hearty thanks for your telegram from a distant european autumn. a welcome message of solidarity dropped in an empty bottle of pelforth, left on a table outside the bar on the corner of the boulevard of broken dreams. back in blighty it is not mushroom clouds that fill the mind but hordes of invading harlequin ladybirds, dozens and dozens of them filling the afternoon and evening air, crawling in the through the windows at night and buzzing round the flat at all hours. like a hatch of signal crayfish with wings. they cover car windscreens and swarm over the branches of dying elms. great sport for the cat but killers of our native ladybird. the harlequin bring with them a curse on the summe that has stalked every angler’s step, a season that has yet to start, the poisoning of the trent, the closure of highgate no 1 because of an algae bloom that lit the night up with a green glow turning north london into a b movie out-take. the thames is at its lowest for a century a stagnant pool at laleham where in previous years it roared over the weir. its tributaries down to a level of inches rather than feet. november just around the corner, the tench are getting fat and the grate has yet to be swept out.
imminent flood on the birdtable