Torrential rain this morning – soft summer rain without a breath of wind. It had eased a bit by the time I walked the dog but I chose to go down the lane rather than round the sopping wet orchard. Nevertheless, the dog was soaked by the time we got home. The sweet cherries are ripe now and the courtyard and lawns are littered with them, mostly bruised and bird-pecked. All day long yesterday the blackbirds made their way in and out of the trees, carrying away the fruit. Most of our trees are too tall and inaccessible to harvest but I reserve the fruit of one low branch for myself and have cherries every day at this time of year. The freezer is still full from last year, though, and there are better fruit to be had for me down the lane, so the birds are welcome to most of ours. Today’s threads are grey rayon floss; green coton à broder no 16; green sewing cotton no 40; variegated red six-strand embroidery thread, sewn in one and two strands; and dark red embroidery thread, sewn single strand. The stitches are knotted chain for the heart, couching for the stems and satin stitch for the fruit.