31 MAY 1957, Page 35


Drought seems to be no longer an immediate threat to my part of the world. The river rose over- night and salmon fishermen broke their duck, if this expression can be applied to fishing. The leats and ditches filled up and, miraculously, the colour of the pasture and upland grazing began to change a shade, even in twenty-four hours. So many things are affected by these changes in weather and intervals of rain and sunshine. The hedge stops and starts, the field brightens or gets worn like an old animal with mange. Fruit trees suffer in an unseasonal wind, leaves shrivel and fruitlets fail to set. Even the birds are involved and the rook joins the pigeon among the greenstuff, where he studies entomology by pul- ling things up to get a grub at the root. The plant dies and the field looks more threadbare than ever, We have had rain in sufficient quantity to satisfy most people and revive the pasture, but in no time the river falls again, and those who blessed the downpour begin to wonder just what amount of rain is right, if, no one knows quite what is saturation and what is drought, for no one does,