these properties. There's one on the market at the moment (not this one) that's open to offers over £675,000. It's rather more luxurious inside than the original inhabitants enjoyed, but you still have to walk through one bedroom to get to another.
During the summer months there's entertainment on the green in the form of cricket, yesterday it was the village's Second XI on show.
Cricket's a game that puts on display the character of the participants. Some players wield their bats like cavalier swordsmen with extrovert thrusts and flourishes. Others use theirs like a farmer holding a heavy board in front of a runaway pig to block its progress.
An elderly gentleman tells me that the cricketers are not as good as they were in his day. I don't disbelieve him; it's one of those games where indifferent players can continue gain reputations of greatness years after they finish playing! A woman remarks that the sudden summer weather has taken us all by surprise. An astute ten-year-old sees my camera and asks if I take photos that make things look cool. Well, yes, I suppose I try.
I'm making my way up to the northern end of the green where the church and the village primary school stand.
For absolute perfection there ought to be a wedding taking place, or at least bell-ringing practice, but the grand old building seems to be deserted on this fine Saturday.
Down at the other end of the green the Royal Oak pub is having more success attracting customers! Village pubs are not doing too badly as we come out of lockdown as they have plenty of space for outdoor seating, and now we are having suitable weather for sitting outside, pint in hand, and watching the world go by.