People here are starting to complain about how hot it's getting--how it's too hot to work, too hot to think. Today we made it to the high 70s; a friend came back from London bearing reports of people behaving limply on the train, wilting away in the heat.

At dinner, it felt like old times, like the early days, when we wore summer clothes and lingered long past the ends of our meals. "You do own short-sleeved shirts," I said to my neighbor when he knocked on my door before dinner. The table: academic men in short sleeves, academic women wearing t-shirts, peppered mackerel fillets, glasses of sickly sweet plum wine, a plum and apricot cobbler with surprise layers of fresh mint leaves cooked in and a tiny stream of fresh cream on top. After dinner, I lifted a wooden picnic bench all by myself, carried it across a patio. Having upper body strength--or any musculature at all--if you're an academic woman is a good party trick.

I'm going to stop kidding myself: I usually want to take pictures of the following things: flowers, grasses, leaves, fences, outbuildings, horizons, strange architectural features, stained glass fragments. For the next small while, flowers and grasses might completely occupy me. Having learned many British birds this year (and having very recently learned to find baby moorhens by sight or sound), I now find myself not knowing what I'm looking at, in terms of flowers. And I don't imagine I'll be getting a book about flowers. What I'm after is the color anyway. These, in Clare's Fellows' Garden, are a blueviolet that is beyond me.

Look at this picture, and you can see that the sun is bright here these days. At 10:45 tonight, one of the two friends with whom I'd gone to a pub said, "I should get back." The light had thrown us. It wasn't yet dark. I photographed these flowers at about 3:30 p.m. In December, the sun would have been nearly gone.