The farmer counted the swallows and house martins gathered on the electric line this morning; there were over one hundred. Already the swifts have gone - now the swallows gathering, soon to take flight for Africa. It spells only one thing here - it is Autumn.
Autumn comes early up here in the North of England. We are more than 700 feet above sea level and several nights there has been a warning that there might be a frost. (the farmer has remarked that this is what happens every year just as our runner beans begin to form).
The grass verges on the lane are dying back and the temperature has not risen higher than twenty degrees for the past two weeks.
But there is some compensation to come. Soon there will be blackberries on our field hedges (a good crop this year), plenty of hazel nuts in the fields - and the wonderfully colourful Autumn leaves to look forward to.
But, best of all, the rooks are coming in earlier each night. And how I love the rooks. Another couple of weeks and they will be homing in on their rookery before I have gone to bed. There is a rookery just behind the Old School House, where I have been going
to classes in the evening, and quarter past nine sees them all circling round, making a racket before they settle down. And how I love it.
So all is not lost. There are pleasures and there is sadness with each season - we have only to look for it.