Spring felt a long way off when I was waiting on Aylesham station with the cold wind sweeping across the field. But down at ground level, among the discarded beer cans and sweet wrappers, peeping from under heart-shaped leaves, a few violets, out of range of fingers or lens.
Nearer home, crossing the old Franciscan orchard, the hazel catkins were reflecting back the gold of the setting sun. On Abbot’s Hill the woodpecker was out of sight but well within earshot, drumming hard enough to give himself a headache but perhaps he’ll charm a hen. Valentine’s Day is said to be the birds’ wedding day. He’s getting into practice!
Great spotted woodpecker: usually out of sight amidst the leaves so green;
Sanderlings, chasing the breaking ripples on the shore, pouncing on tasty morsels. See the RSPB site: http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/sanderling/index.aspx .
I cherish the time I introduced these little creatures to a class of tough 10 and 11 year olds, who filled up with joyful laughter at their performance, dashing in and out of the water on Broadstairs beach. Thank you, Andrew,for setting us all off!
The coastal path was full of dog walkers till almost halfway between the two towns. Cyclist, slow down! Turnstones out looking spruce, waiting on the breakwaters for the tide to turn. Are these ones too far down the pecking order to haunt the harbour for easy pickings from the boats and fishmongers?
A quarrelsome synod of Jackdaws at sunset at St Martin’s church. I stopped counting at fifty.
A snowdrop and violet in bloom beside our front door; Mrs O’s Daffodils nose up above the ground, active buds on her elder and flowering currant.
And the flood was there again across the road at Bekesbourne. Rain and hail showers lashing cyclists this morning. At least one survived!
Yesterday was torn two ways. It had been raining on Tuesday before I photographed the sunset over the Downs. And real Noah’s weather yesterday when I was once more in Aylesham. Then the change: by the time I’d finished working the sun was out in all his glory: 40 minutes waiting for the train or take a bike ride? No contest!
Brompton folders with their small wheels are not designed for country life, but all was well until Bekesbourne. With the ground already saturated there was nowhere for the water to go – except the Bourne, and that could no longer hold it all. The standard advice to avoid driving (let alone cycling) through water was not really appropriate if I wanted to get home. The water was deeper than expected and my feet got wet!
Last winter’s floods were more than a minor inconvenience; let’s hope the water level goes down, and people’s homes stay dry.
This morning, a violet in bloom and a snowdrop impatient to join her, right by the front door.
On our way to a New Year’s walk, Mrs Turnstone drove past banks of Gorse in glorious golden bloom, basking in the midday sun. It was good to remember that this flower cheered the depressive Edward Thomas.
See Post “Edward Thomas and the Gorse” for his poem about it.