Signs of scummy pollution get washed downstream sometimes, and are usually washed away again in a day or two. The fish are busy; one comes to the surface, and very strangely then moves sideways before disappearing back into the water. I have never seen that before – in fact I’ve never even heard of it happening. There’s a chill in the early mornings, and it’s misty more often than before; though the days are warm and usually sunny.
Finally we are getting a sustained period of real summer weather. The stillness of the river is something that I’ve been aware of since back in April – I described it then as ‘settling down into its bed’, and most of the time it’s been very sleepy ever since. I haven’t realised before how static, with no sense of flow, the river can be. The weather is very pleasant though – but I have become ill.
For the first few days I lie in bed, ‘travelling with Petroc’, working out the next part of my story. The weather continues to be hot, and after five days – having been told that the hot weather is about to end – I get up to walk to the river again. It’s a gorgeous day and I feel inspired. The sound of the reeds swaying in the breeze is like wheat or barley; it made me think of Egypt by the Nile. In the bright early afternoon sunshine I can see fish swimming in the water, something I have never seen in the mornings when the sun is low. On the way back I see a beautiful bird of prey languidly circling above the field, spiralling down until it had seen that whatever it had noticed was not edible, and it flew away.
I thought I was getting better, but by the following morning I was definitely worse and by the end of the day I was in hospital; this is a different story altogether ...