What are the signs of spring you love the most?
I adore the lighter evenings and start to spot these in February (though that’s weather dependent). Being out with the dog a lot, you notice when you have that little bit more daylight before needing to get the torches out.
Of course, this weekend with the clocks going forward by an hour, we’ll have even more daylight in the evening to enjoy. (Mind, I do wish they would pick one unit of time and stick to it rather than make us all adjust the clocks twice a year. The only good thing about that is it can be a good time to remember to test your smoke alarms but you could set your own date for that).
Flowers, Blossom, Bees, Bats, and Butterflies
Another sign is spotting the spring flowers out and the blossom. Good to see some magnolias out and I’ve already spotted my first butterflies and bees (two as at the time of writing this!). My first dog, Gracie, loathed bees and the noise they made and once got one in her mouth. Fortunately she didn’t like it and opened her mouth and one rather soggy bee came out and flew off. I was just relieved Gracie wasn’t stung. Lady to date has not shown much interest in flying insects and I hope that continues.
One thing I will miss from this weekend onwards is, when I go out for evening walks with Lady, I often see bats as I head back towards the car as dusk falls. It’s usually the pipistrelle I spot, though I have been lucky enough to spot a horseshoe. Very distinct shape! Anyway, with the clocks going forward, dusk will be later. I doubt if I’ll spot the bats again for a while! Or hear the owls that come out “early”. There is some charm to be found in every season then.
Winter trees can look barren (though their silhouettes look amazing) so I like to spot the leaves forming, the catkins coming out etc. The birds are noisy and, especially over Hiltingbury Recreation Ground, I sometimes spot which little birds are being brave enough to mob the buzzards that are now often seen here. Last time it was the rook’s turn (and they are small when compared to the buzzard!).
I’m also hearing more of what sounds likes bird squabbles (presumably over nesting sites/food etc). I suspect it is just as well we cannot interpret bird song as some of it doesn’t sound like it would translate into the Queen’s English. The scolding note is unmistakable. Is the blue tit capable of what we’d consider blue language? Quite possibly if riled enough!
I have not yet heard my first cuckoo. I admit it’s not my favourite bird, far from it in fact. I don’t like the way the European cuckoo destroys other birds’ eggs and young by pushing them out of the nest. The Wikipedia link is interesting in that not every cuckoo does this, but here it is what the bird is best known for. I have heard reports that cuckoo numbers are going down. Are host birds getting better at stopping the cuckoo from getting away with it? Just a thought.
Temperatures and Proverbs
The temperatures are slowly creeping up too so the heating is going on less often though I think there is much truth in the proverb “never cast a clout till May is out”. Sounds sensible advice to me.
I always thought clout was an old word which would interpret as coat now but it seems to refer to clothing in general. It’s still a good idea not to rely on temperate weather conditions in the UK until after May though! (Though my late grandfather’s favourite quip was that a British summer fell on a Wednesday afternoon. Barring the drought of 1976, his quip has often not been far off the mark!).
Festivals and Conferences
From a writer’s viewpoint, you start to see the adverts for writing conferences and festivals of course and that perks me up. There will be plenty to look forward to and choosing the courses you need to book (in some cases) and the ones where you can make up your mind when you get to the venue is good fun. And I like to take in my stories by going to see plays etc so there will be the spring offerings by the Chameleons to look forward to as well.
One sign of spring I don’t welcome is the increase in litter, especially in the parks. I’m glad Hiltingbury Recreation Ground now has bigger bins (as does North Millers Dale throughout the estate) but there are still some for whom it is too much effort to put a piece of trash in said bins. Don’t know what can be done about that but the spring brings them out too.
Mankind is supposed to be the most intelligent species on the planet. I often wonder about that, especially given the mess we leave behind. It has always got my proverbial goat that dogs are banned from some beaches between May and September, yet after a Bank Holiday, our most popular beaches are covered in litter. I remember seeing on the news not so long ago that Brighton had 100 tonnes of rubbish on it after a Bank Holiday weekend. Methinks we’re banning the wrong species from the beach.
Over to You!
So what aspects of spring do you relish? Which do you loathe?
I will put out a sympathetic shout out for the hayfever sufferers for whom the increase in pollen at this time of year only means a full assault on their noses and very itchy eyes. Hope your symptoms settle down soon.
I heard my first very noisy radio pumping out some ghastly racket this week. Why is it never anything tuneful? The thought that crossed my mind was I needed someone else turning up playing the 1812 Overture at full blast to drown the other nonsense out. (The ghastly racket was literally just drumbeat and a monotonal voice!).
Oh well, I guess nobody can have it all, but I will enjoy the delights of spring. Oh and good news, I hear the wild flower meadow is being replanted at Hiltingbury Recreation Ground. There is hope many of the flowers will self seed from last year but currently the area is fenced off while other planting is going on. I hope this proves to be as spectacular a sight as it was last year. Well done, Parish Council, and all behind this project.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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