There has been so much sun this year, to dry the soil and the cut grass, methodically, to allow all work to be carried out in the calmest fashion. The barn is full. I heard there was a Summer like this in 1965, I remember 1976 and 1999—although this was before I had animals so my memory of the weather is most unreliable.
This July was again the time for getting the clothes out in the sun, inside-outed, shaken : the most reliable way to control moths as early this month is when—in this North-West—they clumsily fly into a dark fold to lay their eggs. This July was certainly the time to bleach clothes, sheets and tea towels and period material : after a few days on the line in the sun, wetted a few times when I remembered to, all stains and all dullness borne out of this local iron-rich water had been removed. A had told me that her grandmother used to have (in Germany) a “bleaching lawn” beside the house for laying the sheets in the sun.
I bartered bread for a lovely bicycle, at least sixty years old I was told, which had belonged to M’s mother. My own, very old bike is one big rusty construction after spending too long in the rain—I am guilty there. I bartered bread for meat. Seeds and plants have again been swapped this year and tomorrow it looks like we may harvest our first courgettes. This is a most forgiving year for not owning a tunnel, I even have a tomato plant, rescued as a seedling, planted in a barrel, that I will bring inside when the fruit need ripening. I barely remember how long these last Winters have been now that so many days have been spent barefoot, connecting back down to the mother-ship. A gift.