Despite the warmer temperatures, and less bite to the wind, I’m not sure anyone yet truly believes that Spring has secured a firm foothold – but the signs are there.
As Tramp and I slid along the muddy footpaths through the woods off the lane on our walk today, I took heart that Spring might be upon us, though, since the anemones were well and truly in command of their ground. Their white flower heads nodded confidently above the thickening bluebell leaves, while I saw primroses were but scattered indiscriminately among it all, wherever they could find a space. With such a blanket of wild flowers and foliage, the woodland floor certainly looks at its tidiest at this time of year, I thought.
In the lane itself, buds were about to burst in the hedgerows, and some had sneaked open already. Birds flitted everywhere, wearing themselves out with nest building, and all the while setting up a cacophony of song to mingle with the sound of distant lawn mowers and DIY-Jim’s electric sander. I made a mental note to put out more wild birdseed when I got home – I find this is enough to sustain the feathered visitors to my garden, rather than the extensive smorgasbord of nuts, seeds and fruits available in garden centres now, and all manner of specialised containers to hold them.
Because of the birds nesting, all woodland clearing work has been suspended, and I had heard dreadlock-James has moved on, proving that his horsebox home did have an engine in it after all. Similarly, someone announced on the facebook page that they had spotted a moorhen’s nest under construction on the village pond, so the annual pond-clearing work scheduled for last weekend was postponed. It also meant we were deprived of the sight of lead volunteer, Old Norm, striving to tackle overgrown reeds, leaf litter and fallen branches, while stirring-up abandoned pet goldfish and terrapins in his armpit-high waders.
Tramp and I walked on to the fields beyond the stream, where a smattering of ‘hobby sheep’ moved away from the fence alongside the footpath. Their lambs are growing fast; still long-legged, long-tailed, and curious, but now sure-footed as they came to greet us, ignoring the bleated warnings of their mothers.
We skirted around behind Miss Purton’s cottage, with Charles, her cat, in his usual position on the window sill. As we then walked back into the centre of the village, I finally encountered the confirmation I sought that Spring is really upon us, and from what will be the subject of many a conversation in the village pub over coming weeks and months: along the roadside not one, but a crop of three, new, ‘Property For Sale’ signs had sprouted from posts rising from the ground.