As August comes to a close, the familiar signs of autumn are appearing in Beetley. The grass has stopped growing on the lawn, and the roses have all died off on the bushes. With the first strong breezes we have had for some time now, small branches and leaves are beginning to drop from the two oak trees that cover our front and back gardens.
Last night was the first time for days that I was able to sleep untroubled by unpleasant humidity, and there was even a light mist when I woke up this morning.
But by far the biggest sign is that the acorns are falling. They are falling in their hundreds, rattling off the various roof areas, outside furniture, and guttering. Our cars parked at the front are being bombarded with a noisy fusillade, and every flat surface is almost covered in the empty shells, acorn nuts, or both.
Shifting these things is an annual task. The only animals that eat acorns are pigs, and EU rules forbid feeding acorns to pigs now. So they have to be swept into piles, collected into a garden waste bin, and sent off to be used in compost. I cannot imagine how long it takes for the extremely hard shells of acorns to break down, but I suspect it is a long time indeed.
And as I carry out this collection, I have to be careful. Get hit by one, and it is just like being struck by a falling stone. And woe betide you tread on one with bare feet, as it is not unlike stepping on broken glass.
Once the wind gets up, a new kind of sleepless night arrives. One where the sound of falling acorns striking the windows and paths resembles gunfire, and makes it hard to sleep undisturbed.
But this is country living, as the seasons change.