Dunnock - Singing - It Must Be Spring
Dunnock – Singing – It Must Be Spring

Isn’t Spring a strange word. It must be one of those words that have their roots far back, at the beginnings of speech. You know, just when we had begun to tolerate our teenagers going round saying “Ugh” to each other (and all the thirty and forty something-s had started saying it too – just to prove that they were not really getting old) someone, somewhere comes out with “Spring”. Now, IMHO, all of us who thought we knew where we were up to, are back to having no idea what’s going on, LOL.

Spring, the kind you find sandwiched between winter and summer, not the kind that bounces around, or the kind that is coiled up and used for beds, or even the place where the water gushes out of the ground, has had one try at getting started so far. We had Im Bolg around February 4th. You know, writing was developed as a way of recording the sounds we make – as words, if I tell you that Im Bolg is actually pronounced im molk and it refers to the approximate date that ewe’s come into milk, can you remember how long it is since you had a bolg shake?

Here we are at March 1st and Spring is going to have another go at starting. If all else fails there is still the vernal equinox on March 20th (in most places – might sneak over into 21st in some places) but that really is the last chance.

Some can’t wait while Spring phaffs about, though. This Dunnock, singing his heart out on the hedge as we walked past today, has obviously become impatient with dates and times and has decided to just get on with it.

Ahead of Schedule

Daffodil In A Hurry
Daffodil In A Hurry

This has been a pretty sedentary week. He has just been lying on the sofa (in my place, I might add) barking his head off. If I barked like that there would be uncomplimentary comments all round I can tell you (postman excepted, of course). We’ve been trying to get him to go to the Dogtor but to no avail – until yesterday. It doesn’t seem to have helped much, except that he is now much more smug about his coughing.

He spends his lucid moments complaining about how frustrating it is to be stuck there on his back while the rest of the world is getting on with it – and checking that the trains that run along the embankment keep to the timetable. The strange weather seems to have settled down, although I probably ought to say that very quietly, we don’t want to start it off again, now. The ferocious winds of last weekend and the early part of the week, and the driving rain and hail they brought with them, seem to have dwindled. At least the wind has dwindled to a more normal icy blast and the rain and hail now fall vertically instead of horizontally. With a little patch of blue sky and a smidgen of sunlight it seems quite spring-like. Until you go outside, that is.

He wanted you to see this picture of the daffodils along the road. It’s only the first few days of January and they are up and running. He hopes they know what they are doing and it doesn’t turn out that they are “too ‘asty” – see below for translation

Oak Hay?

Oak - Leaves But No Flowers
Oak – Leaves But No Flowers

Well, it seems we have definitely had our summer. It lasted nearly two weeks, so I suppose we can’t complain.

The wind is being a little over enthusiastic today and the trees, in the wood that rises up the hill behind the house, are jumping up and down and waving their arms around like a bunch of five year olds on a bouncy castle. They do enjoy a good breeze and the noise of their laughing and shouting quite overrides the chortling of the beck that normally greets you, as you step out into the back garden.

A week or so ago, I popped in to see Sharon at aleafinspringtime in Finland, and I noticed that she had a picture of an Oak tree in flower, while there was only the merest suggestion of leaves on the Oak trees in our wood. Well, now our Oaks have woken up and are properly dressed, there is no sign at all that they intend to flower this year.

I could have missed it, I suppose, with winter hanging on until the last possible minute. When Spring arrived she really didn’t have time to do everything that needed to be done. There was such a rush to get on to summer and a great many things were swept under the carpet of last years leaves.

I’ll keep an eye out – but I don’t think we’ll see Oak flowers this year.

A Song in the Rain

Song Thrush Singing In The Rain
Song Thrush Singing In The Rain


Today’s picture is a Song Thrush. He was singing out of the middle of a very large pine tree and I just couldn’t find him.

Jackie was busy, so The Dog and I set off on our own. We went round to the level crossing to see if there were any trains, but there weren’t. We decided to go on up to the top of the hill and say “Hi!” to the alpacas. Going up the hill past all the rabbit holes in the bank, gives The Dog a chance to pretend that she’s the real thing. We reached the top and found that the alpacas were otherwise engaged and not in their field, perhaps we should have phoned. We felt that we might as well go on round the block, so we did. On the way to the corner where we turn back down past the pig farm it started to drizzle. As we approached the corner, we could hear birdsong, at the corner it was obvious that whoever was making all that racket, was in the big pine tree.

We pointed the camera in the general direction and made a short movie. The lens was immediately covered in raindrops. Finally, we found the source of the singing and after drying the camera off, we took a few pictures.

The video was a blurred but interesting collection raindrops arriving at random intervals. The wind noise all but obliterated the birdsong – but after striping the sound off the movie and filtering everything below a thousand cycles out – we have the little sound clip attached below.

Triple X


Lament (Part XXX)

For thirty days we’ve stuck to verse,
(we were lucky enough to start on the first).
The weather’s been bad – it’s been hard to find
a subject for a photograph of any kind.
Today, the last day, it seemed like Spring.
The wind was quiet, you could hear the birds sing.
The skies were blue, the sun shone all the time.
It was enough to make you break out in rhyme!

Flutter by butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell

It must be spring – here’s a butterfly!

This is a Small Tortoiseshell and it’s up so early because it has probably been hibernating over winter – something I’ve often thought about myself.

It’s still sunny most of the day but we have a return of that very cold wind. It’s not strong enough to make walking difficult and, once you get going, it is actually quite pleasant as it keeps you cool. When the sun goes behind a cloud, it’s time to zip your jacket up though. The Dog doesn’t mind the wind as long as our direction of travel is against it. When we turn round and walk downwind, which I prefer, the wind ruffles her coat and rubs her up the wrong way – she needs to keep her shirt tucked in.