Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A Fifties Croft in July

Phew! Almost didn't make it, but here is the extract from Wendy Wood's book for the month of July. There's such a lot of interest this month, but I have made do with two extracts:

"My field generally looks quite small to me, but covered with new mown hay it looks the size of the Atlantic. I turned the whole field twice - that sounds as if I were a female Cuchullin, but I mean of course that I twice shook and turned all the hay on it. The task was frequently interrupted by the need to remove toads, big ones and little ones, to a place of safety and better usefulness. I like them, for they have so wise an air as they sit humped up and stare into your face, or clamber clumsily away as if they had on outsize trousers that impeded their movements. It must be a shock to them to have the whole roof of their world suddenly removed, exposing them to the scorching sun. Suppose you were in a wood and without warning the trees all disappeared! I remove the toads, tickling them under the chin, which they like, and put them in the garden among the lettuce, where they can gorge themselves on slugs to our mutual benefit."

The same month, she had to attend the funeral of a good friend:

"Returning from the funeral we were wrapped in a heat haze which blotted out the hills, rolled over the water and came creeping up to hide the rocks beside the road. The silver of the rising moon that night shone subtly through the mist, a light so diffused that the whole earth seemed luminous, a place of strange mystery. In the early morning when the mist rose, it wafted up the hillsides on the breath of a breeze, leaving the glen below freshly washed and every blade of grass individually polished. Combined with the lights on the sea, it looked like the beginning of an entirely new world. All among the heather tufts, the spider webs still held the entangled mist in millions of gossamer saucers at every angle, as if flocks of angels had moulted on the hillsides. When the sun had fully risen, each web imprisoned a rainbow, and as the moisture evaporated, the airy threads disappeared against the varied background. As I climbed the hill to look for the cow to milk, the land below showed lochs and seas of cloud mist, studded with magic islands."