Deep into seasons of mellow fruitfulness now (and wind and rain!), our summer holiday seems like ancient history , but for sake of keeping a complete record on my blog, here’s my column for the September edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News, which I sent in from the Scottish Highlands on my summer holiday to meet its mid-August deadline.
Taking our summer break during the school holidays, we are used to leaving home when the Cotswold countryside is green and tidy and returning to find it golden brown and unkempt. It’s as predictable a transformation as from pre-holiday hairdo to post-holiday hair; only the colours are different.
But this year we were wrong-footed by the early burnishing of the fields. Thanks to the July heatwave, the local landscape was baked brown before we left. Even that hardy perennial, grass, instead of springing back beneath our bare feet, crunched underfoot like broken biscuits.
The further north we drove, the greener the landscape. Not least because there was rain. Lots of rain. The fields beyond Gretna were as bright and fresh as any you might find in the Emerald Isle.
And the days lengthened. At the time of writing this column, ensconced in Glencoe, we are far enough north for dusk to fall a full forty minutes later than in Hawkesbury. August in the Highlands feels like Hawkesbury’s July.
So when we get home, as we always do, in time for the Hawkesbury Horticultural Show, we’re going to be completely confused. We all know that the Village Show marks the last day of a Hawkesbury summer. But my body clock will still be waiting for August to begin.