A mere two weeks after the longest day and already the year seems to be slipping into a fag end of summer feeling. Earlier this week we had the house lights on for the first time in ages, admittedly as it was raining, but by 9.30pm we needed light to read. So it felt this weekend taking the seventh month images for the project. Those 7 months have just flown by and as I stood next to dying grasses, scrunched leaves underfoot and observing fields turning Naples yellow under the ravages of many a harvester, it reminded me more than ever of the Wheel of the Year. That passing of time, when the next set of images will be taken as the village celebrates it's Harvest Home Festival - a celebration of harvest gathered in safely, a time to relax as the next jobs are ploughing and sowing for the year ahead.
It is still high summer of course, swifts screaming overhead, the sun blisteringly hot when out, a cool wind off the sea just moderating the heat, yet I saw a handful of young swallows gathered on telegraph lines, a flock of fifty or so starlings wheeling about and the teenage jackdaws are out on a rudimentary geographical lesson with their extended families. Dragonflies are now omnipresent, birds overhead with primary feathers missing as they moult, and bramble flowers wither as they set down early drupes.
July has never been a favourite month of mine, that moment when the freshness and vitality of spring just fades away, almost like the countryside has run out of steam at the end of a party. This year is different. Attempting this project is changing July's meaning for me - I now see it as a holding month. January, February and March were all about emergence, new growth and struggling to get through the ferocity of winter. Then along comes April, May and June. From new growth the landscape erupts in a profusion of greens, whites and yellows, a time to breed, avian travellers arrive from afar; it's all about giving birth to the next generation. Spring is all hustle and bustle in the natural world, even before dawn.
July and to some extent August and September are a time to relax, put on the slippers, next generation out the nest, job done, the world is at peace - and it's too hot to work anyway. A time for the landscape to reap its rewards for 6 months graft and toil. All too soon the hedgerows will be brimming with rouge berries, sloes and blackberries. But that is for the future. So for now, before the first frosts of autumn arrive, with the sun shining, a refreshing cider at hand, pull up a chaise lounge, relax and unwind-a-while with the seventeen July images...
The village looking very quiet on a Sunday afternoon
Sheep have arrived in the orchard field, the pond (not visible to the left) has been opened up.
A single liquorice allsort of haylage alters the scene this months
For a church which is defunct, I was surprised to see a new grave adjacent to where I stand for this image.
Will there ever be a time when this road does not sport a puddle - heavy showery rain today.
The river is chocked with weed, the banks dying back, although the road edge has been cut.
Somewhere out of sight I could hear Paul chopping down nettles. I love this orchard.
The Strawberry Line is getting a bit overgrown.
Apples are begging to form, though you'd not know it by this image, taken moments after a torrential downpour, not the best light.
The bridleway has been cleared a bit
Whereas the barn image is one of black bales and a wonky gate - what is going on!
The meadow around Woodspring Priority is getting quite mature now.
Sand Bay on Saturday evening, hot, windy and a lot of walkers out. This image is my 'control' - it never really changes.
Blue skies say it all
Farmer Green had just gone into the parlour, it will be sad to see these monochrome bovines disappear.
Permanent pasture, ploughed and reseeded with maize, coming up nicely.
I failed to take any images of the many swallows and house martins flittering along the water, such an idyllic view. I love driving over this ancient bridge every morning. Never tire of the view.
So next image taking - month 8, will be August 1st or 2nd.