Friday, 30 January 2009

The favourite topic of the English?


Wednesday: Today is a glorious day - an April in January day as Ronald Blythe would say. There is no wind, the air is still and the sun is shining. The sky is a clear, wintry blue. Walking down the lane on our mid-day walk we see that tiny nettle spears are up on the verges - their sharp, bright green standing out amongst the dead foliage of last year. On the hedge top two dunnocks - a male and a female - flirt and dart; as I pass they slip down silently into the hedge and out of sight. Two cock blackbirds are arguing verbosely, neither giving away an inch of territory. Two hens, further down the field, scratch and dig for leather jackets. It is such a lovely day that we walk as far as Forty-Acre wood and stand in the gateway looking down the ride. Tess finds exciting smells to occupy her and I stand and watch and listen. Long tailed tits are working through a hedge somewhere nearby; several cock pheasant strut across the ride and disappear into the trees. Overhead I notice the buzzard - still here I am pleased to say as I haven't seen him for a while On our return, the ploughed field steams in the sun and three brown hares romp up and down the furrows with March in January in their heads. There is a smell of Spring in the air and it lifts our spirits. On our return I see that the winter aconites have begun to push up through the pine needles - their tiny yellow bobble heads slightly opening to the sun, and under the pine trees every snowdrop is showing white.
Thursday: A thick, damp chilly fog covers everything. There is a sharp, wet wind blowing but it doesn't shift the fog at all. The trees just one field away pretend they are in Impressionist Paintings and emerge from the shadows. There is no bird at the table, nothing moves as we go on our mid-day walk. As we pass under a tree, cold wet drips rain down on us, although it isn't raining. The farmer, muck-leading down the lane with his tractor and muck-spreader, sees two white stripes jogging up and down across the field and realises that they are the rear ends of two deer through the fog. At four o'clock I put a match to the log fire and glance out of the window. The fog has gone and there is a gentle sunset.
. Friday: Heavy snow is forecast as our weather system changes. What has been a westerly flow has sent mild air in from the Atlantic. Now all is set to change as the mass of cold air over Europe heads our way, helped along by a raw East wind. It is set to be exceedingly cold and to last throughout the month. A quick foray to the bird table ten minutes ago tells me that at present the wind is still in the South although it is a raw wind; but it is set to veer round to the East during the day. And as we say in Yorkshire, "When the wind is in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast." Light the fire, stack up the wood pile, cook some warming soup and a cottage pie for lunch. You never know where you are with our weather. Keep warm, wherever you are.

48 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

I enjoyed that. It was like going for a walk with you.
Here it's a quiet somewhat still grey day. Yesterda's snow on the ground brightens the light a little so it's not a heavy grey.
The sun could get out in the afternoon for an hour - that's the hope. Just had some poached white fish and a few boiled spuds. Now going to library.

Jo said...

I used to love it when I saw the first aconites in the UK. But I always wondered why all the early Spring flowers seem to be yellow and white. Luckily we had a japonica in the garden which gave us an extra splash of colour.
Are the snowdrops through yet?

Heather said...

What a lovely bracing walk. It's good to know that we all get a brief respite from winter gloom now and then. 'If winter comes, can Spring be far behind'?. Your aconites are so lovely - I planted some a couple of years back, but haven't seen them since! I shall have to try again. All the early small bulbs I planted last autumn seem to be doing their stuff and I have two tiny irises and some anemone blanda just showing colour.

acornmoon said...

I haven't visited for a while so I have a lot of catching up to do!

The sight of winter aconite cheers me up no end.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Yes I enjoyed that birdwatching walk with you! Lovely

Derrick said...

We are obviously sharing your weather Weaver! The thought of even more, colder weather on the way is depressing. Good job the winter flowers can add a dash of colour!

Elizabeth said...

But somehow it is endlessly fascinating.
The air is so very different here - as is the light.
Here it is clear, bright and harsh -with you often mist filled and altogether gentler.
But English damp is special indeed.....

BT said...

What a lovely post weaver. I was with you on your walks, even through the fog. The aconites look so fresh popping up their heads. We have a couple of snowdrops popping their heads up. Most of them are sadly now under the builders' rubble and rubbish. They may survive yet. 2 tiny yellow iris are showing their heads too. It's wet and drizzly today though.

Reader Wil said...

Good advice stay warm! It's warm today for a change and so it was yesterday.
I am sorry to read about your dear friend going away for good probably. How terrible to lose a friend to that horrible disease.
I wish a lot of strength to face this good bye. Take care!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved your post. It was like Country Diary in the Guardian. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Loren said...

Lovely.

Sounds remarkably similar to our week in the Pacific Northwest, which began with a brilliant blue day and is ending in flog-shrouded Friday.

Leenie said...

Had to look up aconite in Wikipdeia. What welcome flowers! Right now, where I live, a dandelion would be a miracle. We don't get spring here...just snow, mud time (see Two Tramps in Mud Time--Robert Frost)then July. Enjoyed the post!

Dreadnought said...

Ah! Warming soup and cottage pie, is there any left for me? There is no sign of any snow here just yet. Have a good weekend. Bob.

Mistlethrush said...

What a changeable week. That's one of the beauties of living in Britain - there's plenty of variety!

Enjoyed that walk - felt like I was with you.

Woman in a Window said...

What I wouldn't give for a patch of brown! Oh, 2 or 3 months to go!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

That was lovely, Weaver! I feel as if I have been walking around your countryside with you.

I love winter aconites. Here our snowdrops are coming up in the lawn - I've been watching the little shoots emerging over the last couple of weeks.

Like you, we had fog over the last couple of days, which was very mysterious and rather pleasant. I love your description of the trees, and the image of the two deer jogging across the field.

Cathy said...

I'd love to see weather warm enough for anything to sprout. All we've had for a week is ice and snow. I'm ready for daffodils!
Your writing is beautiful.

Janice Thomson said...

Snowdrops and aconites - what a lovely image Weaver and a treat to take a walk with you.
Today at last the frost leaves the ground...perhaps spring is on its way here.

thousandflower said...

Your early flowers are ahead of mine. I haven't seen an aconite yet although I've been looking every day.

Dave King said...

This is fine writing about a subject that is eternally new.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

It was quite pleasant walking with you thrugh the countryside, Weaver. Now and I am enjoying the cozy warmth of your wood fire. Your writing is so descriptive I feel I am there with you. We have no snow here but it is unseasonably cold. We had a foggy day last week as the warm air blanketed over the cold ground. I enjoy fog when I'm safe indoors. It makes me feel cacooned against the world and quite cozy. The quiet beauty is ethereal - like a fairy tale world. I would like very much to sit and chat with you while sipping a toasty cup of tea and honey.

greg rappleye said...

I am so jealous!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Poet - I believe your grey cold weather is heading our way for Monday - hope you get sun behind it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love that japonica Jo - the one I had had deep pink flowers almost like apple blossom. I do agree that one gets a bit bored with all that yellow - but it does lift the heart after winter.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have to say Heather that our aconites get a little less each year - I so love them but I understand so do the mice.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have to say Heather that our aconites get a little less each year - I so love them but I understand so do the mice.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes acornmoon - every tiny spring flower lifts the spirits a little, doesn't it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

c.g.p - today, as the weather gets colder, our bird table has literally dozens of birds - nine long tailed tits on the fat balls this morning.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Derrick - I think every winter flowers is worth its weight in gold.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I cannot personally thing of a single nice thing to say about English damp, Elizabeth - it gets to the bones somehow.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I understand BT that snowdrops quite like rubble, so perhaps they will multiply down there.
I keep meaning to say to you that we have similar "deaf" experiences at unloading the dishwasher - my husband complains about the noise, too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you reader wil for the kind thoughts. My friend has gone today to her nursing home - she is in my thoughts.

Teresa said...

Reading your inviting account reminded me of "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden. Thank you for sharing your countryside!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Cuban - glad you enjoyed it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have once experienced that Pacific fog Loren - it is something quite different from our awful stuff we get here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Leenie, we had weather like that last year - no spring at all. As we have had a cold winter I have great hopes of a proper spring with all its birdsong, sweet smelling blossom and warm days. Robert Browning's Home thoughts from Abroad says it all about a perfect English spring.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bob - you may well miss the worst of the weather there in Derbyshire. I think the east is going to catch it. I have a niece who lives in Breaston and often their weather is good when ours is foul. Hope your tender plants are safe.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Carol - wish you could join me on a walk - we are not that far apart.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Woman in a window - are you really expecting you snow to stay for another two months? I don't think I could bear that - good job I wasn't born an Inuit.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Raph - glad you enjoyed it. I suppose you can often see above the fog - here it lies close to the ground.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comment Cathy.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Janice, we have to keep telling ourselves that spring is on its way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thousand flower - I find aconites pop up overnight, so keep looking.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Dave - yes eternally new each year - even thinking about it does my soul good.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree with you about fog Debra - the trouble is that sometimes one has to go out in it - and even worse - drive in it,

The Weaver of Grass said...

Greg - cheer up - spring will come to us all eventually!

Pat Posner said...

I love all your posts, Weaver, but I think this one is my favourite.

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