August is a funny month. The nights start to draw in rather quickly as summer draws to a close with what seems like unseemly haste. Keen, fitful gusts of autumn are followed by a rumble of thunder.

I am in the garden, pulling up the last of the carrots (yummy) and the garlic (will weave into a plait and hang up somewhere); harvesting courgettes that have grown as large as zeppelins under what seems to be a jungle of tropical leaves; and seeing if we have any tomatoes yet (everything this year is late, late. late). I’m digging over the plot and will be sowing spinach and kale for overwintering; pricking out tiny baby leeks; and trying again with lettuces (a failure this year – usually we are awash with them).

When the sun shines it’s brassy and hot but somehow melancholic, as if it’s having its last hurrah. There is a kind of torpor.

And some people do not seem to have enough to do.

Twice, in as many days, I have received somewhat impatient emails from friends (two different ones), complaining why a third person (again, different in each case), with whom I am acquainted but over whose actions I have no responsibility, hasn’t responded promptly to some inquiry or other. One of these was actually complaining to said third person about the inaction of a fourth person of whose existence I had not previously heard.

I respond that, in August, that fag-end of blowsy summer, one must be patient. People are probably taking a well-deserved vacation. Or they might be beset with travails of which one knows nothing. Oh, yes, and COVID, that contagion/ government plot/ excuse for inaction (delete as applicable) which, whatever else one might say about its origins and career, seems to make everything take three times as long as it usually does, and that’s quite long enough.

In any case, what do people expect me to do about it? I have not the judgment of Solomon, nor, thankfully, the responsibility, and although I may Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk, reports of my omnipotence are greatly exaggerated.

Sometimes it feels as if the whole world wants a piece of me. But, really, I’m just as lost as everyone else.

About Henry Gee

Henry Gee is an author, editor and recovering palaeontologist, who lives in Cromer, Norfolk, England, with his family and numerous pets, inasmuch as which the contents of this blog and any comments therein do not reflect the opinions of anyone but myself, as they don't know where they've been.
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