From your roving correspondents

We are dashing out for walks between downpours at the moment. It is Crowded House weather (Four Seasons in One Day) so whatever I wear is wrong. I’m either soaked or steaming or both. The coo weather report (one sitting, two standing and one round the corner undecided) advises sun and showers for the rest of the day.

A Soggy Saturday in Selkirk last week saw Mum and I roving round the town and up the dam side peeping into some lovely gardens. George’s dahlias are an inspiration. Maybe by the time I’m 90 like George I’ll be able to compete. There was some bright yellow mimulus and clouds of mint growing in the mill lade. Mum and her sisters used to call mimulus dragon’s breath but we don’t know if that is a general common name or a “Craigism”. Anyone else call it that??. Sunday dawned even soggier and there was the most spectacular rainbow over Bannerfield. Sadly, cousin Gordon reports that the pot of gold was not at his end. Mum and I sloshed our way round the hill nonetheless, foraging blaeberries as we went. The swans at the Pot Loch have four cygnets and the ducks, coots and a heron were all out enjoying the rain.

Back at home “walks in wellies” have recommenced. Even if it isn’t actually raining, the knee high wet grass suffices to drench. Lyra is in seventh heaven. The verges are mounded with mown hay which is her all time favourite thing to roll in (next to fox poo – of which there is a fair bit too) and, after a strangely quiet patch, the baby bunnies and young hares are starting to reappear. As a result we walk in a strange form of morse code with intermittent (and unheralded) stops (to stick our head in grassy piles) followed by (also unheralded) dashes (once said bunnies and hares are spotted). My arm is still attached at the shoulder – just.

The oilseed rape is a whirling mass of biscuitty spikes and is being harvested whenever the weather permits. The wheat and barley won’t be long to follow. On the south facing slopes the grains have bleached to silver gilt and there’s a pleasing dry tinkle when you run your hand over the tops. The peas, which seemed to spring up into a foot high tangle overnight, will not be far behind. I munched a few from the sunny side on the way home today. When we were little a bag of peas in their pods was a top snack treat. I vividly remember coming home from Uncle Tam’s with my cousins, all sitting in the boot of the estate car (parents and aunts in the front and back) snarfing through a bag of peas and waving at the lorry drivers. Pea fields are really rather lovely, all swirly shades of blue green with dots of off white and specks of purple. Would make a lovely carpet design for those of us unenamoured of greige (hideous word and hideous colour concept) and if a pea field can hide copious rabbits it certainly wouldn’t show the dirt. What’s not to like? (Axminster are you listening??).

There’s still lots of bird action in the hedgerows and trees. Walking past the little wood by Trasnagh a few days ago I heard a strange bird cry, glanced in and stared right into the eyes of a young raptor of some sort. Possibly a young buzzard – I saw a very large one going in there early in the summer. Today, walking along the field line there was an insistent peep peeping from the long grass on the far side of the ditch accompanied by a lot of nervous cluck clucking. Some ground nester still has its babies at home. Flowerwise we are pretty much down to thistles and knapweed, but they suit the butterflies fine. Keith and I spent a good hour with Dr. G. Oogle trying to put a name to a little orange fella found along the back lane – turn’s out it’s a Wall (No I hadn’t heard of that either). Lots of signs of autumn are appearing now, brambles and haws in the hedgerows and today a neat row of puffballs along the verge.

Time to relight the Aga?

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