Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Early Morning ride...

April is normally the time of emerging spring colour, but this year the season is like a bride running late. The verges along the roadside are bare. The fields and woodlands look scuffed and crackle with bone-dry leaves and bracken that has been trodden down. It's hard to find many breaking buds. Some bluebells are poking through, but weakly, others that were more advanced appear to have been eaten away.

As I make my way, in a sedately fashion, along familiar lanes I notice some old logs, treefalls, that have been turned over and the ground around and beneath scratched away. Another more decayed tunk has been destroyed - maybe the work of a badger or fox, perhaps with new-born cubs to feed? A circle of feathers suggests an unwary bird has become the victim of a sparrowhawk or similar, but there are no remains of a body.

Without doubt winter has extended its reach this year and the evidence is all around. But there are signs that things are changing. I noticed some ants this morning, and yesterday there was a cloud of gnats over the pond along the lane. There are of course plenty of daffodils around and in among a stand of silver birches I noticed some stunted flowers emerging - not sure what they are but the signs are encouraging.

It's a short circuit today and as I climb the final, gentle rise up through Carlton I pause at the roadside and look out across the fields towards Bosworth, the red roofs glisten softly and the distant twigs of golden willows - some colour at last.

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