These are the dog days, Fortunatus... The stupefying heat and humidity of the past weekend in the Southeast did a pretty effective job of closing me down for the duration, at least as far as mental activity went, though I did manage some sweat-streaming work in the garden and a train journey into Oxfordshire (and on my return journey hit a mighty swiftstorm - I'd guess at least 30 or 40, circling in a feeding frenzy, no doubt in preparation for the flight South). Other people - to judge by the angry cries from parks and gardens and the constant coming and going of wailing patrol cars and ambulances - were being driven plumb loco by the heat. It's hardly surprising, given that this kind of weather comes in such short spells that we never get a chance to acclimatise and adjust - that's the trouble with living in a country with no climate and a ridiculous amount of weather.
But the butterflies were out in what numbers they could muster, enjoying the sunshine. And, today, there was a hen blackbird basking in an apparent state of ecstasy in a flowerbed in Kensington Gardens, wings spread, head lifted, mandibles apart, much like Bernini's St Theresa. This was not in fact sunbathing, let alone religious ecstasy - the blackbird was sitting on an antheap, enjoying the sensation of ants crawling on its skin, killing off mites. They call it formication - but it ain't no sin.