Sunday 7 June 2020

Five weeks later

It has been around five weeks since my last post and little of any great importance has happened in my orderly kind of life.
I was rejoicing in my last post at the fact that at last we had had some rain to ease the dry conditions that we were experiencing and that has just happened again. After that last post we had several fairly hot and very sunny weeks, which while enjoyable for me as a warm to hot weather lover, saw pretty much drought conditions set in across much of the country. This week, literally overnight, we went from July like weather, to that of March/April. It has been cold, with grey skies and strong cold winds and occasional rain, though rarely enough to soften up the hard, dry ground.
I have to say, that getting up every morning to cloudless blue skies and the knowledge that shorts and light shirts were all that were going to be needed throughout the day, was quite enjoyable, as were the warm and sunny evenings sitting in the garden. Not so this week, some people have even put their central heating back on - in June, what's going on with this weather!
Still the dry and sunny weather did encourage my sempervivum collections. I have three of these collections and the ones in this sink-like container have just started to flower.

One thing that I have been doing during the last five weeks, is reading a lot. Not because the lockdown due to the Corvid-19 virus has restricted what I get up to, in fact I have not been restricted in any way. No, because I get up very early each day (5am) and start the day with a patrol round the nature reserve and then other jobs in the garden, etc., I find that most afternoons I have little to do and so do quite a bit of reading.
I have found a series of books by a quite brilliant biographer, Mary S. Lovell. Her books are terrifically well researched, contain many pages and yet are easy to read. I came across her latest one first - "The Riviera Set: 1920-1960: The Golden Years of Glamour and Excess" and then went backwards to "The Churchills" and I'm currently reading "The Mitford Girls: The biography of an Extraordinary Family." They are very worth well reading.

On the reserve, we are just beginning to emerge from the main rush of the breeding season and so far it hasn't been that spectacular, the several weeks of dry weather has affected birds like the Lapwings. Their chicks depend on insect life to feed on, the type that you get around the muddy fringes of bodies of water and such areas dried up with considerable speed as the near drought progressed. I have however, seen a number of broods of geese and various duck youngsters and the Sedge and Reed Warblers are busy in the reed beds, so all is not lost. A few grassland butterflies are also starting to emerge - Small Heaths and Meadow Browns are a tad early and there are Peacock caterpillars feeding on the stinging nettles. 

So far it has been a funny old year - a very wet winter, followed immediately by a bone dry Spring, what weather surprises has the summer in store as we approach the Longest Day in a couple of weeks.