An English Summer: An old watering can, a gifted tree and patterns in the stream

The skies are greying and it is a glorious sight. After two months of very little rain, watering our little vegetable plot has become a part of daily life. The watering can is almost half the size of my toddler daughter, though she insists on tending to the seedlings herself. She has found a way of heaving the can onto the raised bed and then tipping it from there. The dent in the metallic surface is a tribute to her persistence.

Our three resident pigeons always like to sit on the potager gate before a rain storm, ruffling their feathers and preening as the light starts to dim. They seem unsure of whether to chance a few more grains from the feeder or hurry off to shelter. If they look a little portly, it is because they supplement their diet of bird seed with the fallen biscuit and cake crumbs of our five children.

Two of them seem intent on digging up the silver birch tree. There has been a deepening trench just in front of it for some time where the pigeon family likes to bathe and rest. Maybe this is nature’s instinct, for now I notice there is a tiny tree sapling growing from the soft, pecked-at soil; a thank you gift from the birds.

The first spots of rain are sporadic and heavy, thudding as they thump down on the hollyhock leaves beside me. The pace quickens. Shrubs flicker and twitch in the downpour. My daughter and I retreat to the kitchen.

Later, hail arrives. In June?! I dive outside, no time to grab a coat, to catch a closer look at the beautiful swirls and overlapping circles in our tiny stream. The ice storm subsides within seconds and the hail melts away. I am thankful to have witnessed the precious, rare moment of ice chips dusting the summer flowers.

Afterwards, there is the drip-drip of the plants and that wonderful scent of greenness and life that always follows a thorough soaking.

I wonder if this year’s bees have been chastened by their first encounter with rain. They seem to slowly creep back to the garden with less confidence than before; not darting now, but warily circling the salvia petals from a distance before approaching.

Soon after, the bird song starts up once more. The day gradually brightens into the perfect evening. No watering required tonight, I pull up a chair.

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  1. Your post is quite refreshing–like a spring rain, perhaps? 🙂 We had a “rain” here recently, but barely enough to wet bits of the patio in the back. But it is the desert after all. Maybe that makes walking in your garden and around your area even more appreciated than it was when we lived in Illinois. At any rate, thanks once again and keep enjoying your week.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Janet 🙂 We usually associate spring with a lot of rain, so it was very odd to get such a dry spell. The weather’s making up for it now though – it’s a deluge outside! ☔️ I’ve loved all of your recent wildlife photos – quite incredible video of those bees too! 🐝

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s marvellous, isnt it? I tumble dried Dog to celebrate. He now looks like an inverted marsupial but with highlights. I’m convinced the rain was linked to my cooking a quiche so flan anyone… i have a few!


  3. Another marvelous, soothing, serene post. Love the photos, especially of your daughter (another substitute “grand-daughter” for me.)
    Hail in June – I was instantly transported to a day over three decades ago in June, a day of ALL seasons when I was highly pregnant, feeling like an elephant and living in East Anglia.
    The pigeons – just like those in Haddenham this year! I was flabbergasted by their size.
    Thank you!


    1. Hello 🙂 The red flowering tree is a fuchsia – it’s meant to be more of a shrub shape but I find if I cut off all of the lower stems it happily turns into a tree shape! 🌿


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