The purpose of my escape from the City was to spend more time with Su and finally feel like I'm living a life down south. Already, I'm starting to see the difference. I've lost - or at least am losing - the commuter bulge; I'm getting out and about on my trusty bike more; and Su and I are having much more fun than I can remember in a long time.
All in all, life is pretty good. The summer down here is significantly hotter than Scotland, so I'm even developing a curious brown - rather than red - complexion as we explore the outer echelons of England. Much of our recent adventures are stemming from a terrrific book called Room at the Inn, which pinpoints the best countryside inns and accompanying walks across England and Wales. So far it's been a revelation.
The English do pubs like no-one else. The local ales are generally exquisite and there's a refreshin, if unspoken, insistence that taverns must maintain an olde English elegance in both ambiance and decor. And when the sun's out, there's always - and I mean always - space in the vast beer gardens buried beyond each ale-house's lounge bar.
Last week, we visited Dedham in north-east Essex to take on a three-mile country trail that followed the River Stour. It was a breathtaking and sanguine couple of hours. The English countryside may lack trajectory, but its pancake flat walks are brushed with a rich, earthy palette of greens, yellows and browns that make for some luscious summer eye-candy.
Knackered from our two-hour walk through England's countryside, we ambled our way to the Sun Inn. Centered in the heart of the picturesque Dedham, this is an inn that packs traditional English pub sensabilities with an intriguing mediterranean menu. Veering between Su's mammoth vegetarian pasta dish and my meaty bread board, our flavoursome, well-presented dishes were washed down with a pair of jet-black organic ales (and equally dark and black Diet Pepsi on Su's side).
Feet-flexed and bellies-filled, we made our way back to Colchester with a rejuvenated sense of the countryside. Roll on our next England adventure.