Before supper this evening DH and I were sitting at our somewhat shabby garden table on the grass in front of the house, enjoying a drink and the slightly hazy sunshine. The grass (or rather the mixture of grass, clover and plantain, which normally passes for a lawn in our part of
) was newly-mown after my exertions earlier in the afternoon, and we were enjoying its scent and the sound of the birds. A lovely summer’s evening after the damp and even thundery evenings we have had recently and one of the last we have to enjoy before our return to the Normandy next week. UK
Yet it doesn’t really seem like summer any more. I know it’s still August, but somehow it feels as though autumn has come early this year, just as spring did. The grass around the cherry trees is already patterned with early-fallen leaves and the espaliered pear tree on the front wall of the house is laden with more and bigger pears than we have ever seen on it. Granted they are rock-hard and only edible after long simmering, but they are so large that they are starting to fall already, as are the apples, both eating and cider. Just like the grape harvest further south, the apple harvest is early this year and it is a bumper one. Suddenly autumn tasks are invading the last days of summer.
As I was making the soup for supper, I looked out of our north-west-facing kitchen window and realised that the sun was setting behind the apple tree to the left, rather than over the field ahead, a sure sign of the days drawing in. So summer is ending and what a varied summer it has been.
A summer of a lot more rain and a lot less sun than we would have wished, yet the result is a bigger crop of fruit than I can ever remember seeing. A summer of visitors, whose visits, luckily for them, coincided with the best of our weather. A summer of quiet, rainy days at home with just the two of us, interspersed with strenuous bursts of activity in the garden when the weather allowed.
A summer of catching up with friends whom we only see here, of weekly meetings of the local craft group, where I’ve done a lot of chatting and even a fair amount of knitting. A summer of watching our litter of feral kittens grow and become more adventurous and self-reliant and gradually a little less wary of us. A summer in
, like and yet unlike the ones which have preceded it. Normandy
And now, like the swallows, we are preparing to depart, though in our case we’ll be heading north, not south. Tomorrow, before the rain returns later in the week, we’ll be picking apples to take home with us, apples which will see us through the winter. Then will come the packing and the goodbyes and the tugging up of the little roots which we always manage to put down during each of our summers here. This time next week we will be back in Wales, sorry to leave
, yet glad to be home again for a while, before setting off on the next episode in our peripatetic retirement. Normandy