Floppy early leaves and budding flowers of the horse chestnut. A nasty bug is eating away at the trees in this part of the world. By midsummer the leaves become mottled and curl up brown at the edges. Some of the trees have been cut down. So far this one survives. But the leafless outer branches are worrying.
To stop our larder flooding an automatic pump has been installed. After heavy rain last night and this morning, the water level in the sump sprang it into action, for the first time. The pump makes a noise like an angry telephone. It could be irritating but is music when you consider the alternative chore of squeezing absorbent mats into a bucket on hands and knees. The water is sucked up through a narrow tube and disappears into the filaments of a cable no wider than an electric cable which leads to an outside drain.
As ever at this time of year I stop to admire a mighty dandelion plant. It always grows in the same place - a stony area in front of a terrace house. Its leaves and flowers are twice the size of most dandelions. It could almost have been cultivated for a competition. Few people like dandelions regarding them as weeds but they have their uses as well as their fine if brash looks. Blanched the leaves make good salad. But beware their alternative use as a diuretic. The French name gives the game away. Piss en lit. I have always assumed that the derivation of our name for the plant which refers to the shape of the leaves is the French (again) dent de lion, lion's tooth.