Spring is on its way. Not only do the clocks go forward tomorrow as we go on to British Summer Time, but nature too is declaring the advent of warmer weather. Not that it feels like it at the moment, besieged as we are with gales and rain.
Yet the daffodils and crocuses bloomed weeks ago, and now the flowering trees and shrubs are flaunting pink and white blossom. The first tinge of pale bright green is appearing on the bare branches. The bluebells have thrust their green leaves aggressively through the leaf mould and are waiting to follow up with blue spears.
There are other indications, too. The pussy willow has shed most of its pollen-laden yellow blossom, following the flower with leaves from the tips down. The first squashed hedgehog has appeared on the roads. And today, I went to put my shoes on, when my hand rested on some unspeakably disgusting slime. In our house, that could have been anything. It was almost a relief to find that it was a slug which had awoken from its winter slumbers and crawled in through the back door. The first slug of spring.