Forget Winter, Spring has Sprung!

Despite all the column inches given over to, ‘Will 2015 be the coldest winter on record?’, the last couple of months have been ridiculously mild; December 2015 was officially named the warmest on record.  We did have that glorious winter’s day last week, but otherwise nature herself, firmly believes that Spring is here.

The glorious colours of a very early Spring (clockwise, from top left), elder, periwinkle, bluebells, snowdrops, crocuses and buttercup, hellebores
The glorious colours of a very early Spring (clockwise, from top left), elder, periwinkle, bluebells, snowdrops, crocuses and buttercup, hellebores

 

In parts of Andover (5 minutes away, but bizarrely much warmer!), there are daffodils already nodding their glorious, sunny yellow heads and just up the road, outside the HQ Land Forces, there is an avenue of cherry trees bursting with pink blossom.  Along Cattle Lane, elders are sprouting lime green leaves and we found our first buttercup alongside a trio of crocuses.

The Littlest is keeping an eye out for any hedgehogs that might have woken up too early from their hibernation.

 

Writer’s Block or Not Enough Time?

So, 2016 has already set off at a pace. The last few months of 2015 disappeared in a flash – tennis, hockey and netball tournaments, sailing, bike rides (not enough), the arrival of three kittens (one for the Boy, one as a birthday gift for the Littlest from one of her Godmothers and one because they were a litter of three), a 17′ Christmas tree (too big by a couple of feet), carol concerts (3 schools = lots of carols!), A&E visits (fortunately not serious), a blissful week exploring Ypres post-Christmas.

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2016 has brought a visit from one of the Tribe’s older Kiwi cousins. We have also had the Littlest with a raging fever for a week (9 children off in her class on the day she returned to school) and my Gerald Durrell is now suffering from some ghastly bug. So my Tribe are definitely not having a particularly healthy new year. Happily I am feeling pretty good despite too many nights of broken sleep.

At the weekend I saw a lovely friend who I hadn’t seen for several years (you know who you are!) and she was generous enough to be extremely encouraging about this (occasional) blog. I value her comments and have felt motivated to put ‘pen to paper’ again. It is tough sometimes when you do write, you have no idea if anyone’s reading or what they think, but when you have positive feedback it is incredibly motivating. I find that I ‘write’ in my head all the time. As I’m driving back from the station after dropping the older two off; as I’m hanging out washing; as I’m in the shower; while I’m chopping onions to make the Tribe’s supper. I have reams and reams of posts that have never made it onto the blog. One day I will get more written down.

Today is a glorious day – it was -7 when I drove the Eldest and the Boy to the station this morning. But it is beautiful – still, frozen, blue skies – my favourite sort of winter’s day. There’s a pheasant underneath the birch tree feeders, finding fallen seed on the frosted ground. A wood pigeon joins it. Blue tits, long tailed tits, great tits, chaffinches and a robin flit amongst the bare twig like branches between the feeders. Three little kittens sit at the kitchen window, tails flicking, wondering when they’ll be allowed out to play. I guess that will be when I get round to booking them into the vets to get them neutered. A flock of starlings have just landed in the field.

‘Gerald Durrell’ is curled up on the sofa feeling rubbish. I”m going to make her some banana teabread. Domestic bliss. Perhaps the baking will encourage more writing.

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