August started with ramblings further afield – a few days in the Loire Valley in France. Lots of delicious food and wine, lazing – and lunching – by the pool; exploring a medieval building, once a priory and then a tannery, now being converted into a house; buying wine for a wedding at a vineyard high on the hill; visiting a painted, collaged glass exhibition, replicating famous paintings, in Montresor and walking by the river there; finally, a massive thunderstorm and a 4-hour flight delay on the way home (thanks Ryanair – and for the food parcel).
The following week found me watching the members of my NCT group (of 30 years standing) feed sheep on a farm in Hampshire, followed by a communal lunch in the sunshine supervised by the house cat, and a swim for those not too full to drown. Got back just in time for my first-ever village show, to marvel at the precise displays of produce and flowers.
By mid-August, the orchards were bursting with fruit and looked as though they were ripe for picking and ornamental berries had turned brilliant orange while the swallows were gathering on the wires outside. Could it be autumn already? (But the apples stayed on the trees a while longer and the swallows were just feeding up over the fields and practicing for their journey home).
A journey to Richborough by boat from Sandwich led to the spotting of four kingfishers, one sitting in the reeds so close that I could have touched it as the boat went by. That total, in one hour, is more than I have seen in my entire life! The flash of turquoise and orange as they darted ahead of the boat was just too fast for a photo, sadly, and I also failed to capture good images of some of the huge Dutch barges moored there, tucked away in privacy among the reeds with only boatloads of tourists to disturb their peace.
A hot day later in the month found me at a writing workshop at Quex House, a totally inspirational place with galleries of the eeriest dioramas and fascinating facts everywhere you looked. Too much to take in during one or even two visits and the walled garden was still a delight even as the month waned.
The end of the month meant another festival in Sandwich and a whole array of classic cars down on the green by the Quay, followed by a trip to sit on the shingle at Seasalter and time spent time hurling a stick into the sea for Meg.