I read of an old man who didn't sweep up the leaves in Autumn. When asked why he didn't tidy up his garden he replied that there was no need. If he left them where they lay then sooner or later Boreas would do the job for him. Boreas being a name for the North wind.
Well today Boreas's cousin, the West wind, is doing a pretty good job on the pine needles on our drive. Over the last fortnight they have been thick on the ground. Today there is a huge west wind and it has swept them into a manageable pile. The trouble is that it is such a strong wind that it is almost impossible to keep one's balance - I am trying to stay indoors. But there are compensations. Every few minutes a squall of rain passes through and five minutes later there is a rainbow.
But this strong wind led to a minor crisis this morning when it blew a field gate open and four young heifers got out. To get to the road they must have passed the kitchen window as we were breakfasting, but did we see them - no. I was doing The Times crossword and the farmer was reading his newspaper. The ground is so hard after a month without rainfall so that their hooves left no imprint and they kept to the grass verges so that they didn't leave a single identification cow-pat!
I rang the police to report them missing and they told me that someone had reported four heifers loose on the main road. So for most of the morning the farmer and I drove round looking for them. All our neighbouring farmers were on the lookout too but no sign. We came home, had a cup of coffee and set out again up the lane. Where the lane joins the main road I stopped for the traffic and there - opposite - in a field - were the naughty four. Some sensible person had opened the gate and herded them off the road and into the field.
The farmer and our neighbours went to get them - the neighbours held up the traffic while the farmer herded them out onto the main road. And would you believe they refused to cross the white lines painted down the middle of the road! But eventually they trotted back down the lane like naughty children, not hurrying and stopping now and then for a nibble at some tasty looking leaf in the hedgerow. They are back in the field by the kitchen window now, looking a bit shamefaced.
But the weather - this wind - is causing havoc here with branches down on the roads. In our little town it is almost impossible to walk without leaning into the wind. I am staying at home. The garden is looking pretty sorry for itself - and that reminds me of another story. My mother used to speak of an old lady in our village who kept the most pretty cottage garden; she had a mixture of vegetables and flowers all neatly in rows and never a weed to be seen. One day the vicar called to see her and complimented her on the beautiful garden. "Isn't it wonderful what God can do in the garden?" he asked. She replied, "Well I don't know about that vicar - all I can say is you should have seen this garden when God had it to himself!" Have a lovely weekend.
Photos: Farmer bringing home the naughty girls.
West wind has swept up the pine needles on the drive.
Two halves of the same rainbow in the north.