Beans climb high as the drought persists

Runner beans escaping their canes and climbing the apple tree

The on-going lack of rain is starting to give that habitual sense of security that comes with never needing to think of taking a waterproof on a walk. And, so, a few rumbles of thunder late afternoon yesterday, an arc of rainbow over the sea, and literally a spot or two of precipitation, hardly shook our belief that this sunny weather is going to continue. Dying shrubs and widening cracks in the ground tell a foreboding tale of dry days to come, the baking of the UK and the desperate need of rain.

There are those things that like it alright. Provided that they are watered, the French beans and runner beans are happy in full sun. Our first row of runner beans, having not been ‘stopped’, in accordance with the best gardening advice, have now chosen to leap from their canes to the hanging down branches of the brambly apple tree. I wonder how high they will go?

Sitting in a deck chair, and contemplating these and other things, one's musings are disturbed by the regular fall of apples. They seem to be being shed by the tree as the drought continues. Breaking through the branches, and thudding to the hard ground, they remind us that, lovely as the sunshine is, all is not well, and watering is not as effective as a good fall of rain.

So when will it come? Perhaps today; maybe tomorrow; more likely Sunday according to the forecast. It will be a thunder storm, heavy and brief, I expect, maybe even extended and a thorough soaking? “The first rain will just run off, the ground is so hard” I heard someone say yesterday, while contemplating a brown churchyard and bright blue sky. As a child, I recall, our elderly lady neighbour on Rochester Way in south-east London dashing out to water the garden as the clouds gathered, the sky darkened, and it was about to rain. “It’ll soak in now” she said, as the pitter-patter of rain followed, the ground breathed a sigh of relief, and life returned to the parched soil.

John Mann