We woke this morning to the sound of rain falling steadily for the first time in more than a month. The period of hot weather that has lasted since the beginning of the month (the longest spell of hot weather since 2006) continues for the time being, with today feeling especially humid. Walking the dog in Sefton Park this morning felt like being in a sauna, and last night at midnight the moon seemed to be shrouded in gauze, so pronounced was the humidity.
These have been days of glorious light and warmth after the dreary, wet weather of last year and this year’s long, cold spring. It’s been great to feel the warmth in the air already at seven in the mornings in the park (where these photos were taken this past week). The birds seemed to have celebrated the late arrival of summer days in an especially joyous manner. Now they were subdued, hidden from sight, as raindrops dripped from the trees.
As the hot days have passed in growing number, the colour scheme has changed with the tall grasses of midsummer turning from lush green to golds and browns. On the allotment, strawberries and raspberries have arrived in an avalanche beyond our ability to consume, process or give away. On early morning walks with the dog I’ve seen a heron, standing motionless, stretching its wings as they dry, while the four goslings tended attentively by their parents since June have grown rapidly, now nearly showing adult markings. They have been joined by little squadrons of ducklings and coots.
The other morning I saw a squirrel’s tail drooping from a rubbish bin as it scavenges the rubbish left by the instant barbecue brigade. That’s the downside of the park in summer: the people who leave their rubbish strewn where they sat with their picnic or barbecue (a few mornings ago, I found one enormous mess by the Palm House where a group had not only left the usual detritus, but even the brand-new kettle barbecue and cool box (packaging nearby) that they had brought to the park. Some, at least, bag up their waste and leave it stacked by the park’s inadequate bins, but then, in the early hours, the foxes, crows and squirrels unpack it all, leaving an unholy mess for the austerity-cut park staff to clear.
We need thoughtful people who will take their rubbish home with them. Short of that, we need bigger bins with lids.