Sunday, 12 August 2012


We've been away down in Oxfordshire, scarcely able to crawl around the gently beautiful countryside because of the sweltering, drowsy weather. At last the summer has come good, and in style. I have recorded my first three instances of the traditional British response after more than five hours of unbroken sunshine: "Ooh, it's a bit too hot."

Butterflies were dancing around everywhere, which makes another nice change. And not just real-life ones. Here, above,is by far the most colourful I saw: a tribute to one of our loveliest UK species in the name of a canal barge. I know that's cheating, but the colours are worthy of the actual insect.

Two other sights from the canal, just north of Oxford: a barge named after a moth, right, and a little further towards Lower Heyford, the vivid, electric blue damselfly, above, on the adjacent river Cherwell. It was one of half-a-dozen darting about below the bridge at Shipton.

This weather can go on for ever, so far as I am concerned.

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