So overall it feels as if plant and animal life has been responding to some decidedly unpredictable conditions: have a look at these roses:
And this year it has been noticeable that soft fruit has done well, but has produced early - so, laden plum and damson trees and hedgerow blackberries in late July and early August. The Autumn and Winter berries are making a show and, unlike last year, it looks like there will be holly bushes covered with berries.
August, normally lacking in colour in the garden compared to the Spring and early Summer, has been quite vibrant - helped perhaps by our being able to do some consistent watering, thanks to the well with its new pump being so productive and reliable:
And what of the birds and animals this Summer? Well, first of all we must report on the kestrels (tempting to say "our kestrels", but we know better than that!). We're very pleased to report that all three kestrels fledged safely and we saw the family of five up in that big bare-branched tree over beyond the west side of the garden. For a number of weeks it was very clear that the three young kestrels were having flying lessons from mum and dad, going further and further from their 'base tree' and sometimes ending up on a similar tree, right over on the north side of the garden. The adult kestrels continued to be very defensive of their brood, harassing any buzzards or kites who appeared (usually when combine harvesters were clearing the fields). Gradually we had less sightings, but over September we've been seeing one, two or even three at a time, flying around, within a kilometer of the house. Of course, when we see one we cannot really know that it is one of 'the family' .... but we're sure it is! What we don't know now is whether they will migrate, or stay put here, given the warmer weather - we sort of hope that they will stay.
Sometimes our small existence here seems far away from the events of the wider world. From the perspective that this offers, it is difficult to feel optimistic about the resilience that people require in order to deal with the increasingly relentless, 'always-on' news, information and rants that we and our technologies have unlocked.
It would have seemed unlikely that the felling of a tree in England would draw the attention of the media in France - nevertheless it has, partly perhaps because the film in which it featured was very popular here. But, well beyond this, the action of felling the tree has drawn attention world-wide. For so many people it has triggered a pervasive sadness, not so much because of the senseless vandalism but because the act demonstrates how very far away humanity has moved away from that natural world. We retain a longing to be part of that natural world once again and in our hearts we know that that a tree is so much more than it seems.