There's a smell of autumn as we enter the wood. A cool, slightly nutty, smell of earth and damp leaves. There's moisture in the air. By the time we get to the top end of the wood it is raining.
On the slopes across the canal the straw lies in Swiss roll bales ready for collection. Just two rolls that size would take all the mowings from our naturalists' society meadow reserve; a job that would take us a day or two to rake and carry off by hand.
There's a certain pleasure in walking in soft rain. Everyone we pass - cyclists, walkers and narrow boaters - seems cheerful as they get wet and grumble about it. The canal surface is stirred like a sheet of hammered, pitted copper, but under the bridge there's a section that is calm, polished like a bronze mirror.