It's scorching hot, (the now daily 30 degrees plus), it's been bloody hot for weeks and shows little chance of not being bloody hot for the foreseeable future. It's not only hot, it's very humid with it and every bit of effort makes you break into a sweat and lastly, rain, proper soaking rain, just seems like something that other countries get.
As I look out of my bungalow window this afternoon, I'm looking at a distant heat haze that looks like a mist hanging over a grazing marsh that contains horses. Those poor animals are grazing their way across fields that are bright yellow, almost white, with no grass at all, just dry grass stalks.
In my garden, the regular dropping of apples from water starved apple bushes, is giving the Blackbirds something to feed from, there's very little else on offer. Their dreams of fat worms must be pretty much like ours of rain and plenty of it. And what of hedgehogs - no fat slugs, snails or worms in this dusty heat, things must be so hard for them.
The Swale National Nature reserve, on which I carry out my Volunteer Wardening, is just the same. It's official description is that of "an example of North Kent grazing marshes" - one that brings to mind murky, boggy places, full of mists and wildfowl and Darwinian characters. At the moment it resembles a photo from some sun-baked African plain, with near dry and stinking ditches and cattle so desperate for sustenance that they are now plundering the tall reed beds of phragmites and with very little water that is drinkable.
On the surrounding farmland, everything but the maize has been harvested and it's straw baled and carted away. All the fields have then been tickled over for a few inches depth by tractors towing discs and everything sits dry and dusty waiting for rain that has to come one day.
Bird-life on the reserve continues to be disappointing, some morning we get shorts bursts of Swallows and Sand Martins hastily making their way south and a few ducks struggle on in ditches with very rancid water. Some passing waders such as Green Sandpipers stop off to probe the widening muddy fringes of the ditches but basically, it's only the Greylag Geese that are present in any numbers. During the day they feed in the neighbouring stubble fields and then fly into the reserve's sea wall fleet, the only one with any proper water, in order to drink and wash.
It's all a pretty depressing scene but it'll change, of course it will, but till then it's simply a matter of going out very early in the morning to beat the heat and waiting for the rain to come.