For days now we have woken to brilliant blue unclouded skies and a vicious north-east wind straight out of Siberia.
The shaded edge of Monsieur F's field down by the stream is frosty where Tod walks the dogs first thing.
We've had no rain since early April and I'm already watering newly-planted pots and the shrubs that I have been busy moving before summer sets in. I worry that I have already left it too late.
We had virtually no rain last year from April through to October. The winter rains have been sparse and the stream is already low for this time of year. If we have another dry summer, the plants I've just moved - roses, cornus, potentillas - will struggle.
Our lawns have never been cut so early or looked so good. They are already so dry that Tod can whisk over them with the mulching mower. Even the field is being tamed.
The tulips and lilac are finished and the wisteria, looking magnificent for too brief a period, has already gone over in the strong sun. All our troughs along the terrace are filled with young geraniums, begonias, lobelias and trailing variegated greenery whose name I don't know.
We've moved back to the house - and wish we were still in the cottage. The cold north-east wind finds its way into every room and we create small puddles of warmth - in front of the log fire in the lounge, next to radiators in our studies - and we scuttle across the cold tiled floors of the dining room and the kitchen. The dogs come in from outside, bringing an icy draught. They've learnt to open doors but sadly not to close them.
Bedtime requires a hot water bottle and two duvets.
No doubt we will be grateful for this draughty old house come sweltering July and August.
Even when they are dying tulips still look beautiful.
The wisteria, almost over, through my study window.
2 years ago