We have dear friends F and R who live in Hillegom in The Netherlands and twice when they have visited us they have arrived with a bag full of bulbs - for there is nothing better than bulbs from The Netherlands. So we have a garden full of Spring flowers just coming out and every day reminding us of our friends.
At present it is the crocus - and as I returned from my walk with Tess at lunch time I saw that a bumble bee was working from flower to flower. I rushed and got my camera, but by the time I returned with it the bee had moved on. But surely - a bumble bee out and about - a sign of Spring. And the sun is out too.
One thing about living right out in the depths of the countryside is that one has far more opportunity to chat to strangers. On that same walk I met a chap walking. He was up here on holiday and had left his car parked by the Village Hall. As he came up the lane he had missed the footpath sign and now faced going back by the busy main road. I showed him how to get to the footpath by crossing one of our fields - no footpath but nothing in the field and I knew the farmer would have given him permission. But before he went we had a lovely chat about his ancestors who had lived in our little village. These things just don't happen in towns do they? We parted with me telling him to watch out for the kingfishers, the egret and the buzzards (we think we might well have a pair which are about to nest in our plantain). He was pleased to report that he had seen oyster catchers, curlew and plovers just down the field. Oh yes, Spring is definitely on its way. And The Times says that the sand martins are back in force - so soon they will be up here making their nests in the banks of the River Ure. Then it will be but a short while before their cousins the swallows follow suit and arrive to drive us out of our garage for the summer.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour?
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower (Isaac Watts)