Somehow the idea that those of us who choose to live in the rural depths of the uk are somehow less cultured, less stylish, and less in touch with the doings of the outside world, continues amongst those who visit us from the city. Art is at the heart of life here in the country and with very good reason. What else are we going to do as darkness descends on the hills and the fields around us? Everywhere, people are working to create things whether together or individually. Within a mile or two of me, are a number of first rate musicians, painters, sculptors, published writers, film-makers, photographers, silver and gold workers, and more and more. But recently the same old misconception reared its head when I was talking to someone on holiday here who asked me what it was like living in a ‘cultural desert’ and who thought that all the lovely things she was enjoying whilst here were in fact put on merely for benefit of tourists like herself, and put away presumably when the season is over. Let me make it clear. The countryside is seething with new arts and new thinking, and wonderful talent. What we don’t find in quite the quantities it exists in the cities is the ambition and drive to make loads of dosh, perhaps because we do have the hills, the rivers, the sea and the beaches; the woodlands, the castles and the gorgeousness of the great outdoors on our doorstep. More on this again.