I’ve been getting strange looks from the woman in the mirror. I’ve had my hair cut shorter and my reflection keeps taking me unawares. Maybe summer really is over and I’ve re-enacted (a little late I know) part of the timeless pattern of the end of the summer holidays – haircut, new shoes, crayons arranged in a new pencil case, PE kit labelled and folded. Everything ready for the start of the new school year.
Outside, the golden stubble of the cornfields has been turned over by the plough in preparation for the new crop of wheat and the oilseed rape has already germinated, though a covey of partridges has descended this week and eaten away a hectare of the new crop. I’ve tidied the pantry shelves and bought the sugar and vinegar for chutney making. The long abandoned knitting now seems a little more attractive as plans are laid for new blankets and requests made for hats (that fit this time please) and gloves. My netball kit has been retrieved from the depths of the wardrobe, training resumed and the first game of the new season played (and won). I love this time of year as summer slips away. To me, this feels like the start of the New Year rather than January.
And we have ducklings. Only two. At the moment. Goodness knows how long they’ll last. The mother duck ran off without them on Day 1 but finally remembered to come back. On Day 2 she took them with her but forgot about them half way to the pond and they were overtaken by the hens and guineafowl who ignored their piteous cheeping. As did their mother. This morning they’d managed to wriggle under the door into the barn and couldn’t find their way out. I just hope they don’t come to a sticky end.