Cool, bright morning.The sun casts long, sharp shadows, clouds like barges drift southwards. Buzzards circle, calling and the crows in the tall ash respond. Willows creak at the edge of the pond in the swithery wind. I meet an old man who stays with his son but wants to go back to his own house unsure when that might be or the geography of where it might be. His dog sits patiently at his feet. He wishes me well and I walk on to the farm. Nut brown mushrooms in the fields, house martins tumble. The day is set fair and I am to get a longed for ride in a combine harvester. Ali tells me when his grandfather came to the farm he was told it was only good for stock but with improvements to the soil and drainage the soil is now so good Ali won best in Show at the Royal Highland Show a couple of years ago. I squeeze in the combine next to Raymond and we set forth. It is like being on a boat – a sea of wheat is carved as we progress as a bow through water. The machine jostles and bumps throwing up sprays of dust. We have a couple of mechanical hiccups and after the second mishap I begin to feel as if I might be in the way or perhaps, (and I laugh) I am an ill omen similar to the superstition of sailors who thought that women on fishing boats brought bad luck. Resisting the temptation to say this I decide to leave them to it and after my goodbyes walk down the track with the wind in my sails.
sketch – charcoal on paper.