Signs of autumn26th July 2009
July has been a quiet month for me on the hill wandering front. Between having other things that need to done and not being enticed by the current mix of damper weather, getting out of doors has tended to be a largely bicycle-borne affair. Thoughts of enduring endless power soakings have helped to turn my mind to other things but the opportunity offered yesterday by a dry sunny interlude from the water was too good to miss. Ambitions of heading to Cumbria for a trot from Grasmere through the fells to Borrowdale had been entering my mind. However, circumstances were such that the idea needed to be parked for another time and I opted for a more local stroll instead. That took me from Kidsgrove in Staffordshire to Wheelock in Staffordshire by a round the houses sort of route that I’ll describe in another posting.
Suffice it to say for now that the sights of well berry-laden rowan trees (or mountain ash if you prefer) along with ripening corn in the fields is a reminder that autumn is at hand. The colours of the leaves may not be changing for a while yet but the fruits are ripening and blackberries are already there to be had along with other fruits that I cannot name because my knowledge of botany isn’t what it might be. Seeing nature’s larder becoming stocked to the level that I have seen it is a reminder of a country saying whose verity is hard to verify: masses of fruit on trees and bushes is a harbinger of there being a cold winter ahead. The logic behind this is that nature provides in plenty to tide birds and such like over a period of want. To my mind, it belongs in the same category as the forty days of rain following St. Swithin’s day with there being some truth in that from a meteorological standpoint. Apparently, the weather can get locked into a pattern around this time of year, be it dry and sunny or, as we are having it, wet and rainy. To whose wishing their life away, the latter outcome is a distinct disappointment but others among us will realise that there is more to the year than the months of July and August. Of course, that’s little comfort to those wandering to save the year’s harvest even if a mixture of sunshine and showers does help with the ripening of corn; bringing in wet grain doesn’t pay as well. We all can only hope for a drier interlude while making what we will of what we get.