198. Summer catches its breath

The combine harvesters were out last night, beams illuminating the fields. With July’s heat blast behind, it is the happiest thing to sit outside. In the comfortable warmth and shallow breeze, I have been reading ‘In the Company of Angels’, by Thomas E Kennedy. Poignant, beautiful writing about the nature of ageing, death, sex, survival, compassion and love as summer peaks in Copenhagen.

One of my most glaring omissions, until around seven years ago, has been an insufficient attention to the seasons. Living in suburban streets can do that. Now I am transfixed by the shape and fruit of our courgette, dexterously positioned near the patio to elude the slugs and snails.


There is a ripening in the air. Handfuls of accessible blackberries, tomatoes showing red, and cucumbers to come.

first tomatoes

Squashes completing their fattening.


But runner bean flowers almost depleted.

Last bean flowers

The moths are so at home that they land on me. The pigeons have never come so close to the house, wings beating musically on their rounds. Wasps stagger drunkenly around the ripest fruits.

Our more recent holiday history is such that thoughts of the Peak District are never far away. The riverside in Bakewell, the joy of climbing Win Hill, the circularity of The Manifold walk, and the views across Cressbrook Dale, after coaxing reluctant family members to the adjacent heights.

cressbrook dale

Joy-filled memories of visits to Hathersage, Chatsworth, Holmfirth, Chesterfield, Ashbourne and Buxton. Recollections of the Peak in August make me sing inside. We undertook three testing walks on our first visit in 2002. I was almost out of my body in sheer delight.

No holiday this year, but two and a half weeks of no work whatsoever looming ahead, as summer’s second half peacefully unwinds. An acceleration of the search for work, and some rewriting, to slot alongside the dedication to quiet contemplation. And a dive into transcendental meditation, just begun.



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