On the Sunny Side

October 1, 2015

Well, summer left it late, but it finally made it up here – yesterday was the first day I have been Too Hot since the beginning of July. Of course, it has coincided with work deadlines and a bunch of self-inflicted stress, but I still had to cycle into Bigtown today to pick up the paper and my Ivor Cutler t-shirt (long story) and I wasn’t the only one out on the bike either – at one point there must have been four of us all riding along the same road,* which I can assure is not Normal for Bigtown. Every single one of us, as we encountered each other, exchanged the look which goes ‘whatever else may be going on in our lives, you and I, at least we have managed to arrange things so that today, of all days, we are out in this weather on our bikes. We therefore win.’ I think you know the one I mean.

Now all I have to do is hold that thought for when October arrives properly and I am plodding into a blustery headwind, with my feet sloshing around in my shoes.

*The one where the cycle path – a shared use pavement – decides to switch from one side of the road to the other half way along, before disappearing altogether; unsurprisingly none of us were using it. I like my off-road cycling infrastructure as much as the next Cycling Embassy member, but I’d prefer it not to be completely bonkers.


Indian Summer (hurry while stocks last…)

September 15, 2011

All summer long – as soon as it became clear that it wasn’t going to be a sunny one – we’ve been pinning our hopes on September. Sure June / July / August was a bit of a washout but the weather usually picks up in September, we told ourselves. We’ll make up for it then, with golden afternoons and slanting evening light and the leaves not yet falling from the trees. And then September arrived with half a hurricane and no let up in the rain and cold and there wasn’t even that lovely moment of lighting the first fire because we’ve had the stove lit on and off since half way through August.

Still, we had today. Today was glorious: sunny and still and almost warm after a cold night. And, after about three solid weeks of gallivanting about and working, I had the day to myself. It wasn’t forecast to last so it was time to attempt to cram a month’s gardening into a single day…

I didn’t quite make it, of course. I have managed to harvest another lot of potatoes (Edgecote Purple) and the red onions (awaiting the Rayburn’s return so I can make red onion marmalade). I’ve finally transplanted the last of my leeks and harvested the last of the purple sprouting broccoli that put in a surprise summer appearance. We’ve almost got some French beans coming through, just in time to be struck down by the first frosts, I imagine. I’ve pulled up several basket loads of weeds and even managed to move some perennial flowering plants as well. I have been nettled and scratched and stung, and the garden still looks like the plot that gets pursed lips and shaken heads down at the local allotment, but at least I have the feeling that I am more or less on track again…

I’m not the only one doing some harvesting for the winter:

Some mouse appears to have developed a taste for beetroot. Which a few weeks ago I might have counted as a relief, but I was just beginning to develop a taste for it myself…

Playing Hooky

September 17, 2009


I’ve actually been working for my living these last few days, and it’s been something of a shock to the system – not least because it’s coincided almost exactly with the late arrival of the summer. I just know that the minute it’s over, the clouds will roll in and the rain will start making up for lost time.

So, this lunchtime, with the blue sky taunting me, I decided to abandon my laptop for an hour or so for a little pootle around the lanes on my bike, because I could. Sometimes, you’ve got to take advantage of these moments while you can.

As I rode out I stopped for a while to watch the progress of sheepdog school, and then I wandered on, down the road and over the river, noticing at all the melancholy signs that autumn is just around the corner. The roads were empty, except for a lone fisherman trudging back to his car, and the weather was just about perfect for a gentle cycle ride to work up an appetite for lunch.

A few miles later, refreshed, I turned and headed home. As I approached the field where the sheepdogs were, I heard a few distant whistles and shouts but saw neither man, nor dog, nor sheep. And then I heard a discreet cough and the sound of chewing. Looking over the wall, I saw the sheep, huddled quietly between the trees and the wall. The boss one gave me a look that clearly said, ‘shhh! Nobody knows we’re here.’


Looks like I wasn’t the only one who was sneaking off for a little P&Q today …

There was a Moment…

September 13, 2009

…this weekend when I sat in the sun with my coffee and a bit of the paper and I was TOO HOT

It was wonderful.

Swallowed Up

September 26, 2008

Another reason for getting out on the bike these days – as if fetching the paper weren’t enough – to get warm. We’re having, at long last, something of an indian summer here but that means clear cold nights as well as lovely still calm days (‘sunny’ would be going a little far). The net result is that it’s now warmer outdoors than in, and as my day now consists of staring at the laptop with my feet on the power transformer to keep warm, occasionally I have to get out and go for a quick ride (well, quickish – let’s not go mad here) to defrost.

And there’s another sign that, fine weather or no, the summer has gone: the swallows. It’s hard to notice an absence, but they have not been around here for a couple of days. The other half has seen them elsewhere, but there are fewer, much fewer, and the sky seems so quiet without them. If it takes more than one swallow to make a summer, how many non-swallows does it take to make it end?


And we’ll be getting fewer evenings like these, too, soon. Must remember to enjoy them while they last.