Yesterday was the most lovely day, a brief taste of Indian summer before the next weather front. After years of poor summers and the decline of many butterly populations, it was wonderful to see dozens of red admirals feasting on flowers in the garden, the most I have seen for a long time. Like honeybees, butterflies are a sensitive indicator of weather conditions, the seasons, and the environment. Warm sunny days at this time of year are a real bonus, before the onset of the long Northumberland winter. But in the meantime we have the autumn colours to look forward to, peaking in another three to four weeks.