The swallows went on Monday. About nine-thirty in the morning there was a terrific racket going on in the garden and I thought they must be terrorising the cat again. All summer gangs of them have been dive-bombing her from every direction so she could only get to the bottom of the garden by working her way underneath the rose bushes and the shrubs. The reason, I discovered, was a nest built in the wood store at the end of the barn. My poor little cat has never caught a bird in her life but clearly the swallows were keen to stop her even thinking about it.
When I heard the noise they were making on Monday I rushed outside and there were masses of them. They soon began to line up on the electricity wires and gradually the noise subsided. It went very quiet: the birds were looking this way and that, as if they were waiting for a signal. There was a strange tension in the air for a minute and then suddenly they were off, swirling up into the sky in a huge mass and circling the house in farewell before turning west and disappearing over the hills. I'm glad I was there to see them go.
It's the end of summer when the swallows leave. Time to start preparing for winter which is depressing for some people but when you think about it, autumn comes first and this can be the best season of all.