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This has been a very strange summer.  The weather, for one thing, has been very unpredictable.  British weather is always unpredictable but this year it has outdone itself, I think.  Torrential rain, gale-force winds, mini tornadoes ( they are called willies in East Anglia!).  Lots of humid, stormy days in July and the coldest August for many years.  The plants in my garden have got very confused.  It became quite cool and wet at the end of June and the beginning of July (just in time for our holiday) so my Viburnum Bodnantense thought Autumn had arrived and started to flower.

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Viburnum Bodnantense is supposed to flower from Autumn through to Spring.

My Alpine Pasque Flower thought Spring had come back and began flowering again.

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Alpine Pasque Flower flowering for a second time this year

We found them blooming when we got home from our holiday on the 9th of July.  The poor things then got a bit of a shock as the temperature rose from about 15 degrees C to 28 degrees with high humidity.  August temperatures dipped again and last week I found cowslips in flower in the garden.

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A cowslip in flower at the end of August. Cowslips usually flower in April and May.

This week the temperature has risen at last from 12 degrees C and grass frost at night ( in August!) to a pleasant 20 degrees today.

I have found a few fungi recently.

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Pleated Inkcap

I photographed a better specimen in May

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Pleated Inkcap

which is when I saw this one which is ( I think ) a Snowy Waxcap.

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Snowy Waxcap

Coming home from church on Sunday we saw  this

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Shaggy Inkcap

The oak tree in our garden is covered in galls as usual.

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This is a Knopper Gall on the acorns photographed on 26th July

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The same gall photographed on 5th August

As you can see, it had grown quite a lot in ten days.  They are now turning a darker colour.

Our Horse Chestnut is suffering from the fungus infection that causes blotches on the leaves.

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Blotches caused by the fungus Guignadia aesculi accidentally introduced into Britain from North America in the 1930s

Muck spreading and ploughing was delayed for a few weeks but was eventually done in the field behind our house last week.

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Muck spreading. Mmmmn lovely!

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Muck spreading and ploughing. The local farmer is very considerate and doesn’t leave stinky pig-muck on the fields for long as you see.

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Skillful and speedy tractor work

The seagulls love following the plough and then stay around for a day or so feasting on all the grubs and worms.

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A mixed flock of seagulls

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These gulls are Black-headed Gulls with their winter plumage ( no black heads only black smudges on the side of their heads)

Another reason I think this has been a strange summer is the anxiety and worry we have all had has caused the time to pass by in a kind of haze.

My elder daughter has been trying to finish her PhD and find work and now has a large overdraft with the bank.  She has been able to do some proof-reading recently which has helped a little.

My mother was disappointed to find she had another bleed behind her left eye when she went for her check-up at the hospital.  She has started another course of injections.  She has been unwell with a bad upset stomach this last week and when I saw her today she had lost a lot of weight and had become very frail and vague.  She only told me about the upset stomach when I rang her yesterday – she hadn’t wanted to worry me!

My younger daughter, after two years out of education because of chronic anxiety has had the courage to apply for a place at college to do some GCSE exams.  She has been accepted and yesterday she went there for a ‘taster day’ – a practise run-through and a chance to meet her tutors and get time-tables etc.  She came home exhausted and tearful after spending seven-and-a-half hours in college – the longest time away from home and/or family for years.  Her term starts next Monday and she is so very nervous.  I will be driving her into college and then picking her up again when she finishes which will mean nearly 100 miles a day for me.  Eventually we hope that she may be able to get the bus into Norwich but she probably won’t be able to manage it for some time.  We are all holding our breath and hoping that she doesn’t lose her nerve.

My husband has had a problem with his throat since April.  He has had a recurring painful ulcer at the back of his throat that comes up when he eats.  He has pains in his neck too.  He has found that taking anti-histamine seems to control the ulcer.  He has visited his doctor three times and the first two times was told it probably wasn’t anything to worry about and to come back in a month. The third time the doctor referred him to the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at the hospital.  He eventually got an appointment to see the specialist on the 5th August.  The specialist didn’t know what was causing the problem so arranged for R to have an MRI scan which took place on 18th August.  R got a letter from the hospital last week asking him to see the specialist again yesterday.  R has been getting more and more anxious as the summer has progressed, as is only natural, and the long delays in between appointments have been difficult to cope with.  The specialist began by saying that she couldn’t find anything in the scan to account for the problems R has been experiencing, however she had found something else which will need dealing with before any more investigation into the throat business is done.  There is a growth on his pituitary gland at the base of his brain and this will have to be operated on soon before he becomes really unwell.  He will have to take some time off work and won’t be able to drive for some time before and after the operation.  The specialist is referring my poor husband to another specialist who will contact R in about a month.  R is very relieved it isn’t cancer but is very nervous about having a brain operation.

If my posts have been sporadic, if I have written a load of rubbish or made a rather stupid comment on your blogs it is because of all of the above.  I can’t think straight and I can’t concentrate on anything.  My arthritis is playing-up in my hands especially and I am so far behind with everything it is shocking!  However, I am a strong person and with God’s help I will be able to support all the members of my family and all will be well.