Despite the allusion to Great Expectations you should not (a) get your hopes up, nor (b) imagine me bitter, disappointed and writing this in my ageing wedding dress. Well, not unless that would give you some pleasure – and, upon further reflection, preferably not even then.
The sap is rising, though our friends at the Met Office continue to see the mercury falling over the next few days (in the environs of Cambridge at least). Bulbs thrust their fleshy leaves out of the soil of my garden and buds on many plants swell with anticipation of the Spring that is to come. Indeed, my early iris are already abloom and in this nation’s capital on Monday, the waste heat of so many bodies living cheek by jowl had pushed daffodils into flower on the Embankment.
More redolent of the lazy days of summer than any of these, whilst cycling back from the gym at lunchtime, I heard the first skylark of 2011. A moment after hearing it, I saw the lad hurling himself skyward, without any recourse to copper (and, if anyone gets that reference without the aid of the internet I will be surprised) but by the rapid beating of his wings. I did think to question the little chap’s judgement – yesterday he could have sung in sunshine and a relatively balmy 8 degrees, whereas today grey skies and mist where his only visible audience (other than our hero). However, I suppose he probably knows more about attracting the attentions of a skylark filly than I do – in fact, given my general disinterest in “gland games” this might apply more generally to those of the distaff persuasion.
Given earlier reference to the first snowdrops (and cycle shorts), and now the first skylark singing for territory, I am thinking this blog could set me up as the Gilbert White de nos jours. This would make Sawston the new Selborne and you, dear readers, the modern counterpart of Thomas Pennant and Daines Barrington (I know which one I’d want to be). More ominously, to compete with the curate, this blog will have to continue for a further 25 years! You have been warned…