1) The day we'd taken my sister back to the airport, that evening a hot air balloon, which in French delights in being called 'une montgolfière' passed over the house. These were a fairly common sight in the UK; our wedding coincided with the Bristol balloon festival, and the sky was full of the colourful, fanciful things all day. Hereabouts one never sees them, this is the first I remember; our former neighbour told us that there's a man who owns one, the same man as is to be seen on summer evenings flying a tiny microlight craft, but their use is forbidden as they frighten the cattle. This one began to descend rapidly once over our hill top, and I was very tempted to jump in the car and chase and watch it come down, as I've done on summer evenings in the past: once in my childhood with my dad, when we followed one through Ashridge forest to an area of parkland, where dozens of other people had done the same thing and small children were racing around in their pyjamas, and another occasion when Tom's daughter, whom we were visiting at the time, her mother-in-law and I all drove off in sudden pursuit to the bewilderment of our assorted men- and child-folk. But the moment wasn't right this time, and I didn't do it.
2) Mirabelle plums in the hedges, the branches heavy laden.
3) Pink poppies.
4) Peas ripening, the second sowing better than the first.
5) Red onions drying in the sun.
6) Gatekeeper butterfly in the hedgerow.
7) The last artichoke, left to flower. These never last very well. On the Island of Bréhat, they somehow preserve them and sell them to the tourists.
8) Courgettes, flower buds and fruit. We're eating them now.
9) Whitecurrants, later than the red.
10) Tom making chutney with the mirabelles, and very good it is too. I just have to stay his hand from opening and eating it too soon.
11) Molly's Rainbow Bridge gloves, as it turned out, though not consciously so (I know it's a mawkish and maudlin thing but I don't care). My niece Bee in Australia feels the cold, even there. She fell off her bike and smashed herself up a bit because she was trying to pull her jumper sleeves over her hands. I promised her handwarmers, and found the thick rainbow wool I'd bought a while back without plans. During Mol's last couple of days, during my shifts of lap-time with her, I knitted them up; it was comforting to have something bright and quick and easy in my hands to work on. Bee understands, she always sees rainbows when beloved people die. I have since, it seems, acquired other antipodean nieces and nephews, some of them entirely honorary and unknown to me, who want pretty mittens made for them.
12) Molly's last day, with Tom on the sofa. Hesitated to include this, perhaps I'm overdoing it, but it seems important. She was calm and comfortable.
The boat trip today was wonderful, will get onto the photos very soon.