Summer in the lane…

And so, finally the sun decided to amble over in our direction and grant us a few weeks of what we could probably agree to call proper summer – by which I mean being able to wear sandals and occasionally bring out the embarrassing sun hat.

Things are a bit different here for us this year. Unlike recent summers when we’ve disappeared up to the Highlands with a couple of tents and an optimistic attitude to rainfall, this year we’re staying put – or more accurately – not straying very far.


Not getting to walk along the beach at Balnakeil near Durness, is something I’ll miss, but instead I’ll have the opportunity to watch as the summer progresses in the lane. Already I can sense a change in the pace of growth. The pumping energy of spring has given way now to a mild sense of exhaustion, the fresh bright greens of May are now darker, dustier. The delicate cow parsley has turned brown and shrunk back, replaced by the stronger stalks of hogweed and banks of purple thistles. The nettles standing sentry are gradually being pulled down by the wreaths of wilting cleavers.


In the field, the grasses which in June swayed like waves have been cut and bailed, and already a new growth of nettles, thistles and grass is greening the pale stubble. We haven’t yet reached the point when the countryside turns golden, although I don’t think it’s far away – soon the colours will change and the tired greens will be replaced by the rich reds and ambers of late summer.

High summer has never really brought out the best in me, which is perhaps why I normally prefer to travel north for a cooler sort of summer, but I admit there’s something that feels right about observing at close hand the slow changes as the seasons roll round. I’m enjoying it in a strange sort of way, but at some stage I’m going to have to head for the coast and dip my toes in the sea…

I do hope you’re having a good summer – it’s great fun watching Instagram friends post pictures from their travels around the world – vicarious holiday pleasures!





11 thoughts on “Summer in the lane…

  1. You do write so beautifully of your lane and local landscape – a joy to read. Since we moved to Northumberland some 6 years ago, we don’t go away in the summers any more – I just love to see the summer months here and all the changes in the garden and around. Some things are sad – the larks have stopped singing, for example, and that spring green you describe has gone. But the fields are almost golden – every day I look out to see whether I could call them gold yet! I wouldn’t miss watching that for all the world. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you – I know what you mean about some things being sad, I find myself feeling quite melancholy at times, but it is also fascinating and you can’t help but be immersed in what’s happening. I think if I lived in Northumberland I’d be happy to stay at home too – such a magnificent county.

  2. Hi Anny, what a lovely post. I completely agree with you on the delights of watching the seasons change.
    Hopefully we’ll get a little settled summer and I can go and jump into the river!
    Lanes have a charm of their own – do you ever portray yours in your needlework?
    Enjoy the summer, hope you get to dip your toes 🍒

    1. Thank you – yes I love lanes, I was brought up in Worcestershire and was very familiar with a lot of lanes as my Nan lived at the bottom of a long and very narrow one! I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately chosen to depict a lane specifically, but I feel sure a lot of the organic shapes that seem to appear in the pieces are heavily influenced by the shapes I see every day in nature – I am especially fond of the trailing curves I see everywhere.

  3. A lovely post, indeed. I agree there’s been no necessity to scuttle north for cooler weather – we’ve had it at home! Some of my favourite summer outfits haven’t had an outing…

  4. I am with you on not really being a high summer person. Spring and Autumn are my favourites. But we too have taken to being around here in July and August, partly because that works best for the holiday cottage and partly because if you can go away any time, as we can, why go when everyone else is on the move? And like you I have found that watching the landscape around us take on high summer is really rather beautiful. Don’t think I will ever crack it in the garden though!

    1. Yes, absolutely, we’re getting closer to being able to avoid school holidays and it suddenly feels quite liberating. This year I have done nothing at all in the garden and it has looked better than any previous year! A combination of self-seeding and stately weeds – of course it’s not a long term solution, but I still like the idea that gardens will wait for us, work together if we want and then take over again when we’re gone.

  5. Staying put has its upsides doesn’t it? I am always amazed how much has changed when I’ve been away for even just a couple of weeks, then wonder what I’ve missed. I love the British summers, but living in areas that people visit for their holidays take a bit of getting used to – I find myself looking forward to winter’s empty beaches and parking spaces!

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