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Yes, sun, sun, sun. Warm, bright, glorious sun!
Berengere returned from Marseille and brought the sun back with her. And little Camille has returned home to Norwich…we miss her.

Today was going to be the day I wrote a post on sheep and dog behaviour…but I felt the need to get on with those summer jobs, generally chores, but this year seem to have a deceptive rosy glow (long may it last!).

You may wonder why I’m not in full harvest mode. Well, I would be, but our land has become so extraordinarily saturated with water it needs at least a week of dry sunny weather before we’ll be able to take any machinery onto it. One of those things – so all we can do is not stress, make sure that having waited as long as we have that we don’t loose our nerve at the last minute, cut before we should and end up with badly damaged, rutted fields and a forage crop that’s ruined by being full of mud.

Damage by tractor in forage field

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We have to turn our minds to other things.

Olly’s been out in the forage fields pulling thistles and docks, a backbreaking job, but as he said ‘it’s amazing! I just revelled in the sensation of being free…free from waterproofs, free from working in the deluging rain, free…just coming alive!’ He cut the lawns and calls out ‘look, hey look…it’s like proper grass again’ and the sweet smell of cut grass fills the air.

For the first time in weeks I feel the urge to venture into the fruit cage to salvage some of our waterlogged fruit. Not in the best of condition, though the last few days of sun has helped the sugars rise.

Colanders of glistening, jewel-like, red-currants, olive-black, velvet- fuzz dessert gooseberries and blueberries swollen to the size of grapes and hanging in heavy, pregnant bracts.

Back in the kitchen I stand back and admire the satisfying heaps of purples, blues and reds. Worth picking them just for that!

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I set to, making jellies, muffins and pies. The house is soon full of sugar sweet aromas. Red-currants drip, drip, dripping through a jelly bag in the larder. A rack of fast disappearing blueberry muffins on the kitchen table and a large gooseberry pie sits by the aga waiting for supper.

Forage next week – everything crossed…

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