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Country diary

The sudden flush of heat across East Anglia has set the farm fields racing skywards sky·ward  
adv. & adj.
At or toward the sky.

skywards adv.

Adv. 1.
, and on the southern edge of the Waveney floodplain floodplain, level land along the course of a river formed by the deposition of sediment during periodic floods. Floodplains contain such features as levees, backswamps, delta plains, and oxbow lakes.  the world was divided into just two colours, the green spiring up and the blue pressing down. Yet one colour had also bled into its neighbour. The cow pastures at Wheatacre are made up largely of a flowering grass, rather oddly named Timothy, and there is a faintly bluish blu·ish also blue·ish  
Somewhat blue.

bluish·ness n.
 tone to each separate inflorescence inflorescence

Cluster of flowers on one or a series of branches, which together make a large showy blossom. Categories depend on the arrangement of flowers on an elongated main axis (peduncle) or on sub-branches from the main axis, and on the timing and position of flowering.
 of this species. When viewed in aggregate across the flats, the fields of Timothy made it seem as if that ozone blue had somehow come to earth, secreting itself among the vegetation.

Over this shining green-blue landscape, which rippled gently in a cold westerly, butterflies struggled against the breeze. They were mainly whites but every now and then a peacock sallied across the grass canopy as a scrap of plush purple velvet. Above the butterflies, concentrated in linear plumes down the dykes, were St Mark's flies - said to emerge first on the feast day for the eponymous saint, April 25.

These bulbous-bodied black insects had drawn in a suite of predators, foremost of which were the hobbies. For that irresistible blend of economy with power, so much a signature of falcon flight, only a peregrine outdoes its smaller relative. The hobbies would swirl down in effortless parabolas and, at the moment of upturn, seize, kill, eat, and retrieve the sweet rhythmicality of their wing beat in one deft manoeuvre. Even the rooks Rooks can refer to:

  • Albert Harold Rooks (29 December 1891 - 1 March 1942), Captain in U.S. Navy, World War II Medal of Honor recipient
  • Lowell W. Rooks, Maj Gen U.S.
 seemed captivated cap·ti·vate  
tr.v. cap·ti·vat·ed, cap·ti·vat·ing, cap·ti·vates
1. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence. See Synonyms at charm.

2. Archaic To capture.
, and in gauche movements they tried for the same fly-catching technique. Then one hobby spotted something larger, spiralled down and plucked it out of the air. It was so fast I couldn't follow the procedure, but as the bird lifted again, four purple wings tumbled slant-wise with the breeze like petals freshly fallen from a tree.
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Date:May 19, 2008
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