Rural change and agriculture
It is the vast expanse of sky that ﬁrst strikes you when you walk across the North European Plain. Huge, boundary-less ﬁelds stretch away to the horizon. Dusty and brown in the summer; damp, muddy and cold in winter. In the far distance they merge with the ever changing halfhemisphere of the sky: bright blue in summer, speckled with haphazard clouds; cold and grey in winter, ever ready to succumb to ﬁrework displays of sheet lightening and violent storms. And it is the same for kilometre upon kilometre. Occasional swathes of forest break up the vista, but they too are dwarfed by the vastness of the sky. It dominates everything. It is there above the middle-aged man, holding his stale bottle of vodka, as he lies slumped against the empty, rusting cattle shed. It is there above the abandoned ﬁeld, once full of ripening ears of rye, and now host to wild grasses and vivid displays of late spring ﬂowers. It is there too over the heads of the rich young couple, proud of their newly ﬁnished cottage, surrounded by neat ﬂowerbeds, overlooking their own little ﬁshpond.