The countryside is changing once again. Yellow fields are turning brown as farmers cling on the the last dregs of summer and the sound of tractors echoes around the Thames Valley. Oil seed rape is in, and on the little farm where I ride only the wheat stands in the field. Hay was cut long ago. A combine slogs up a sodden A34 with a queue of cars behind it: families returning from holiday in time for the start of the new school year.
The estate is still under a hosepipe ban, but for most of us the drought of the early summer is a distant memory as we battle mud and puddles. The rain seems to be endless, and we catch rides where we can between showers. Oscar and I came back from a hack covered in mud after some horses in the next field excited him and we had a frantic struggle for control in a muddy field.
The time to leave for uni is edging closer and mum and I have been making trips out to buy pans and steel toe capped boots. Yesterday we bought half the stock of Staples.
It was cold this morning: plans of sailing were quickly abandoned and dad and I decided to go down and do some jobs on the boat – a spinnaker halyard needs replacing and one of the reefing blocks is very worn. Bramble wanted to come with us, but we decided he’d be miserable on the boat and left him behind.
Blackberries are starting to ripen, the nights are drawing in; autumn has arrived.