39 weeks to go…

by Max Akroyd

Stubbornly, September 23rd must be the start of autumn in my world. I can’t be doing with this mangling of the seasons into other forms. But the new week’s clear skies dispute this, they’re slightly but definitely tinged with winter’s metallic hue. At dusk, a cold wind sneaks through the deep shadows…

Out on the field, the old year takes on the form of a rapidly receeding hairline. You’ve got to take advantage if Nature suffers any sort of compromise. Up and down with the mower. The strimmer soon dealt with summer’s dodgy comb-over and left things looking military sharp. It’s comforting to see the structure of the beds still in place once all the dross is removed, a necessary precursor for the new season’s efforts.

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Away from the garden, it was a week of unremitting crappiness. An ugly monster of a week, hard to tame into words. And the rain came down harder than the hard-baked soil could could cope with. All our outbuildings flooded and made the animals miserable too.  

But when things are so reduced by circumstances at least you can see clearly what you do have. It’s hard to feel poor with a big pig in the barn. If I had lots of money I would have no idea where to put it safely at this moment in history. Pork futures suit me fine! The apparent dereliction that is peasant life has taken some adjusting to, I can tell you, and its value is conferred in some mischievous ways, often catching you unawares.

Monday morning, for example. A time of dread and despond traditionally, had me hanging out washing at dawn. The heat of the sun was making the clothes steam gently, the cockerel was crowing in the background and the air smelt like the sea. Distant, but distinct, the children’s voices in the house, excited again about the prospect of a new day.