The traffic on the road outside my house is at a standstill and in both directions. Something is wrong, but I don't know what.
All around me the hills are parched and brown, a dry, scorched ochre. Drought coloured. Tinder coloured. As I cross the field that leads to the towpath I can see smoke. The moors below Blackstone Edge are on fire and Halifax Road has been closed, hence the traffic. A helicopter whirrs slowly and loudly towards the source of the smoke. Crows and jackdaws fly up in small, explosive groups, lucky to be flying free of danger.
The air is humid. I can feel my hair frizz. Drought and humidity, not a comfortable combination. On the canal, all is calm, the fire hidden from view by the slope of the hill. A large flock of Canada Geese paddle slowly by. Swallows swoop low over the water. The heatwave has produced a surfeit of flies; There are so many buzzing around in my living room that I have bought some carniverous plants, a venus flytrap and a pitcher plant, but I don't think they will rid me of the flies, for the plants are very small and the flies are very large. A swallow would have been a better bet.