I have taken Tess for her grooming today - hair cut, washing and brush up - that kind of thing. I had to collect her three hours later - what a transformation. This means two journeys of the fourteen miles to the Dog Parlour. It is a fairly quiet road and I had plenty of time (and yes, Derrick, if you are reading this, I did keep an eye on the road too).
How the verges have changed in a month. At the beginning of June the grass was fresh and new, the trees were brightest green and full of energy, dandelions bordered every road, ox eye daisies burst forth in great clumps and everywhere there were great swathes of brilliant white cow parsley - it all seemed alive and bursting with energy.
Now, I must say the trees are beginning to look a bit weather-worn. There have been one or two days of strong winds that have created havoc with leaves; in the horse chestnut trees the conkers with their green prickly shells have already begun to form and on the hawthorn the May blossom has died and the berries are beginning to turn a brownish-red.
But it is on the grass verges that there is the most change. All those bright yellows and startling whites have gone. Where there was cow parsley there are now dry brown umbels; where there were dandelions even the seed clocks have gone, for there is nothing more efficient at seed distribution than the dandelion. And - overall - the colour has changed because around here the most common wild flower at this time of the year is the deep blue wild cranesbill and it is out everywhere. And often as a backdrop there is a bank of rosebay willowherb.
Hogweed stands taller than the cowparsley and is altogether more sturdy. Its umbels are cream so there is no sparkling white any more and the meadow-sweet, which is also cream, is coming into flower.
I have just taken a cup of tea out into the garden to where the farmer is weeding a particularly troublesome patch, and as we sat there a very young blackbird hopped close - he was so young that his bill was still soft and yellow - Tess went to investigate but when we chided her she left him alone and he sat there totally still, eyes closed - I thought he must be ill. I brought the mugs in and put them in the dishwasher and then went out again - he had disappeared. I must say his Mum and Dad have done a good job at training him to sit still when there is perceived danger about.
In one place on the verge somebody has obviously shaken a packet of deepest cyclamen-pink poppy seed and hundreds have come up - the effect is stunning. Unfortunatly it was on a dangerous corner otherwise I would have taken a photograph.
Well, as the Bible says, 'to everything there is a season' - and I fear that here, in the North of the country Autumn is approaching fast. Sorry about that but we always feel that by the time we get to August plants here have decided to shut down.
Shortly I shall walk with Tess and the farmer. If I find any interesting plants to photograph I shall add them to this blog later. In the meantime - have a pleasant day.