If we were in any doubt about it, the last few days have shown that Autumn is really here and that Summer is well and truly past. During the last week we have had sharp frosts, gale-force winds, heavy rain and brilliant sunshine, The first three have contrived to bring down an awful lot of the leaves and as Tess and I walked through the fields this afternoon (ankle deep in mud in places) we were walking as much through fallen ash tree leaves as through grass.
In the gateways the water has collected in the ruts and it is difficult to get into the fields without getting wet feet. But once in we set off down the field to where the farmer is busy digging out the beck at the bottom. It always silts up every year but this year, with the torrential rain of a couple of weeks ago, when Dominic's lane was all but washed away (it is the same beck that flows through our fields), a lot of rubbish came down too, so there is a lot of digging out to do. The farmer has to keep a sharp eye out because he digs out bullheads and small trout and tries to see them in order to put them back before they perish. After all, they are good winter food for the heron and the kingfisher.
We chat for a few minutes and Tess has a good old sniff at the wet mud which has been dug out. Then we walk back home. It is a glorious day here today - brilliant sunshine, slight breeze, and - as you can see from this photograph - amazingly beautiful clouds.