Early July diary. Summer playing games.
Early July and the nettles are in full flower, reminiscent of that stinging, acrid aroma from childhood, ladybird collecting days. A dream shattered by some combative birdsong that is almost perforating my eardrums. I whistle back in a poor imitation, but one that evokes a mild consternation from these alpha males. The first few days of July are fickle, with blue-sky days alternating with some low-brow days. There are cameo portraits of summer everywhere, rambling roses and lace cap hydrangeas peeping over a stone wall.
Where would July be without the Red Arrows’ rapier pirouette of children’s minds in awe? But beware! The sun is sneaking up, wrapped in a cloak of goose pimples, to burn you in the breeze. These words from one of my poems blew into my mind:
Whimsy clouds, shorn from a peeling sky,
winsome shred the blue across this dome,
and in mischief call the lost boys home,
borne of distance longing, and soaring high.”
I am walking knee deep through a peroxide blonde field of grasses of every stripe, ripening as a meadow. Each trying to outdo the other in their elegant fecundity. But they live in dangerous times! In a sweltering night, a grass fire, amber moon peeks through the open window, and the smoke chokes off any hopes of a midsummer night’s dream. Our cat is holding a seance with the ghouls of owls in the cemetery, wooded black to wrap this gourd moon and lullaby a sleep tight. Tomorrow will be even hotter in the hive, with a full tide due at half past five.
In the garden, the lemon thyme is a forest of mauve waltzing in the downdraft of bees, when a wood pigeon drops in to inspect the cobblestone patio. An inspection curtailed by our speeding cat. What a flutter and a vertical take off! From the safety of a tree, it asserts that …“I am a big bird don’t you know … I am a big bird don’t you know … I am a b…” Stops.
Under a snuff box of privet, our cat is gibbering and dribbling at the sight of fledglings fluttering from the nest. The adult sparrows are loudly filibustering with a zig zag of white noise. In our neighbourhood the diving seagulls, with screaming car horns, announce that their chimney fledglings are taking flight, so look out, heads down!
Oh, summertime and the swimming is easy, wishes are thrumming and the cat is on a high. Close your eyes and the secret is nigh. Warm, cloudy, humid and soporific summertime, with oxy-acetylene flashes through the blue holes in the cloud.
A bumble bee the colour of polished oak is too hot to fly and is stumbling intoxicated from one clover flower to another. The daisies are emerging from the lawn like the stars at dusk. Over there the cat is snoozing in a shady spot dreaming of the ones that got away. A mad dog is barking, is barking, is barking. The cat opens one eye to wonder – why?
In this calm weather, there are not many logs washed up for me to harvest for our winter Woodburner. As the first two weeks of July draw to a close, I can see that the early flowering plants are going over, and there’s that ghost of autumn in July. It is going to cool down, or so they forecast, but summer is playing games and will not really go away.
Following a day of rain for the garden, the sun has got his hat on and it’s going to be a glorious day. The lobelia is shining in the dawn-dewed sunshine after a refreshing shower, and the runner bean flowers, at the top of the poles, are reaching for the sky. Drops of blood signing a pack with the blue for a harvest to fill August baskets to overflowing.
The grass has been mowed in Underhill park, and a second childhood is drumming a stick along the railings of summer. The heavy roller is on the weekend cricket pitch for a good innings and a not-out run of sunny days.
To crown it all, the jet-black dung beetles are shining in the sun that is cooking the lizards, impudent in their stares, and all tensed up on their starting blocks.
So, at the end of a perfect day, stay a while and dance with me, in this memorable sundowner’s glow, and lock it away in your heart.
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His poetry can be seen here: http://baitthelines.blogspot.co.uk/
His photography can be seen here: http://jimyoung14.blogspot.co.uk/
Jim has also written a biography of his childhood in the Lower Swansea Valley: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Growing-Lower-Swansea-Valley-Memoirs/dp/1530977746
Jim has a poetry Twitter account:
and a FAcebook page here: