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Celebrating summer at long last!

We had a deer in the meadow the other morning. Sitting out in the sunshine for a pre-work coffee, we watched her leap across the freshly cropped grass in an apparent panic, escaping our attention. It was all of five seconds between her arriving at one end of the field to springing over the gate at the other, racing hell for leather towards the caravan park. It felt like a stolen moment we were not meant to see.

There have been other stolen moments during lockdown. We saw a mother grouse and five of her teenage chicks in the garden the other week. The local teenagers have been sharing pictures of baby frogs and other deer on river paths from here to Glasshouses and Wath. We regularly watch a snowy owl making the rounds at dusk, hear the call of curlews and see hawks circling the skies. It is as though the animal kingdom made a return while we were all holding our breath.

This week was the time the hay came down. With five consecutive days of sunshine, the grass has been cut and turned and bailed for winter feed. Every year, it feels a little unreal that the long days will turn and the sheep will need the hay. Summer and winter often seem like completely different worlds here, and it is difficult to imagine on in the middle of the other.

This year, the harvest feels like an anchor - to the way things were before and the way things will be again. Whatever happens, grass still grows and sheep still need to eat, despite the changes the human world is facing.

Earlier this month, we welcomed our first post-lockdown guests. We followed best practice guidance on cleaning protocols and the rest to keep everyone safe. It was strange not shaking their hands when they arrived.

On the flip side, we found out more about each other than perhaps we would have done before Covid 19 and lockdown. I felt proud that they had a nice time with us and touched that they chose our cottage as the first place they came after lockdown.

In some ways, the world is strange at the moment. In others, it is exactly as it always was.


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