Finally we have a dull, grey day, but it is still warm enough to wander around without a coat. I used to think May was a good month to visit Britain, but anyone holidaying here this summer has been lucky beyond words.
Some days we've stayed indoors until the evening when things cooled down. The back of our house - and the garden - face south, and so we get the sun all day long. That's great in the winter, when it helps warm the house, but this summer I've been following the French habit of closing the curtains and keeping the sun out on that side of the house. There's little air-cooling equipment around because we usually don't need it. John Lewis is always a nice department store to step into whatever the time of year, as they keep the air cool and fresh, but some of the older buildings can be unpleasant.
In May everything is new green and growing like mad and the weather is often sunny and gentle - or perhaps it just seems that way after the horrors of winter. Here in late August the cornfields are ready, some have already been cut, and the hedgerows are full of berries. It looks spectacular.
There is nothing quite so dispiriting as the sight of a cornfield laid flat by wind and rain, but this year the farmers must be laughing as every singe stalk stands tall and proud. In Somerset, government marksmen on behalf of farmers, are busy culling badgers because they claim they transmit TB to cattle. Given that other creatures - rabbits, deer, foxes, rats, mice and the like - all share the fields with cows, I don't know how they can be so sure badgers are the villains. Farmers in this locality shoot crows, which is sad because they're intelligent birds. We have a family of four who visit our garden, and we've watched the parents raise their brood each year. They're always together, the four of them, once the infants can fly. They seem such a happy group, much more so than the blackbirds, where the chicks harass the parents endlessly. The parent birds look quite hen-pecked by the time the fledglings can fend for themselves.