A wonderfully deserted beach!

My latest literary endeavour is now to turn my attention to the content of my next news letter which is due out at the end of July. (Any of you who haven’t yet signed up for it and would like to do so, just visit my author’s web page at www.gillianmonks.com ) I have to say that I am fairly staggered at how quickly these three month slots pass by!

The beach is a particularly good place for me to be just now… the wide open spaces of land, sand, stones and sky… the quality of light… the fresh breezes… very effective in clearing away metaphorical cobwebs of all kinds! And an utter delight to simply soak up the light and warmth and very essence of midsummer.

Looking around the countryside there is plenty of evidence of the season. Fields now shorn of their verdant grass lie pale, flat and smooth in the evening light; the hay harvest now safely gathered in. Hedgerows are smothered in blackberry flowers and sweetly scented honeysuckle. The tiny bouncy lambs which caused such hilarity and joy three or four months ago have now become a lot less boisterous and are already two thirds the size of their more sedate mothers.

In the garden my hydrangea is coming into flower and the first of the ruby red raspberries are ready to be picked. A couple of days ago my dear husband presented me with the first huge, luscious berry which I beheld lying flat on the palm of my hand for some time. For many years now, the sight and smell of freshly picked raspberries has always truly meant ‘summer’ to me. It takes me back to the summers of my young childhood when my mother would throw raspberry picking parties and family and friends were encouraged to come and pick as much fruit as possible. My mother would be in the kitchen, boiling up huge pan-fulls of the scarlet fruit to turn into jam, and would reward the hot, sticky fruit pickers with huge fresh cream cakes stuffed with sweet berries – and, of course, anyone who wished to take some of the fruit home with them was welcome to do so. We had a huge area of land which had become completely colonised with canes and I have known 90 – 100 lbs to be picked in one weekend.

This weekend is a busy one in the local towns and villages too. Today was the Summer (Agricultural) Show in Caernarfon; another local village was holding a fair and yet another was hosting a summer fete while our own neighbouring village had an open day at the local brewery there… the silver band and folk musicians were entertaining everyone and there was lots to eat and (obviously!) drink. Admittedly, the weather was a bit dismal this morning – mountains thick with cloud and a drenching mizzle falling on the gloomy fields, (well, this is a British summer we are talking about, after all!), but by afternoon the sun had come out. That is another lovely thing about summer – all the outdoor social events and activities.

Long may we enjoy them! But just for now the sun has set, dusk has finally fallen, the fir tree in the corner of our garden is thick with roosting jackdaws and the peace and stillness of nighttime is stealing across the valley. Sleep well, everyone… it will be another long, bright day tomorrow!