The clocks may have changed, but my body clock takes some time to catch up. For a few lovely days, there’s a drowsy bonus hour before the alarm goes off, perfect for contemplating the arable season just gone.

For us, of course, it has been an extraordinary summer.

No harvest of our own, our last graduation trip, and lots of grim autumn weather forecasts that left me (I’m ashamed to say) slightly smug about our change in circumstance.

See also: Opinion – Minister almost gets lesson from old-school farmer

About the author

Charlie Flindt
Charlie Flindt is a National Trust tenant in Hampshire, now farming 40ha of recently “de-arabled” land with his wife Hazel – who still runs a livestock enterprise. He also writes books and plays in a local band.

There was something else different about this summer.

The early mornings were quiet – and not just because my hearing is rapidly deteriorating or because the flatcoats no longer feel the need to greet every dawn with noisy wonderment.

Someone, somewhere, has finally done something about the bikes.

We’ve been asking for action for years, and I made it my job at meetings with the local police – some of them very senior – to put a stop to silencer-free motorbikes using the A272 and the A32 as early morning racetracks.

I even came up with a brilliant idea, based on a trip a lifetime ago to Winchester cattle market with Dad. At one stage there was a murmuring and shuffling in the crowd. Dad smiled. “Customs are in – dipping for red.”

Not a problem for us, of course, and the sleek Rover P5B Coupe throbbed its way past the heavy Excise men guarding the exit –  on V8 petrol.

“Take a leaf out of HMRC’s book,” I’ve suggested to several groups of police. “Find where the bikers gather, shut the gate, stroll up the lines of shiny machines with a sound meter, and impound the ones that are too loud.

“The exhausts marked ‘not for road use’ won’t even need to be tested.”

Cheap, easy policing, and hugely popular with those who live within 10 miles of a winding A-road.

My cunning plan has been met with looks of terror by senior constabulary, and mumbles about infringing rights and insufficient evidence.

“It seemed to me that they have been swayed by the bikers’ claims that “loud is safe”, and “a Harley’s V-twin din is a cultural thing”.  

But something has happened. The summer dawns have been peaceful. I checked with a friend who lives a Claas-unloading-arm away from the A272, and he said that, yes, the racers have got quieter – and slower. 

The answer is a series of hideous yellow poles that have sprung up along the most popular roads. They’re tall and they have “average speed” cameras on the top.

It is rumoured they have sound detectors, too – and who are we to dismiss that rumour?

Our Police and Crime Commissioner raided the “Safety Road Reserves” (aka all those speeding fines) for £677,000 to get them installed – and well done her, although I know some responsible car-bound locals who have found themselves contributing to the “Safety Road Reserves” recently. 

I worry that the South Downs National Park will notice these poles one day, and they’ll have to come down, or the eventual drop in fines will mean they can’t be maintained, and we’ll be back to square one.

I suspect by then, my hearing will be so bad that I’ll be snoozing my way through my summer dawns in blissful silence.