Spring is gathering momentum; but John describes how some elements of nature are racing towards summer during May, while others lag behind.
Maybe it’s all those years of shift-work, but I’m up with the lark most mornings. As I head out for an early walk, finches and tits already accompany me – and the emerging dawn – with their vibrant chatter.
That pungent scent of freshly cut grass is unmistakable and ever-present too. By the time I return home it almost seems like the lawn already needs mowing again! Such is the momentum of growth provided by warm nights and long days.
… the gentle tap of ‘leather on willow’ provides final confirmation of summer’s imminent arrival.
Hot days too, sometimes. On a few occasions temperatures can soar into the low 30s under high pressure and clear skies. And with the sun now approaching its strongest point in the year, pale British skins perform their own annual emergence from hibernation – sometimes with pink and painful results.
A dip in the sea to cool off, perhaps? Water lags behind land in the annual heat-up. Indeed the seas around us give a chill reminder that it is only springtime. Many a daytrip has ended in disappointment at this time of year, when an onshore breeze, having picked up maritime moisture on its passage, shrouds the coast in a grey gloom. Back home it’s 10 degrees warmer in unbroken sunshine. “If only they’d watched the forecast”! (But then I would say that).
Looking inland, the countryside (all except the last few tardy ash trees) is in verdant splendour. The cuckoo is in full voice. And the gentle tap of ‘leather on willow’ provides final confirmation of summer’s imminent arrival.
(First written by John for BBC Countryfile Magazine)