SUMMER OVER?: The last few days have made me wonder if the summer has taken an early retreat. The sudden drop in temperature has been quite significant. Let us hope that it will come back soon. The rain has enabled everything to flourish and none have done so more than the weeds. I have been trying to establish a new aspect to my garden and thought I had conquered the weeds. Alas, the last rains soon put that false optimism away. I now have to begin the task all over again.
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BUTTERFLIES: Usually, at this time of year, we have an abundant variety of butterflies. This year, however, the number of varieties is sparse. I have seen only Large White, Red Admiral and Comma this year. None of my favourite Peacock or Orange Tip has appeared, even though their favourite food source of nettles is there for the taking. A comma has taken over the garden and frequently, unbelievably, sits on my knee. Let’s hope all the others come back next season.

UNSOLICITED PHONE CALLS: One becomes used to calls trying to sell you something that you do not want. Despite using the phone company’s rejection process, they still manage to get through. I have had many weird ones but the strangest of all was a foreign gentleman trying to sell me a lawn. His only reaction, when I informed him that, as a farm we had plenty of grass, was ‘Oh’ followed by ‘Perhaps you need something else’. At that the phone went down. Many years ago when living in London, we kept getting obscene phone calls. At that time, I was teaching PE and of course had a whistle. The next time one of these calls came through I blew my whistle down the phone. A few weeks later, a policeman came round and asked us if we had being having dubious calls. We told him yes and it appeared they had found a guy behaving suspiciously in a phone box and that he was the person responsible for the calls. I asked the policeman ‘Was he deaf?’ ‘Why did you ask that?’ he enquired. When told the reason, he laughed and said he would tell everyone get a whistle and keep it by the phone. He also informed us that our phone number was just one digit different from a massage parlour, hence why we had the misfortune to be on the receiving end.

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BICYCLES: Every day, come rain or come shine, snow, blizzard or gales, I cycled along the sea front to my grammar school, three miles there and three miles back. It was not as busy then, except for the summer tourist season, it kept me fit and I enjoyed it. Gales were a problem. It was hard work on the outward journey and it took longer than normal getting there. Inevitably, I was greeted by the deputy head who took delight in informing me that assembly had begun and I was late. The same gale, however, whizzed me back home in half the time. Why this preamble? I am puzzled as to why today’s cyclists, provided with separate cycle tracks on the road, do not use them. If I were still cycling I would most certainly use them. Surely one must feel much safer doing so.

SMILES FOR THE DAY: What do you call the assistant to a typist with one arm in a sling? A shift worker. A wind turbine asked a nearby companion what was its favourite music? The reply was ‘I’m a heavy metal fan.’

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