From the vaults: The end of winter (punctuation pending) – (29/02/12)

Undecided whether to go for the emphatic ‘End of winter (exclamation mark!)’ or opt for the flexibility of the weasel option and use a question mark instead. How long would be considered reasonable to agonise over “!”or “?” ?.

“It’s as if the world is waking up” exclaimed the redoubtable Mrs B, not for the first time revealing the poetic soul nestling beneath her firebrand exterior. And she was right, that’s exactly how it did feel.

I like to divide the year up into four precise quarters of three calendar months each. There’s no rationale to this other than it giving me a simple system I can cope with (and something to hold onto when the days are at their shortest). March, April and May are the spring months; June, July and August those of summer; September to November defines the limits of autumn, leaving December, January and February as winter. That being so, the 1st of March heralds the arrival of spring, if only in my head, and today is the day when winter bids us goodbye (having already had an extra 24 hours, this being a leap year).

Digressing here, and it’s probably too late to change the system now anyway, but delaying spring by a full day every four years seems to me a perverse thing to do; other than it providing an extra day of winter training in an olympic year.

p1060472The birds seemed in no mood to wait any longer: long-tailed tits, always moving, so difficult to photograph; woodpeckers, of which we heard many and saw only a couple; a single, unmistakable yellowhammer, and a woodland flock of a variety as yet unidentified: possibly hawfinch, but they don’t look quite right in the book. As with the long-tailers they were unwilling to pose for a picture and a fuzzy image, shot at a distance, is inconclusive. ‘Inconclusive’, what a splendidly versatile word that is: politicians, lawyers, inept photographers – we’ve all resorted to ‘inconclusive’.

Anyway, unless Hogwarts can come up with a new spell – Sharpus Resolutionum, or something like that – the contents of the photograph will remain…well, unresolved.

The little cluster of mixed bulbs in the lee of a drystone wall presented less of a problem, insofar as they were prepared to keep still and allow me to get close.



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