Outside, the wind is howling, the sleet is horizontal and we are now staying in by the wood burner for the night. Yes, at last, on the first day of February, winter has arrived. And yet all day here the sun has been shining and there is quite a bit of warmth already in the sun.
We have not had snow here but it is on all the hills round us and there is a biting wind. The forecasters tell us that the temperatures will go up again tomorrow.
Because the winter has been so wet and mild, so many plants are further on than they should be. The hazel and alder catkins are coming out - on Thursday the farmer found some which were long and heavy with pollen. This means there will be no hazel nuts this year as there will be no bees out to pollinate the catkins when they need it.
Our friend and neighbour has lambs, so the lambing season has started. I shall ring him in the morning to see if I can go round and photograph them - if so they will be on my blog shortly. Very few farmers round here start this early because of the risk of bad weather - the advantage of course is that the lamb is ready for market early and fetches a better price. A short life but a merry one as they say - no room for sentimentality in farming I fear.