Crocus in Focus

Group of Crocuses
Group of Crocuses

Here in the UK, the one thing we excel at is having the wrong kind of almost everything. When we lay railway tracks we make sure that the trees growing alongside the lines have the wrong kind of leaves. We have become quite expert at ensuring that when the leaves fall on the track they bring the entire rail network to a standstill.
The other, related, issue is snow. While in other places on the planet they merely bring out whatever equipment they usually use to deal with the snow on the train tracks, we smugly sit back and pour ourselves another cup of tea, secure in the knowledge that it wouldn’t work here – we have the wrong kind of snow.
So then, when the annual springtime appearance of a carpet of crocuses (croci for the purists among us) turns our thoughts to saffron, it will no doubt be reassuring for you to know, there’s no need to panic, we have the wrong kind of crocus.

Rest Assured

Buzzard - just sitting
Buzzard – just sitting

This is one of our resident Buzzards. In today’s photo we find him doing what buzzards do best, sitting and thinking.

He has a great deal to think about. Ahead of him stretches a whole new year, but first he must deal with Spring, Spring is an exhausting time for buzzards. It doesn’t start so badly. At first, as the animals that have spent the colder months hibernating start to waken, the old and the unwell, unable to face another year of the struggle to survive, crawl unsteadily from their places of security. They stand around, bemused, on open ground and in the middle of roads, waiting for some kindly passing predator to put an end to their suffering. Buzzards take their duty seriously.

As Spring edges towards and on into Summer though, the tsunami of young inexperienced animals that sweep down on every road, intent on throwing themselves under the first available vehicle, raises road-kill to epic proportions.

Unable to deal with the availability of so much food, our buzzard will fall back on instinct. He finds himself a nice dead branch, adopts a nonchalant pose, and sits and thinks.

Oh A Puddle

Blackbird playing in a puddle
Blackbird playing in a puddle

I love to paddle in a puddle
Do you?
I’ll bet you do.

I love to paddle in a puddle
Yes please!
Up to my knees.

Jackie and I have been laid low with seriously-sick-and-ill-itus this week, with the result that a good few days have just vanished into a big, vague, grey box. We haven’t been out and about to take many pictures – but when I looked through those we had, I found this picture of one of our blackbirds. He was just playing in the puddle and ignored us completely. He was thoroughly enjoying himself.

Just what we needed to cheer us up.


The first Daffodil
The First Daffodil

On 21st February 2014 I had a picture of this flower – it was the first flower of the spring. He is a real pioneer, boldly going where angels fear to tread. Whenever he appears we know that spring is only three or four weeks away and we can expect the snowdrops and crocuses to ‘spring’ up during that time.

This year, here we are 3rd February, and he has already committed himself to the future, with a sprinkle of snowdrops that bode well for the coming weeks – and a few early crocuses, too.

It has been quite mild this winter. Looking back over the previous year, Summer came early, Autumn seemed to be in frantic rush to get the whole business over. Then Winter came along all cool and collected, didn’t see the point really, sat down, put his feet up and hunted around for the TV remote. He’s sat there since November, he’s been here if you wanted him – but he wasn’t bothered if you didn’t.

True we’ve had several days with good hard frosts, but I suspect that those were a mistake. They sort of happened when he sat up too quickly and spilt his coffee.

I just don’t know what Spring will say when she gets here.