Thursday, 5 February 2015

Let there be Light.






Sunshine creeps round my house, day by day extending its reach, fingering its way past window edges so that each morning and each evening I can catch glimpses of it earlier and later. This week it reached the point when it slid through a gap high in the hills, rolled down them and lit the end wall of my study, briefly illuminating the dust on the wall clock, the finger marks on the glass door.
Oh, it's spring cleaning time.
It happens every year.
This house I know and love so well is my own personal Stonehenge. As the sun hits the study wall, so I also know that I must get out into the garden, to try and get it under control before everything starts reaching out to the increasing light and warmth.

After days of bright sun, but also the sort of blistering cold wind that can remove the skin from your face, two friends and I went to look for new growth in the new light. We found it in the snowdrops here in Birlingham. This tiny ancient Worcestershire village, with its population of just over 300, has a churchyard literally filled with early spring flowers, snowdrops first. There is nothing more encouraging, more hope-filled than the sight of these bravest and earliest of delicate flowers, nodding in the slightly warmer air of early February.
Each small grave of the Victorian babies who lived here for one month or just one day has its own clumps of flowers, as have the imposing memorials of the older past members of the congregation. Snowdrops carpet the churchyard and now they are spreading out beyond the graves to decorate the grass verges of the adjoining road.

Birlingham is one of those quintessentially English places, easily missed by those in a hurry, but really not to be missed this week.
(Tea and cakes available in the village hall at weekends. A wonderful luncheon menu at The Swan Inn just down the road.)

15 comments:

Marigold Jam said...

How lovely. Sounds a delightful way to spend some time even if it is so cold it fills one with hope that spring will soon be here doesn't it?

Relatively Retiring said...

Marigold:I think we are at least ten degrees colder than you. I appreciated you daffodils at least two weeks ago.

Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful outing.
Sigh on the garden getting away from you front. Mine has well and truly escaped...

Leslee said...

What a lovely site to see, and to know it's spring somewhere in the northern hemisphere! We are so buried under snow with more on the horizon and bitter cold tonight. Under all that snow, the sleeping seeds of spring blossoms...

Relatively Retiring said...

E.C and Leslee: thank you for your comments. It's so good to see that life is stirring beneath the frozen top layer - even though it means that a lot of bindweed is also on the move.
Take care in all that snow, Leslee.

Zhoen said...

My parsley never died, and the veronica has been up since the last snow - at Christmas.

Feels so wrong here not to have proper winter. It was 65˚F, 18C today.

Avus said...

Birlingham sounds a delightful experience. A pity its a little too far away from Kent.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: I had spring bulbs in flower before Christmas, but your temperatures sound extraordinary. I'm having to find sheltered corners to work in here, trying to escape a very bitter wind.

Avus: thank you for commenting. Yes, a long way from Kent. Worcestershire hides many of these wonderful little villages, not so far off the motorway.

Frances said...

Your joy, my sadness at knowing the world is turning to cold here, RR.
Crepe myrtles bloom around town. It's hotter than it's been all summer, but that's a normal February. With a bit of luck it will stretch into March.

Frances said...

The sadness of these tiny lives.

Relatively Retiring said...

Frances: e~mail me?

pohanginapete said...

The weather's just turned southerly here. A drop in temperature; a cold breeze. I wear warm clothing for the first time in weeks. I don't like the reminder of what we're heading for, but must learn to embrace it.

Migratory birds have the right idea. Maybe I'm one.

Relatively Retiring said...

Roosting always available here!

Isabelle said...

Rather a long way from Edinburgh too... but your description brought it to life beautifully.

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: I hope Edinburgh is also coming into bloom.