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I hate sunlight. My pale, white skin has no resistance, blistering and bubbling at its slightest touch. That's why I always sit in the shade. But there's shade and there's shade.

On a wooded hill, far from roads and cars, noise and fumes, sitting behind a beer. There are few greater pleasures. The canopy sucking the heat from the sun's rays, long before they fall to ground. Just a few spots of of ochre paint splashing the ground. A wall of trees, chatteringly full of birds soothes the eye with its woven web of greens, shifting in every breath of breeze.

Yes, a forest is much better cover than some poxy umbrella. It's not just cooler. It's cooler in the other sense, too. So much more right. More natural. More human.

I've lived in cities since I was 18. I enjoy the shops and trams and pubs and buses, the to and fro and hub and bub. I rarely trouble the countryside. Which makes its effect all the greater, the odd occasion I do crawl back into its tender, comforting womb.

There's nothing like a real Franconian Bierkeller. Spread under spreading trees, tables reaching like fingers, tenderly touching the trunks. Rough tables and benches, still half forest themselves, beckoning in drinkers: "Come and sit with me a while."

Of course, there's beer. Long, cool draughts, clad in grey clay pots. Upright, honest country beer. Beer that looks you in the eye and doesn't flinch, your faithful friend for life.

I love the city. But my most memorable moments were amongst trees.