Steel Dinosaurs

The weather’s changed here at Drove Cottage.

A couple of days ago I was out for an evening walk with some friends, walking along the banks of a crystal clear chalk river. We sat on an ancient stone bridge, perched on the lichen grey stones either side of a small track, chewing the fat and setting the world to rights as the sun slowly sank behind a gently rustling ash tree. The air smelt of warmth, dryness and summer; a faint tang of dust and ripe corn on the ever present breeze in this valley. On evenings like this summer feels like it will last forever, time stretches out ahead of us, possibility and opportunity the only sides of the coin.

All things eventually end though and sooner or later summer will give in to the earthy smells and chilly mornings of autumn. As if to give us a taste of things to come summer disappeared on a 45 degree angled bank of cloud that slipped silently in as we walked back up towards the cottage from the river. A meteorologists wet dream, a sensory geography lesson. The warm evening replaced by a jumper inducing chill and a smell of rain on dry earth. Mackerel sky, not long dry.

I’ve no doubt that summer will be back, our British climate is nothing if not changeable, but for now the forecast doesn’t look great for a few days and as a result the chalk hillsides are busy with activity. Across the valley as I type I can see men and machines trying to get the ripe crop in before the rain, Britain model scale machines, sending up plumes of dust as they work fastidiously up and down the over-large Wiltshire fields. Up close they lose their model scale and become behemoths of grey, green and yellow. Steel Dinosaurs, munching their way through the landscape, scooping up everything in their path and spewing out the waste behind with a roar of engines and a smell of diesel and dust.

Malcolm

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