April has been one of my favourite months in a long while. Maybe because this month the weather has been glorious, the flowers have blossomed and the greenery has taken on a fresh new-life green hue that I’ve missed. It is the month that I’ve revelled in sunshine on my skin and the return of a whole swathe of wildlife to our shores. Unfortunately, the month has also gone quicker than I think I can remember any month going ever, even when I was working 40-hour weeks or revising for exams! I would like to press pause and just savour these last moments of April before May’s arrival, when it undoubtedly takes on a more summery hue.
Thursday 30 April 2015
Friday 17 April 2015
I mentioned the other day that Spring! had sprung in a most spectacular fashion and I was definitely not wrong! We might not have had the temperatures that the south have been enjoying, but we have been revelling in the strengthening sun and the blue skies that we have been gifted of late and it has been glorious.
Seeing the hedgerows green up and change from silvery-brown and dark green to bright green again never fails to fill my heart with gratitude for the return of the sun. Hearing the birds busily rushing to and fro, always with a song, is such a welcome thing and makes a change from the lone robin song of winter.
There is something magical about walking alone amongst the anemonies. I have such happy memories of visiting Southrey woods in Lincolnshire and snapping some wonderful pictures of them. I love how they carpet a whole woodland floor in such profusion so as to cover completely all of last year’s leaflitter and debris.
Perhaps my favourite view of all? A literal tunnel of blackthorn blossom, banked high on either side. Pretty amazing, eh? I snapped an identical photo whilst waiting for Mr VP to have his interview at around this time last year and I must say, it brought back all of those memories of hope and excitement (and nerves!). Who knew where we’d be this time last year?
I found a secret short-cut and followed my adventurer’s spirit, which found me in amongst a dappled bank of trees overlooking the river below. I was surprised that I didn’t come across more people on my walk as the weather was so lovely, but in other ways I’m glad that I had it all to myself for a couple of hours.
I saw my first bee-mimicking fly (Bombylius major) of the year! Can you spot him?
Wednesday 15 April 2015
Have you felt that first, heady rush of spring yet? I keep getting odd whiffs of it in the air and I’m instantly excited by the lengthening days and the warmth that the sun now possesses, not to mention the sight of blossom and imminent-blooms just waiting to unfurl. It reminds me of this time last year, when we were in the midst of packing up our tiny Cambridge life and waiting ourselves to unfurl into the wide open spaces of Northumberland.
I certainly have enjoyed getting to explore and re-learn this new landscape of ours. I can’t believe it has been a year and we’re still exploring. I could spend the rest of my days here and still never see all that it has to offer.
We are finding new places all the time, however, and loved finding this little walk that bordered a farm that allowed us to idly pause to admire the donkeys and the pigs.
I started seeing butterflies on the Easter weekend and have since seen quite a few more, but none were so happy to stop and sunbathe in a photogenic manner as this tortoiseshell and this comma! Mind you, a hedgerow of hawthorn and blackthorn blossom is probably one of the nicest places to stop and pause.
Monday 6 April 2015
I hope that you all had a lovely Easter! We had a quiet one, but have loved the four-day weekend that it entails. On Easter Sunday itself, despite the weather predictions being dire, we awoke to the most lovely cloudless, sunny spring day. We opted to go for an early walk as we were awake pretty early anyway and we were almost entirely alone for our walk. We saw ducks on the lake, exotic varieties and mallards, as well as cormorants and a duck I’ve yet to identify which had a long ‘mane’ of feathers on its head. We saw pussy willow catkins blossoming, coltsfoot opening their pretty faces to the sun and we revelled in the blackthorn and hawthorn blossoms. The sun was really, really warm and by the time we got back to the car it was 14ºC!
We came home and I got to work making a Sunday lunch for ourselves and Mum – I made a roast chicken with all the trimmings, and a large lemon meringue pie for dessert. All of it was absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself (even though I had real issues with the pastry this time, despite blind baking?! I suspect it was an oven temperature thing).
By the time we’d rested from our large lunch, the temperature was 19ºC (!) and still glorious, so we hopped into the car and went to the beach for a walk to make the most of the day (and to walk off some of the calories!). It was fairly busy on the beach but the cool air and the soft sand was just what we needed. Once we had got back, I took my camera into the garden and enjoyed capturing the huge mass of blossoms on our ornamental cherry tree (Prunus incisa. ‘Kojo No-Mai’). I went through the VP archives and noticed that we planted that tree 9 years ago in August and it has gone from about 30cm in height to now being about 1.7 metres tall! I didn’t realise it would grow to be such a lovely tree-like shrub. It is absolutely beautiful and has rekindled my desire to get back into the garden and get it into shape after four years of relative neglect.
Tuesday 17 March 2015
Monday 16 March 2015
Friday 6 March 2015
It has been a funny old week. I fell down (our very steep Edwardian) stairs on Monday morning and ended up in hospital because of a cracked coccyx. I can tell you that it is the one place where you don’t really want to show the doctor what you’ve hurt! I had a week of appointments and things I had to get done and before I knew what had happened, it was Thursday and I was stressing myself out about things I still had to do, so instead of bottling it all up, I seized my opportunity and went for a long old walk by myself. As ever, it was the salve I needed to get me out of a fug and as it was so windy, it quite literally blew the cobwebs away too. I cannot wait for the temperatures to rise a bit more, so that I can spend more of my days outside. I have missed it a lot.
On the walk, with the blue skies and puffy white clouds, the mild weather after so many days of cold reminded me that spring is well and truly on its way. Any day that stays above 10ºC is a bonus at the beginning of March in Northumberland. Buds were bursting on the wild honeysuckle and on the tips of tree branches; it was all looking suddenly very brown but yet very hopeful at the same time. Ramsons were bursting out of the soil and I know that in a month or so’s time, this whole woods will reek of wild garlic. How exciting! Yep, my friends, Spring is definitely here.