When you start to see this, you know that summer is almost over. The crocosmia – which comes back no matter how hard you try to thin it out – justifies its presence in the garden when the garden takes a deep breath after the summer pause, and begins to think about autumn. The weather has changed too – less hot, less showery, but most important of all, there is wind. So often the first half of August is marked with heavy humid stillness, and then, towards the end of the second week – you can almost set the calendar by it, the a wind blows up, and the air is fresher, and I begin to breathe easier again, and to want to be in the garden.
The garden is very quiet now, because the sparrows ands starlings have gone to investigate the stubble in the barley after harvest, and the blue tits and great tits are quieter, almost hidden in the leaves of the rowan tree. The rowan is heavy with berries this year,
but so far we have not had many takers. With luck they will hang on until the fieldfares and redwings come. The winter migration has already started. The first geese – not northern migrants, but resident flocks looking out for the best winter homes – have appeared, and the swifts have gone. The very last, a straggler heading south by himself, crossed the river last Sunday, and although the house martins are still here, and it looks as if there is a second brood in the nests, I haven’t seen any swallows lately. The black-headed gulls have their winter heads on, and the big black-backed gulls, which spent the last fortnight screaming from the chimney-tops, have gathered their forces and gone back to the coast.
Poetry is starting up now, as the schools go back. I will have news of a reading, a fundraiser, hosted by Red Squirrel Press for restoration work on Hugh MacDiarmid’s home, Brownsbank, and a workshop as part of The Write Angle‘s One Weekend in Stirling event on my events page. I hope to see a lot of friends there!