BUMPING along the lane past dried up fields of corn, the soil cracked with deep fissures, it does not seem possible that only two days ago we had torrential downpours.

Today not a puddle to be seen. The grass has more of a bronze hue than bleached out beige and the air certainly seems fresher, but otherwise not an inkling that for a brief moment in time the drought had been broken. Suddenly, the internet chat room where John’s fishing syndicate make arrangements for sharing access to the river came alive. Not a whisper for weeks then suddenly an onslaught of requests to fish on favoured beats.

Not that John has much time at the moment for fishing. His pheasants have arrived and he seems to be totally occupied with making sure they have enough water and feed and, most importantly, that they return to the safety of their protected roosts each night.

Each wood the pheasants have been released into is surrounded by an electric fence. They can either fly over this to safety, or access their secured roosts by a graduated pop hole, too narrow for a fox, just wide enough for a young pheasant.

The first night a number of rather confident young birds wandered away from the security of the wood. When John attempted to walk them back to their wood, unused to being out in the open, they scattered. And so rather than scare them further away from the safety of the roost, he left them to hopefully hear their friends in the wood and make their own way back to safety. Unfortunately not all did and were discovered by Mr Fox. Luckily there does not seem to have been any more fatalities as the birds quickly learnt the geography of their surroundings.

It has been a long hot summer and the paucity of grazing has meant a reprieve for our lambs as they have not yet achieved a heavy enough weight to send to market. The pond in our house paddock has almost completely dried up and so to give my ducks and geese some water to revel in, I have been filling an old turtle paddling pool from a hosepipe.

Unfortunately yesterday I became absorbed in another task, mucking out the hen hut, and left the water running for over an hour instead of the usual couple of minutes.

For the whole afternoon they splashed, and wallowed, and dabbled in the muddy pond that surrounded the pool. But this morning it has gone. Once more an arid landscape around the turtle. And no doubt an increase in the water bill.