The swallows are gone. So are the housemartins. I didn't notice exactly when it happened, but I was standing at the end of the garden yesterday, looking over the field behind the house, when it occurred to me I hadn't seen any for a while.
They'll be back next summer. In the meantime I shall look out for the winter visitors, the ducks, geese, swans and redwings, and huge noisy flocks of starlings. But it is a significant moment. The swallows are gone. Summer is gone, as much as we had a summer this year. Winter is on its way. I wonder what it will bring.