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Monday, 1 April 2013

Just because it’s Summer Time, that doesn’t mean….

This morning, at 0200h, the clocks leapt forward an hour. The dismal grey world of Greenwich Mean Time (that is, winter) now recedes in our rear-view mirrors and our gaze lights on the sunlit uplands of British Summer Time.

Ha. Here’s the scene we encountered as we set off on our recreational walk yesterday afternoon, just a few miles from here and perhaps 2-300 feet higher up.


With the temperature hovering around 34-36 F (1-2 C), we contrived to feel pleased. It seemed a relatively decent day. For one thing, there was rather better light than we’d had over much of the past two or three weeks: yes, we even glimpsed the sun once or twice, and for a moment I feared that we might indulge in an excess of glee. For another, we found that the east wind, which had been whipping in from Siberia as a robust Force 6 (strong breeze, 25-30 mph, according to the Beaufort Scale), had subsided to Force 3 (gentle breeze, 10-12 mph). We find our pleasures where we can – and in the north-east of England, in April, that can be a snow-covered fell with the temperature just above freezing.

 

Actually, there are a few signs of spring, although nowhere near as obvious as they should be. This time last year, for instance, the hawthorns were in leaf and the blackthorns were covered in white blossom. This year, nothing. However, down in the woods, below the fell, we spotted the first elder leaves tentatively emerging, along with one or two sprigs of honeysuckle.

 
And this afternoon, barely a couple of hours ago, I spotted a coltsfoot flowering in a ditch not far from the house.


 
There was also just the faintest hint of green along this bridle path that overlooks the house.

 


But after last year, I am very wary indeed about starting work in the garden. Our weather has been so erratic the last decade or two. I think we'll wait until this sort of scene has melted away.