Whatever happened to our summer?

WHERE did August go? Where did the summer go? I came across a lovely quote the other day which went like this: “I just love the English summer. It is my favourite day of the year.” The Happy Moonraker feels seriously short-changed. No need for shorts, T-shirts, sunhats, or any of the other kit that goes with summer. There was one really good week, at the beginning of July, and that was about it. Summer gone.

Robins are starting to make their autumn sounds and I’ve seen swallows and martins looking ominously as though they are about to start lining up on the phone wires before long. You certainly can’t blame them for wanting to get away to somewhere warm and dry.

Tilly the terrier and I are jogging along muddy paths these days. Usually at this time of year our regular paths are dry and dusty and full of butterflies. It just happens that I invested in a new mac and sou’wester a couple of weeks ago and I have used them more often than I care to admit.

Today we visited 20 of the 25 life-sized models of medieval barons, each one decorated by a different artist. Clad in my new mac, sou’wester, and mittens to keep my hands warm, and clutching a trail map that gradually disintegrated in the rain, I enjoyed seeing the skill of each artist. Tilly wasn’t too bothered, it must be admitted, until we reached Bourne Hill Gardens where she did some serious squirreling.

If you want to see the barons before they go, you have only a few days left. Pick up a trail map at the Information Centre before they leave their individual sites at the end of 6th September. After that, they will be on display together in the Cathedral for a week from 24th September before being auctioned off in aid of the Trussell Trust on 1st October.

1.David Graham decorated Baron no 3 and called it Quintessentially English. Soggy visitors and their umbrellas add the final touch.

David Graham decorated Baron no 3 and called it Quintessentially English. Soggy visitors and their umbrellas add the final touch.

2.Baron no 16, decorated by Salisbury artist Louise Luton, is called The Stained Glass Flower Baron.

Baron no 16, decorated by Salisbury artist Louise Luton, is called The Stained Glass Flower Baron.

3.Oh Deer! Is the title of Annaliese Stoney’s Baron no 17.Oh Deer! Is the title of Annaliese Stoney’s Baron no 17.

I saw that Paul Kidby, who lives not far away, had decorated the Discworld Knight (No 5) on Choristers’ Green in the Cathedral Close. I photographed him when he was taking part in Salisbury Art Trail a few years ago. He has illustrated many of the late Terry Pratchett’s books, including the final one, published last week, called The Shepherd’s Crown. This photo shows him signing book marks.

Discworld artist Paul Kidby signs a bookmark for Sabina Grey.

Discworld artist Paul Kidby signs a bookmark for Sabina Grey.

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