The children gathered quietly this morning. The sky was still overcast and the leaves lay on the ground at the height of summer. The vineyard that had been lush and green and had brushed against their arms as they ran through it now stood desolate and bare.
There was a hail storm yesterday that shredded the leaves on the vines and bruised the grapes that were forming. It knocked flowers, fruits and leaves off the trees and bushes and left the landscape looking bleak.
We trail down towards the chicken coop but there is an eerie silence, not the familiar squawking of the birds, laying their eggs. We realise what has happened and tell the children that they cannot visit the chickens today as they were hurt during the storm. To the ones that probe for further explanation we tell them gently and simply that the chickens have died.
Most of the morning is taken up shoveling hail stones to clear the path.
At the picnic spot a branch has broken off a fruit tree and makes for a good climbing frame.
Then we head up to the hut to assess the damage there.
The ponds had filled with hail and mud and the fish suffered as a result. A large Koi has been washed out and a couple of boys come across it. They’re afraid to touch it and don’t want us to either. We ask them what they think has happened to the fish. Whether they think it can breathe out of water. They are desperate to get it back into the water and we try to revive it. They quickly lose interest and wander off, defeated.