Sun, dragons and drunken mice

By Martin Kirby

When, blue bright day after relentless blue bright day, we are beaten by the heat, it hurts. Midday to 5pm temperatures have topped 34 degrees for weeks, and tasks like jam and juice-making have overtaken us. It is enough to keep up with the watering. A cauldron of plum that was put aside for a short while, rapidly began to ferment, so had to be poured on to the compost, home of happy mice that now must be even merrier. The only creatures seemingly unfazed by our oven existence are the birds, reptiles and the insects. Our placid bees continue to rotate between the spring, the sunflowers and hive (there is a pollen-coated bee in this picture, somewhere), while dragons, as the Catalans call the geckos, patrol the shadows of house and barn. And there is another heat. Some green and red peppers have cross-pollinated with chilli peppers, adding the lottery of spice to our salads. Who has heard of this? At night, meanwhile, we sleep to the purr of fans. No bad thing. They mask the chorus of the cockerels, and the final throes of the all night summer fiestas. PS Stand by for Maggie Whitman recipes, both savoury (with lashings of Mother's Garden fresh olive oil, naturally) and sweet.


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