The terriers’ walks have been faster and shorter. Meals are eaten on laps. Letters wait, bills go unpaid and plants wilt from lack of water.

The Olympics have changed our lives. It has been impossible not to be caught up in the British success: the tears, the joy. As I write, Great Britain stands third in the medal table, behind only the uncatchable USA and China, with a superb 16 golds. Slowly, the countryside itself is turning gold, too. The wheat and barley is ripening and, whenever the rain stops, patches are harvested. It looks to be a strong crop, certainly in Hampshire.

Between the showers, startling numbers of slugs have appeared-the little roads around the village are carpeted in them-but what’s bad news for hostas is good news for the song thrush, who is raising a brood of five speckled chicks in our wisteria.

The chicks stick their yellow throats towards me every time I walk past. My lack of pruning of the wisteria has resulted in few flowers, but clearly a perfect nest site-an unintended, but happy result. Good seems to come out of everything just at the moment. Long may it continue. These are days of unexpected joy.

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