The sunlight of recent weeks has been a boon, but these darker days are more in tune with the current mood. Are they reflective of it, or the cause of the recent shift in humour?
I realise that the lowering clouds, the loss of the greater space beyond, is matched by the thickening of leaves on the trees. Beautifully green and full as they are, for example, the hawthorn bowed with May blossom, the filling out of trees also narrows any available perspective.
When the rain comes, it comes hard and heavy. It is sharp on the window, almost a clattering, almost icy. In the lane loose stones, previously strung out in long trails by the occasional passing vehicle, are swept up and driven downhill. The dust coagulates into mud, collects at the bottom of the fast-formed puddles, is left in sticky heaps when the rainwater has drained.
A female blackbird, (a lively brown creature) lowers itself into the centre of a puddle and uses its wings to splash water droplets on its back, ducks forward and scoops up water onto the back of its head. When the burst of rain has passed the songs of blackbirds are the first heard. The rain is welcome.
April has passed in a blur of statistics and official announcements that announce no material change from the previous official announcements. The government graph does not describe some Swiss mountain to tunnel through to sunny uplands, as the Blonde Buffoon blusters, but represents a wave of accumulating lost lives. Each passing life sends out ripples that will eventually touch us all.
Today is overcast and hence a little warmer. The benefit of cloud cover is tempered by rain in the air, but when the rain becomes noticeable it is a pleasure to feel it on the face. This is April, there should be showers!
Here in the east, close to a north-facing coast, there is no rain shadow to help the farmers. Temperatures are generally lower, the air drier. Drought is a concern, so any rainfall is welcome. Today’s is not enough to do any more than damp dust down. I pass a field where hundreds of crows are profitably flocking behind the track of a tractor pulling a huge roller. The roller is being used to break up the heavy clay clumps in the top soil. This work will help young crops break through to air and light, allow rain, (or piped water), permeate below young roots.
A little further inland, the leaf canopy is far from complete and the woodland floor has plenty of light. With the warmer air and the brighter light, blue-bells are ready to spill out in swathes, but not yet.
The villages and local market town are quiet. A cricket square has been optimistically striped with a motor mower. More surprisingly, a budget home hardware shop is open for trade with buckets, brushes and brooms, step ladders and all sorts of shiny, useful items smartly displayed in the window and on the pavement. The proprietress stands outside the open door smoking a cigarette. Has she been following the news at all? There is no one else in sight.
When I get back to the house our conversation continues by telephone, naturally. Define friendship? It does not demand constant physical presence. You are not beside me, but always with me.
Besides a red top without which they’d never be caught
It’s de rigueur for them to wear shorts
n.b. It’s part of the way the posties on the South Coast seem to dress for work.
Postal delivery staff are a group of public service workers that have really been put through the mill by the demands of privatisation. They deserve our respect and thanks for their part in the fabric of our society.
They visit every front door in the country. They know stuff.