Maybe it’s the sea breezes that keep them at bay, but thunderstorms are uncommon here. It’s not really hot, but the humidity is stifling, and it feels as though we may be in for a flash storm. The clouds are dark, but I take the risk and head out from the cottage to the common.
Greens are replacing browns quickly now, and the fast-growing bracken is painting the common with great swaths of rich lime-green. The blonde tints of winter, which can last well into summer, are gradually being swallowed up, replaced by new growth and lovely patches of cotton grass, perfectly still in the still air. The threatened storm passes, and the sun gradually wins out. The skies clear, there’s a dazzling haze in the west lighting the cotton grass from behind and it’s a different world. Skylarks rise, and at least four sing high up in the haze, and a meadow pipit parachutes to the ground just a few yards away. I don’t bother to try and find the nest, since I rarely succeed.
A few cows with newly born calves look nervous, but don’t mind me passing, but there are no sheep. More cotton grass follows the bed of the little stream, snaking like a white carpet into the distance in both directions. The sun brought with it a gentle breeze, causing the heads of the cotton grass to sway. I run some through my fingers; it feels more like silk.
The spring flowering of gorse is over, the only yellow now is from meadow buttercups and a few patches of bird’s foot trefoil. A small heath butterfly takes to the wing, and even though it’s been a warm day, we’ve had little sun, not the best conditions for butterflies.
Within half an hour the weather changes again. A mist creeps in from the coast, the skylarks descend, and all I hear is the scalding of stonechats.