I don't know about you but I always get confused at this time of the year about when summer starts . The meteorological definition is the first of June but the calendar says the 21st June , the summer solstice and the longest day - yet 24th June is Midsummer's Day.Baffling isn't it ? Anyway I feel summer has started when I can smell it - that dusty warm green scent which tickles your nostrils and today was just such a day .There was warmth in the air and the sun on my back soothed aching muscles and I could feel the tension of the past months dissolving .
Our hedgerows have transformed yet again here in Devon - the bee orchids have shot their bolt and the white foamy banks of cow parsley and Queen Anne's lace have faded away and merged with dead nettle ,grasses and Pennywort. Through the undergrowth the slender fingers of foxgloves are pushing their way heavenwards ,their bell-like cups an open invitation to bumble bees . If there was ever a more apt moment for the expression "does my bum look big in this " is the sight of bumble bee emerging backwards out of a foxglove - so much effort for so little reward .
Where once celandines held sway buttercups now rule .Meadow Clary with its delicate mauve flowers struggles not to be overwhelmed by Cranesbill and Vetch. I mentioned earlier Pennywort- every year I see them spring up like miniature white lupins and every year forget their name and have to ask someone and this year was no exception although I have also discovered they are also called Navelwort - why I have no idea . I passed a field growing barley and watched as the breeze gently stroked the whiskery tips and sent changing shades of green waves speeding across the field -pure magic .
The sounds of summer are here too - the insistent hum of insects rising and falling in a musical drone - someone somewhere close by with a pair of shears clipping a hedge . How I miss that ratchet sound of and old fashioned lawn mower going to and fro .A squadron of swifts came squealing and shrieking between the buildings in an almost Red Arrows formation . Soon as the temperature warms up there will be that wonderful evocative suburban smell of privet and warm tar - but not quite yet .