Autumn light has a chunky, otherworldly quality: the sunlight comes from a lowering star; the warmth arrives slowly and goes so quickly, dead-on-the-dot at sundown.
This morning, looking through the leaded panes of our double glazed windows, the light was like slabs of hotel butter stacked on the tiles of the opposite houses, chimney stacks making long aerial scarecrow shadows.
But the wind was violent, capricious and switching direction by the moment. The big Union flag in the house across the way was whirligigging round and the whole white flagpole swaying like the mast of a schooner in a 1950s film.
The telephone wires that radiate out from the pole across the street, usually immune to wind were whips; demon’s skipping ropes jerking and line graphing as if they were being walked by the finest of Chinese acrobats, invisible ones at that!
The wind carried a huge whales entrails of cloud over the estate; grey-purple and malevolent. The ground became a darker, enchanted by dark spells, but the wind charged on, ricocheting from invisible walls. The tall Lombardy poplars swayed, aspen branches panicked, throwing their white gloved hands to the sky in alarm.
“No chance of getting up to the allotment this morning, then,” I decided as huge bullets of rain hammered the panes, making snakes of water that chased and joined, chased and joined down the glass. The ghostly sounds of wind moaning and whistling a melody to the rain’s fast bass.
Ten minutes later the rain had cleared, the butter sunlight was back and I spent a good two hours digging and sorting potatoes. We are having a poor year for potatoes this time around. The cold weather, blight and some almost-mutant strain of underground slugs has frustrated growth and holed the tubers.
I need to find out more about these slugs. Firstly because I am curious … and secondly to find a way to deter them!
I would have loved to see a friendly blackbird, thrush or robin out on the ground, making a natural snack of these critters, but the wind was still rushing about and, apart from one fast-flying woodpigeon, there were no birds to be seen.
1th September, 2012


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