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Over the last two summers I’ve littered text with soggy simile, metaphor, adverb and adjective; written watery creative analogies; been moistly apocryphal, saturatingly colourful and squelchingly onomatopoeic. I’ve been sent bonkers by rain-driven frustration and suffered blue-gloom from lack of sunlight.

But now I’m emotionally ‘descripted’ out. From the once again watery swamplands of the farm I have absolutely nothing original to say about rain or sodden summers (though to be fair it’s only been July – it just seems so much longer – we did have a stunning spring and early summer, our memories though have been clean washed away).

I could, I suppose, thrill you with my efforts at pickling and preserving (but haven’t I told you about that a couple of times before?) or wax lyrical about the cleaning out and washing down of the cow palace (almost as captivating as watching paint dry, wouldn’t you say?).

Maybe I could let you into the little secret of the rat in the polytunnel…(ahha, I can see a glimmer of interest here!)? The one who munched his way through the whole of our corn crop in a night effectually destroying every cob? Who’s also gnawed each and every beetroot and is now thumbing his nose at us as he takes poisonously vicious bites out of all ripe or almost ripe tomatoes before we get a look in. Oh, and what about the powder mould that’s ripped through the courgette population and the worrying lack of growth with our second planting?

‘Yes!’ I hear you exclaim ‘Vengeance is sweet!’  Remember all the green ploytunnel envy?

ah well...

ah well...

Sneezewort against a leaden grey sky, Hannaborough

Sneezewort against a leaden grey sky, Hannaborough

The rain has washed-out, or at least diluted, any cogent thought in my head. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t mention the weather too much this summer – after all, my explosions of sodden thought and drenching words last year exhausted the whole gamut of wet noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, analogy and simile – official and invented. But, suffice to say, it’s getting to me.

Not just the rain; I’m okay with that – the waterproofs, the wellies and the squelching-squalching exuberance of just getting wet. No, it’s the dark this ‘summer’. The grey. The lack of light.

This morning I opened an eye and sensing the still dim light thought ‘Oh good, it’s early’ and snuggled back into warm cosy bedclothes with a sigh. Drifting in a delicious half-dream state, some inner prodding nevertheless made me squint at the clock. I was late! Struggling out of bed I lurched over to the window, where a small lozenge of pearl grey hovered, drew the curtains and peered out. Dark smudged semi-light, fingers of misting rain licking the concrete to deadened lead-grey, rivulets of oily water streaked with sickly yellow clay running down the drive, vegetation hung heavy and lifeless broken down with the weight of water; a couple of rabbits, soaked to the skin, hopped into the sodden tangled disorder of the verge; no vitality nor vibrancy; dankness and rot dominated. I leant on the window ledge ‘So dark, so gloomy’ I thought ‘I don’t want this anymore on an August summer’s morning’.

I’m a morning person. Generally at my best as soon as I open my eyes. Ideas, thoughts, plans and actions are on the boil, immediate and ready. It’s not an effort to get up – much more of one to stay in bed. But I do have difficulty with dark mornings. Spring and summer with bright zinging dawns are a top-up for my soul; I’m so ready after a seeming eternity of getting up and working through dark winter mornings for the injection of first light vitality and exuberance. Until this year I didn’t realise how important this seasonal top-up was to me. And I’m not getting enough, not in the morning, not in the day and not in the evenings.

Tangled vegitation with drifts of meadowsweet and marsh thistles

Tangled vegitation with drifts of meadowsweet and marsh thistles

Locks Park Farm

Thanks for visiting my blog. All entries are presented in chronological order.

I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.



The Campaign to Protect Rural England has helped set up this blog. We want farming to thrive in England, and believe that it is essential that people understand farming and farmers better in order for that to happen. Paula's views expressed here are her own and we won't necessarily share all of them, but we're happy to have helped give her a voice.

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