High Summer

Maybe. Sometimes. It was 38c, and now it’s raining again. But the sun still blazes whether we feel it or not.

Sunrise1 22 Jul 19

We have come to that languid not-quite-anything time, past the moment when the flowers are at their peak, yet some way off – one presumes – the edgy energy of autumn. Many birds are enduring their annual moult and are hiding, while foxes trot through the woods in coats so short, they look as tight as skin suits.

And then there’s the clouds. They cannot decide whether to tower over us or augment the scenery down below.

Sunrise2 22 Jul 19

The North Downs Way is arguably south-east England’s premier hike. This happens to be my local part of it, but the whole 153 miles spans the breadth of Surrey and Kent, following what is reputed to be the traditional route of pilgrims visiting Thomas à Becket’s grave at Canterbury Cathedral. I’ve walked a good distance down it, meandering between meadows and downland, vineyards and forgotten castles.

NDW5 24 May 2017

Thurnham Castle

History is a major theme. People have been travelling here for a long time.

James II

But the hills themselves have a past. You can feel a little bit of it standing on the high Surrey ridges – the view stretches from the Chilterns to Tonbridge and Hampshire on good days. It is the ramparts of something older, the crumbling bones of a giant chalk dome which was forced skyward in the same tectonic movements that built the Alps. If I had walked here in the early days, I would have been at the same altitude as Scafell. But time has lowered it, and scooped out the middle, and all that remains are the steep chalky rims: the North and South Downs.

The hills are old. This summer is not. It still has resting to do before autumn can greet it.

Khamsin in sunshine Jul 19

13 thoughts on “High Summer

    1. Yes, rain steaming while all the people were boiling! It felt like Singapore on Thursday, while being surrounded by English wildflowers and watching the shops sell out of icecream. High temperatures are very rare here, but thankfully it has now dropped back to 17c.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Adele, The history in the UK mostly beyond imagination. The land is our history. The vastness of space and time with only a spattering of human footprints.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We seldom have humidity in southern California but it’s here right now and wouldn’t you know our air con in the house went out. Now I feel like I did when we lived in Papua New Guinea, sweat all the time, take several showers a day. Hope they get the air con fixed soon or at least before my body get use to the heat. Love your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We in America are so young in comparison to all other countries. I remember my first visit to Israel and being told that by our guide. To be honest until I had travel overseas I never thought about that before even though history is full of how young we are. There is insight in walking in older footsteps, seeing man accomplishment beyond our young years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, sorry for the late reply – I haven’t got round to visiting WordPress for a long time. I hope California has cooled down a bit now. It’s feeling very autumnal in England at the moment and the temperature is dropping fast. I wonder if we’re going to have an early winter after all that.

        I would love to go to Israel! Maybe next year.


  3. These are gorgeous photos. The high temps across much of the globe are a source of anxiety. Here in SA we are having a hot winter – some respite yesterday and this morning with a sprinkling of rain, but high temps return for the rest of the week. If it’s this hot in winter then what will summer be like! (What sense of perspective can be applied in the face of current scenarios that is not extremely sobering to say the least?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol, sorry for the late reply! I hope that the weather has normalised for you now. We had the odd hot day but thereafter it was a fairly typical British summer, plenty of rain amongst the sunshine. September is cool and bright so far.

      Liked by 1 person

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