A grey day, though the sun is breaking through now. I walked the dog up the lane today to investigate the strange mounds of earth our neighbour has mysteriously dumped in his field (clearly he’s written off the hay crop, as many farmers have done this year). As I crossed through the orchard, two jays flew chattering over my head. The prettiest crow we have in this part of Europe, with their flashy blue wings, they also have the ugliest cry, sounding for all the world like a woman being murdered. They are meant to be a shy bird but we see them all the time, perhaps due to our cherries, of which they are inordinately fond. Today’s threads are six-strand cottons in pale grey, variegated brown, black, cream and variegated blue; vintage darning thread in shades of brown and buff; and sewing cottons no 40 in cream and buffs. The stitches are reverse heavy knotted chain for the outline, long-and-short for the feathers, straight stitch for the legs and post, and a French knot surrounded by a detached chain stitch for the eye.