22 OCTOBER 1954, Page 14

Country Life

Foa a while I stood looking over a gate at a half-harvested field the other day. It was quite plain that the man who had planted the corn had given up the unequal struggle against the weather. The straw was bleached and weathered. The ears had fallen. In other places farmers were letting their hens run on the fields to pick what they could, but here, in a rather remote place, such a thing was out of the question. I climbed on the bars of the gate in order to get a better view and at once a great flock of birds rose. Some hundreds of sparrows and finches went like leaves before the Wind, a dozen or more woodpigeons clattered away and two or three crows sailed off in their leisurely manner and only the gulls remained, watching with their heads up. At the corner of the field I could see some partridges moving. The birds have been having their fill of grain in many parts of the country. When the gleaning is com- plete there is a fine crop of berries on the hedge trees, Soon the weather prophets will be pronouncing on the subject of hard winters, as they always seem to do when they notice the berries of the holly and hawthorn.