Contrary to the forecasts, today was sunny and sultry, easily the warmest day I remember in these parts. Even the rooms downstairs welcomed you in short sleeves, which, believe me, for a Bolivian in Northumberland is a novel experience. But not right now any longer, for as midnight approaches I have had to switch back to reality and the central heating.
One conspicuous absence today was the cuckoo, so audible on previous days with its unbelievably perfect-pitched ostinato. His performances had marked our summer evenings with the most poetic punctuality. I never caught sight of him, but he sounded as if he was always perched on the same tree by the river. But not today. Too hot for him, presumably?
The field, luxuriant with vegetation, has been pretty to look at, but impassable for all but the most committed, namely Fluffy and I. I had been wanting to cut a path around the field for months, but other priorities had always prevailed, until recently the grass became so long that no walking child could join me and The Fluff. The unwonted weather made me think I could venture out with the strimmer and the kids, so the older one could see me toiling to restore her transit for daily walks. Toil I certainly did, and was almost eaten alive by the flying hordes of whatever it is that eats humans this time of the year – it looked too large and it hurt too much to be midges. But I had underestimated the overgrowth; my efforts over several hours made little more than a dent, not even opening a path as far as the river. My older offspring will have to wait. It will take not hours, but days to make the field accessible again. And perhaps not my strimmer, but The Farmer’s tractor.