SUNDAY morning late June, a day of special beauty caught between the heat of recent days and the threat of scattered thunderstorms.
I am sitting in a pleasant warmth beneath a yellow-leaved small garden tree called Gleditsia triacanthos Sunburst, planted when I first came to live at Villa Marie.
Just now, in the high mid-summer light and heat it shimmers and glows and it is certainly the loveliest thing in the garden.
The bottom half is in light shadow whilst the upper canopy of tiny, fern-like leaves flutters in the faintest movement of air.
Under this gentle shade, I wander back in thought to other summer days, in particular my childhood summers and I become lost in reverie.
In my mind’s eye I can see the creeks and streams and swimming holes of long ago. Memories come flooding back of bare feet on dew-fresh grass and paddling in shallow rivers, tadpoles, and sticklebacks swimming between my toes.
What child today could identify with this, or the challenge of bird nesting, hunting for wild fruits and giant mushrooms, or rushing to collect timber for a midsummer bonfire?
Two blue tits rush into the yellow canopy barely feet from my face.
I know these birds, their diet, habit, and choice of nesting site.
Nowadays, most youngsters are just about able to recognise and distinguish crows from pigeons.
Identification of blue tits, yellow hammers, robins, siskins, skylarks, even thrush would be out of the question.
My friends and I lived intently then, holding nothing back.
We ate on the hoof; huge slabs of bread and jam washed down with jam jars of water taken directly from the streams.
Summer then was a celebration of life and the earth was our table.
Suddenly the blue tits are off, and the increasing heat brings me back to reality.
I long for a short downpour if only to refresh the wilting flowers.