Thursday, 17 July 2008
Every summer’s evening I take my sister Suzanne out into the garden after tea. Suzy is six and she has to be in bed by eight. In summer, this is before the sun sets.
We wander across the sprawling lawn, kicking a ball to one another, before heading on into the small meadow at the rear.
Wild and exciting, this is Suzy’s favourite part of the garden. On Sundays she often pretends to be a big cat, and I, the hunter, on safari. She’ll crawl around in the long grasses and I try to catch a glimpse of her and catch her with a long fishing net, before she has the chance to sneak up on me and pounce!
This evening the sky is clear and the low sun in the sky bathes the landscape in a thin red coating, like a sprinkling of Saharan sand upon every object. Even the flies.
They cling together in a lingering patch of sunlight, as if hung between branches; a fizzing nipping cloud.
Last year, in Scotland, the midgies (as they are called there) were so prevalent that I was forced behind doors by eight o’clock, for fear of losing a pint or so of blood! I find them repellent, a blight on summer evenings.
Suzy however, stands there, transfixed. She watches their dance, backlit by the falling sun. She comes here just to watch them.
She thinks they’re fairies.