"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun..." Keats knew what to say, and although we're not supposed to even think that autumn is approaching, the tell-tale signs are there and I for one welcome them. "Oh don't say that" people say "We haven't even had a summer yet". Well I have, and not being one to lie about on a beach with seven million others I can't wait now to get the stove going with my new coffee maker perched on it, and the button sewn on to my blue serge pea jacket. It's not that I haven't enjoyed myself these last few weeks- the same rain that has thwarted my farming friends from safely gathering everything in has also meant that the countryside has kept greener and fresher than usual. And there have been some spectacularly cloudy skies, very good for photographs. So the farmers could all be grateful for that. I look out over my neighbours' manicured park (they're out there now under one of those big green umbrellas drinking Pimms) and up across the rougher pastures to the ironstone manor half-hidden in trees and shadowed by the gradually lowering sunlight. But the best thing, apart from the boys fishing snails out from under the shed in order to enlist them as Lego spaceship captains, are the restless swallows lining-up like music notes down the telephone wires. A tuneful ode to a coming autumn. Oh, and thankyou to Tess of the d'Urbervilles for letting me get near her tempting apple.
Long Melford, Suffolk
8 hours ago