In the summertime…

… when the living is not exactly easy for all sorts of reasons, but is certainly simpler – and sometimes, quite wonderful.

Unable to sleep, I got up just after sunrise and found lots to enchant me just a few minutes’ walk from home. Despite the hour, it was already warm, and the rising sun’s heat drew mist from the valleys.

What these photos don’t convey is the swoony scent of the honeysuckle in the hedges, still trying to tempt the last few moths to an encounter, or the birdsong – lazy cooing woodpigeons, irritated squawks of corvids, the exultant trilling of a lark, and the woodland orchestra of blackbird, thrush and lots of others. Although the traffic noise is building up slowly, it’s still quiet enough at this time in the morning to hear the birds and distant lowing of the cattle between the occasional rumble or wail of a passing engine.

An extra delight was finding that Nature has done her own Piet Oudolf in an uncultivated corner of the arable field next door. Although on a smaller and quieter scale than a proper prairie garden, a couple of years fallow has resulted in a surprising range of weeds and wildflowers. Drifts of lush white clover, glaucous with dew; marsh, creeping and spear thistles; bird’s-foot trefoil, creeping buttercup; black medick; willowherb; cranesbill; hawkbit, hawks-beard, sow thistle, ox-tongue and all their unnamed yellow relatives; russet spires of narrow-leaved dock; forget-me-not; ox-eye daisy – all set in drifts of pink, green and golden grasses.

And to top it off, a joyous welcome from the cat, purring and rubbing round my legs in anticipation of breakfast. Perfect.