A Dorset village celebrates the Queen’s birthday

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The bunting’s gone soggy and there is silence in the streets.

Just a few days ago, the village was alive with energy, as the Queen of England’s 90th birthday proved the perfect excuse for a communal party.

It didn’t matter that it rained on the parade. The show just went on.

A village hall bursting like a fat sausage as residents descended for a big breakfast; afternoon teas in the graveyard; decorated carts for the ‘pram’ race tearing around the one-way system; a packed church for a service giving thanks for such a wonderful community; a street party where all the food was donated and three bands performed on a stage provided for free by a local contractor.

At times like these, this village rocks.

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June is busting out all over

After the heatwave came the rain. But it won’t be here long, the weather forecasters say. We could be in for a flaming June.

Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton 1895.

The farmers are busy in the fields, silaging. Great big tractors, their trailers laden high with cut grass, have been rumbling through the lanes, swaying like great beasts advancing across the countryside.

Hills echo with the distant humming of farm machinery. Headlamps light up the darkness as farm labourers work through the night.

The bluebells and wild garlic are almost over now, their place taken by towering nettles and cow parsley, which was always called gypsy lace in my Somerset family. There are solitary violets peeking up through verges, making a brave but useless attempt to be seen by passers-by.

Crisp packets, a single gardening glove and a child’s hot water bottle are among the detritus littering the edges of the roadside.

I’ve been out and about with my mobile phone over the past few weeks, playing with the camera and experimenting with Instagram. The results are nowhere near as good as Nathalie’s pictures, but they do tell a story.

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