It's ever so hot...and I keep sweating profusely...although ladies, so it has been said, don't sweat...they glow. Well, I'm not glowing...

So I sat outside under the shade of our broken parasol and did some cross-stitch and my hands were all sticky and revolting and sweat was running down my back and I wondered why I like the summer...

Every window in the cottage is as wide open as it possibly can be...and there isn't so much as a breath of wind to cool the air. Never mind, I'll soon be able to say that 'August is a wicked month'...that, and beware the'Ides of March' are my favourite sayings.

Of course August is a Wicked Month is the title of a book written by the Irish writer Edna O'Brien whose books were banned in the Republic for many years due to the sexual content. Read them now and finding the sexual content is virtually impossible but the censors of the Sixties had the ability to find something rude where it didn't actually exist.

I cannot abide these hot and heavy days when the birds are quiet and the only wildlife is a swarm of vicious midges intent on blood sucking or an errant wasp homing in on my bare arm...the cats sleep under the Canterbury Bells and emerge blinking and stretching to wind around my ankles and yowl for food...the little brother bites my hand...wrapping his soft silky paws around my wrist. His brother stalks away with his tail twitching and then he turns to rub his head on my foot and he gazes up with huge green eyes and I think how beautiful my cats are...

The dogs puff and pant and throw themselves under the 'fridge and dig holes in the yard to burrow into...they make endless excursions to the water bucket and drink as though it will be their last drink ever and come away with water dripping from pink tongues and hurl themselves dramatically into a cool corner only to emerge minutes later to sit gasping in the sunshine again...

Charlie the bird, sits on his perch with his eyes tightly closed and his head thrown back and I think he is certain to expire at any minute so I wrap his aviary with an old sheet to shade him from the sun and then he perks up a little and runs back and forth with a peanut in his beak and squawks at nothing in particular...

The little river is running slow...barely enough water to make it over the rocks which line the bottom...it is hypnotic, the sound of the water bubbling slowly and carefully over stones which are millions of years old and hold secrets we will never be able to share...sometimes I catch the briefest of glimpses of the brilliant turquoise feathers of a Kingfisher...once a Mallard came by with her babies...paddling frantically upstream...and all too often a Heron will rise into the air with a slow flap of his wings and frighten me with the suddeness.

Huberts cows are restless and roam from end to end of their field and sigh and blow and call their calves and lean over the fence into our little field and look at me with great mournful brown eyes...they take half-hearted bites at grass and buttercups and chew thoughtfully while dribble streams from their big soft mouths...

I don't much care for these hot and heavy days when the light doesn't fade 'til after eleven and the bed sheet weighs down on me and furry moths come in and batter themselves against the light and a dog far away barks and the haymakers drive by intent on getting home before midnight and I'm restless and disgruntled and want the cool days of Autumn with the hedges laden with wild fruits and a great harvest moon rises above the fields at the back of the cottage and the air is filled with the sweet evocative scent of burning turf...

It is then the bats come out and swoop above our heads and my old willow basket is crammed full of blackberries and the shooting stars light up the evening skies...

But I don't much like July and August when the grasses have turned brown and the air is hot and heavy and the climbing roses hang their heads and the nests are empty and the days are quiet and still and waiting for summers end.