Another day over 20 degrees so after work, as soon as we could we headed back to El Shacko to continue the garden assault.

Mac had ‘fixed’ the strimmer with cable ties in place of trimmer wire but unfortunately the clutch had overheated and melted a piece of plastic that seemed to be important. Not to be beaten by a breakdown, he took it apart, did some kind of magic spell and hey presto it was working. I didn’t ask the details. He lost me at ‘clutch’ (thought only cars had those).

I had bought a grass rake after forgetting I don’t have grass in my other garden, so have no need for a rake. I had been somewhat surprised to find the shed void of anything rake-shaped, even though I removed the last blade of grass at least seven years ago. So, a quick trip to the farm store where I also got new gloves without a hole in the finger. Turns out nettle stings are particularly sore on a finger tip.

I raked up what was beginning to turn into hay and began the familiar walk down the hill to the communal fire pit.

Slowed down by chatting to neighbours I hadn’t seen for several months with their two dogs, I head about the latest Land Rover repairs and the mysterious disappearance of a full crop of 41 perfectly ripe pears last autumn. He had been tending three young pear trees lovingly all summer since re-homing them. Delighted to find they had borne fruit, he described his daily walk to the field to softly cradle each pear in his hand to see if it was ripe. Not quite. Patience.

Then finally it was time to harvest. He got bags ready to pick the 41 perfectly ripe pears, walked down the hill to the trees to find them all completely bare. Not a single pear left. They never did find out who took them but did mention one of the farm hands won a prize for best pear at the local show. Hmmmm, I wonder.

New gloves on and ready to tackle more nettles, I discovered that sticky willy, when growing amongst nettles makes the nettles jump unexpectedly at your arms and face when you think you have them under control. Another night of sore arms them. At least my finger tip is ok thanks to my new gloves.

We walked the mile to the local pub for the best salad I have ever eaten – crispy fried chicken, avocado, mango, leaves and mojito dressing. Mac had irn bru cooked ham with egg, chargrilled pineapple and chips. Two strawberry and lime ciders to top it off, and a chat to the owner – an old friend of Mac’s – and home.

The mile home was accompanied by several bats who seemed to be playing some kind of dare game to see who could swoop closest to us. Then we spotted a beautiful white moth – a satin moth I think – and as I went to photograph it it flew up and settled on my arm. Just lovely.

Home, and the solar lights are all the light we need as it’s barely dark again.