Phew! The North wind doth blow - straight down off the moor and straight up our pasture. Not fit to send a dog out they say - but that holds no meaning for Tess, so off we go after lunch. She has three walks a day - morning and evening with the farmer and the farm dog - mainly rabbitting walks - and lunchtime a rather tame walk with me, sometimes down the lane on the lead and today across the fields.
Above a pair of buzzard soar and swoop on the wind - masters of the aerial manouvre they don't seem to notice the awfulness of the weather - truly wild birds that they are. We keep close in to the high hawthorn hedge, where there is a modicum of shelter. Every twenty yards or so one or a pair of blackbirds dart out as we approach; they have already laid claim to their patch of hedge and give no quarter to other blackbirds that might be prospecting for a nest-site.
This is typical March weather here. She came in like a lamb but March is set to go out like a lion. As children we used to recite a rhyme which began "January brings the snow, makes your feet and fingers glow" but I can't remember any more. Can anybody else remember it? We also used to have an old weather-lore verse along the lines of January/snow; February/fill-dyke; March/winds; April/showers; May/flowers. Does anyone remember the rest of that one?
In fact February, for the last few years, has been the driest month of the year. Here on the farm we measure rainfall and at the end of each year make a graph - and it is almost always February which is the lowest in rain.
This time of the year there are always plenty of rooks about - the sheep are still being fed and it makes easy pickings for the rooks, so every field has a few. I was watching them take to the air - when they fly into the wind they tack like sailing boats - I wonder if early boatmen learned to tack in a head wind from watching the birds?
It was a pleasure to get back home again and we took a short cut through our walled front garden. There are a lot of flowers out now - I have put some of them on today - Primula denticulata is particularly good this year; lenten roses always make a splendid show and seed easily so that they pop up all over the place; daffodils never fail to advertise that Spring is here; and, finally, good old Primula Wanda (I wonder who Wanda was - the flower must have been named after somebody) - she is always up and out before we put the clocks on.
Tonight is the night - clocks go forward one hour so it will be a bit darker in the morning and that should enable us to sleep a bit longer - we have white curtains in our bedroom and the sun has started to wake us very early.
It is the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race tomorrow afternoon. That's another harbinger of Spring. Let's hope that the wind has eased a little by then otherwise there will be a risk of capsize again.
I think even Tess was pleased to get indoors again after being nearly blown away, She flopped down on the rug and allowed me to take her photograph!