Like much of the country, we have enjoyed an exceptionally warm introduction to Summer recently. The arrival of unseasonal high temperatures for May has brought life back to the whole area. I even got the enthusiasm to cut the grass, clean some windows, and dig out the garden furniture from inside the garage. Julie did a lot of weeding, and now the small rose-bed at the front of the house looks a picture. Ollie has started to venture outside to sit in the sun, and we have been able to take advantage of that uniquely good-weather pleasure, hanging out washing on the rotary line. There is something really appealing about line-dried washing. It smells fresh, feels nice, and saves the trips to the shed, to load the tumble-dryer.
The muddy walks over the meadow are suddenly a memory, and we can get back to a nice stroll, unencumbered by boots, heavy coats, hat and gloves. If Ollie gets too hot, he just jumps into the river to cool down, and I can rest in the shade on the picnic benches, if I feel fatigued. Children are playing excitedly, both in their gardens, and on the playground nearby. The sound of lawn-mowers, strimmers, and a hundred other DIY jobs breaks the Beetley silence, but nobody minds. Down at the river, youngsters arrive with small fishing nets, some of the older ones even have inflatable boats. It is shallow and safe on the bend, and parents can look on, without being too fearful.
Another sign of better weather is the presence of outsiders. People who drive to the meadows from elsewhere, rarely seen during times when the temperature is low. New dogs, new owners; people for me to meet, and dogs for Ollie to greet. Teens hoping for a romantic interlude away from home, soon realise that there is little chance of privacy. Toddlers queue for turns on the slides and swings, and the still meadows of a few weeks ago seem like a different place. The smell of barbecues is on the air, extra cars parked outside houses indicate the arrival of visitors and guests. Impromptu parties are held, and the locals sit out in their gardens once more, happy to see the end of the long dull season that prevailed.
Cycles, scooters, and skateboards see the light of day again. Cats doze on warm driveways, and it stays light until 9pm. We enjoyed the company of visitors yesterday, one of Julie’s daughters, and her boyfriend. Our decision to cook a roast dinner was perhaps ill-advised, but we all enjoyed it, despite the hot evening. We sat outside until quite late, drinking wine, stroking the dog, and chatting happily. It must be nice to live somewhere where this lifestyle can be enjoyed on a more regular basis, as it is definitely conducive to wanting to hold social events, and generally feeling good. The light is nice, after so much darkness.
By next weekend, it is forecast to drop to 17 degrees, with heavy rain. Just as well we made the best of it.