A beautiful peach-coloured misty dawn for our walk down the lane this morning (I was up at 5.00, having been bitten by a mosquito). Our new cat Pushkin was a grey silhouette in the mist and a soft golden light spilled over our neighbour’s orchard, where the unmown annual grasses lay like pink and orange clouds. As I passed one apple tree, a tawny owl flew silently away – if I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have heard it. We once rescued one of these from our chimney flue one summer. His eyes were full of soot and we gently lavaged them, for which he kept quite still, then we took him outside and threw him into the air and off he flew, scattering crystals of soot in his wake. Today’s threads are six-strand embroidery cottons in shades of peach, brown, black and grey. The stitches are knotted Portuguese stem stitch for the heart, back stitch, straight stitch and buttonhole stitch for the bird and French knots for its eyes. And that’s the first row of July completed.