I am sitting on the Zen patio trying to read a book, but I am finding myself easily distracted. It’s hot. Though probably nothing like the recent heatwave temperatures suffered throughout Europe and most of the UK. Here the temperature is probably no more than 20°C but for some reason it always feels hotter than that to me, perhaps the air is cleaner and purer by the coast. The sun definitely feels intense. I am in the shade of the two Goat Willow trees, which need pruning as they are shading most of the patio now. You see already I am thinking of jobs I could be doing.
My eyes wander over to the nearby pots where Cosmos and Violas need deadheading, but I feel too lazy to move. It is very quiet and still. Into this silence I become aware of the heavy thrum of a crow’s wingbeat overhead and the happy sound of chattering sociable sparrows as they land gently on the birdfeeder. A light breeze causes the alliums to sway and the penstemon bells to nod.
The flowers are attracting pollinators. Common green bottle flies, a Ringlet butterfly and several Large Whites flutter past, Bumblebees buzz contentedly as they move from flower to flower seeking forgotten pollen. One large red-tailed bumblebee disappears up a penstemon flower and I wait for her to reverse out, pretty red fuzzy bum first. A Red Admiral butterfly lands on my bare toe. I hardly dare to breathe. Its wings are tattered and torn and the usual bright red colour faded to an orange-brown. It rests soaking up the sun until I wriggle my toes, flying around briefly before landing once more.
A Magpie is next to disturb me, landing with a heavy thud on the fence and proceeding to tiptoe over each slat until he reaches the shade. He casts an eye over to the sunflower feeder, knowing this is one he cannot use, but checking out that the suet balls he adores have not yet been hung from the tree. The magpies gorge themselves silly on suet balls during the winter, performing all sorts of mad acrobatics to try and get a hold. A helicopter in the distance disturbs the peace and the birds. I often wonder if they believe it is some kind of monster predatory bird. My hearing seems to have intensified. I am now picking up the sound of cattle lowing in the background. Unusually quiet today, perhaps the heat has rendered them speechless.
The warmth is making everything and everyone drowsy. And I have read the same page at least three times…