Rain, and more rain. Perhaps sharpened by the contrast with a week in hot southern France last week, it seems horribly autumnal suddenly. Not in a good bright chill way, but in a wet way. We had an astonishingly heavy day of rain on Wednesday, so much so that when I cycled home after college I had to peddle for 200 yards in half-turns of the wheel to avoid immersing my feet in the flood water running out of the fields, cascading down the roads in a river. (*See picture )
The farmers in the village seem to have cut all of the hedges and so the crop of village blackberries, such as it was, is hugely diminished which is a pity, for both eh creatures that benefit and from the parents like myself who relish the seasonal markers and routines. The fruit were maturing later than usual and I was surprized to see that in France last week the hedgerow fruits were further advanced and the berries were already ripe. The lack of an autumn harvest is of course compounded by the strange spring weather we had earlier in the year with frost damaging the blossom and a lack of pollinating insects combining to reduce the crop as our pear tree doesn’t even have any fruit this year. We were discussing, inly this evening how the reduction in apples will probably affect the cost of next year’s cider, as we begin to plan next summer’s village beer festival. The butterflies were everywhere yesterday but whereas they would normally be feeding on fallen pears and apples, this year they are making do with the buddleia and are trying to make the most of the nectar in dopey gangs while the sunshine still has any warmth in it, although today everything was even further depressed by a continuous fog of drizzle.