Let us celebrate the good done by surgeons, in particular eye surgeons. This note from my mother in Yorkshire is the result of her cataract operations giving her new sight.
Spring seems to have the upper hand at the moment. When I was in the village this afternoon the big beech tree growing on the banks of the river and sending its great branches up, and above the bridge, was sending out its first delicate new leaves. The sun shines through them and they are as soft as silk. Standing on the bridge I could reach and touch them and the river below sparkled as it tumbled over stones that had been immersed in almost flood water for so long. Even the small, brown trout were visible, and a Dipper was busy hunting for food beneath the water……………the village was busy, the traffic was noisy, but no one seemed interested or bothered with the magic on the bridge.
Spring is trying to assert itself in Kent as well. Here are a few observations from being out and about over the last week. I did not miss all the magic …
Friday, cycling along the road through the woods: an orange tip butterfly over a stand of garlic mustard, its food plant.
Saturday: Mrs Tittlemouse was on the yard, hoping to snatch a few crumbs. So were a sparrow and Mr Robin. He was so aggressive to the sparrow that Mrs Tittlemouse hid behind a flowerpot til he’d gone.
Sunday, living up to its name: Mrs Turnstone and daughter No 1 both saw the woodmouse; Mrs Turnstone feels that Spring is here.
Monday, a trip to a cold Hastings to meet daughter No 3 and young Mr Turnstone. Bikers and pagans out in force for May Day. The latter drinking deep; the greenness round the gills not entirely derived from greasepaint. As the Jerwood gallery were inviting visitors to draw a green man on acetate for their window, I obliged.
Tuesday, back on the Brompton through the woods, this time on the track: a whitethroat singing where the path crosses a farm with the remains of a hedge still on one side.
Wednesday: a lizard in the classroom when I was visiting daughter No 2. Most of her pupils had gone home, but the one remaining had his eyes peeled. We caught the reptile in this blanket, put her outdoors – and she straightway came back in again and hid out of reach!
Thursday: swifts screaming overhead as I ate breakfast in the garden. And so many more flowers out than I noticed on Tuesday or Saturday. Going slowly uphill means that violets, bluebells, primroses, herb Robert, stitchwort are all on eye level to a slow cyclist (who still gets up the hill!) On my way out of town in the afternoon I spotted my first beetroot-coloured blonde sunbather. She must have fallen asleep in the park.
Friday: Freddie the Norfolk terrier was being led home in disgrace, having rolled in fox manure. He was not the most popular dog in the park, but will the hosing down he was walking home to teach him a lesson?