High Summer and the countryside basks in the sun. Miles above sea level, we are blessed with a cooling breeze which smells faintly verdant, as if the heat had leached the essence of the greenery and dispersed it on the wind. Now we near Midsummer's Day and the hedgerow banquet is in full sway. Brimmming schooners of fragrant elderflowers toast the skies, while the strumpet honeysuckle entwines her sweet tongued blossoms round stalk and branch. Fragile as snowflakes, wild roses bob prettily, blushing at the giant hogweeds insolently thrusting their musty platters from the dusty verges.
Below the salt, the common grasses are flushed with red campion and woundwort, while slender ribworts sway languidly, holding their creamy coronets high above the rabble.
A bevy of insects darts through the festivities, busily seeding a thousand rumours, burying into secret places, emerging triumphant and pollen dusted. Dainty Queen Anne's lace, which fringed the lanes in May, has coarsened to pimply seedheads and the frills of hawthorn have given way to nuggety, unripe berries. By the stream, willows lazily lower frondular tips into the cool babble, and silent trout flicker like dark ghosts in the shadows of the old stone bridge.