I think the flies may have gone underground. Literally. They have disappeared from the kitchen but hanging out my washing on the drying green, I noticed four large mounds of earth tumbling up through the grass. I presume the flies are regrouping and plan to tunnel their way back in. I set the children to stomping up and down on the mounds in case the flies have not yet got the hint. Then last night I was lying in bed and all I could hear was scurrying in the ceiling space. I have heard a whole din of buzzing from them, particularly when captured in jammy ribbons of fly paper, but I have never heard them scurry before. I presume they were wearing leather soled boots. Cunning creatures flies. In fact, this whole country experience has brought me closer to animals - if not insects.
My eldest would prefer to go to school by bus as many of the other children do. He says: "Why can't I go by bus?" I say: "Because mummy likes driving you." I try to bear that in mind when I am running 10 minutes late and struggling to clip three children into car seats which are ever so slightly too big for the back seat of the car. And it is raining. And we cannot find our homework. On a good day driving the boys to school is like a long nature ramble. "Look children, cows/ horses/ sheep/ rabbits/ hares/ chickens/ pheasants." I still think "Wow" as I try and pick my way through the careless, gossiping pheasants drifting across the road or see a hare lollop along infront of me before it swerves off into the long grasses and through the hawthorn hedge. The other morning, I even saw a red squirrel. A dark russet red, its tail darker again; it whipped across the road, scrambling up onto a stone bridge and leapt for a tree. I have seen deer once with the boys. Deer spotting though is more of a solitary habit. I am not often out late at night and alone. When I am, the very best bit can be the drive back. There is a point in the road to home - a stretch after it has dipped and before it rises again - where if you slow down, lower the music, wind down the window and glance across, away and over to the right, you can, occasionally, only very occasionally it is true to say, see them bound across the field then disappear into a shadowed, distant copse of trees. Then drive on again, content.