the first cuckoo

Well, not actually a cuckoo as such, but a cuckoo flower.

March went out like a lamb and it’s been gloriously warm recently – so much so that I am afraid we have already had our summer – so I had begun to wonder what had happened to the April I know and love who provides us with such constantly changing weather that we are never short of a topic of conversation.
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more mothers

Well, it’s Mothering Sunday and we altered the clocks last night, doing the old dear out of an hour in bed.

I’m not sure that these two dates always coincide, but my mother first drew my attention to it when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, saying that she thought a woman PM could have organised things a bit better. Of course Thatcher was supposed to only need four hours’ sleep a night, so I don’t suppose it mattered much to her.
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mothers and daughters

We had New Year at the start of 2017, and Chinese New Year at the end of January; then the new astrological year began on Tuesday with the Spring equinox.

Now today is March 25th – Lady Day – and, apparently, the traditional start of the new legal year.

(Incidentally, it seems that in combination with the lost days caused by the calendar change in 1752, this explains why we have a tax year that starts on April 6th.)
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early warning

Here in the UK, the spring equinox happens (occurs? falls?) tomorrow at 10:28. I’m a bit confused by that, as I don’t understand how we can have equal day and night at a specific minute half way through the morning.

Exploring the subject a little further, I find that equinox doesn’t mean equilux: day and night are not of equal length, whatever I was taught in school.

In fact, where I am, today was already almost 12 hours and 7 minutes long, which must, presumably, make the night some 14 minutes shorter. And from now until well into April, each day will increase in length by about 4 minutes, meaning that in less than a month, we’ll be having over 14 hours of daylight. Sadly, that’s not 14 hours of sunshine.
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signs and portents

There’s hazy sunshine this morning and I suspect that when I finally get ready and go out it will feel like spring.

I’m pretty sure, though, that the blossoms I photographed in full sunshine at lunchtime a couple of days ago will have been battered to a pulp by storms by now.

Even today, if I diddle around too long, fussing about what to wear and writing the blog etc., it’s quite possible that the weather will have changed completely and it will be bucketing down with rain and blowing a force ten gale.
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invasion

I re-watched the 1978 version of The Invasion of the Body-snatchers last night and was much taken by this brief dialogue:

Elizabeth Driscoll: I have seen these flowers all over. They are growing like parasites on other plants all of a sudden. Where are they coming from?

Nancy Bellicec: Outer space?

Jack Bellicec: What are you talking about? A space flower?

Nancy Bellicec: Well why not a space flower? Why do we always expect metal ships?

Jack Bellicec: I’ve NEVER expected metal ships.

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winter magic

I was delighted to find snow drops on my walk into town yesterday, but they were only just coming into flower, so I didn’t get any good pictures. Perhaps there will be more next weekend.

I also I found this strange leafless shrub, with flowers the colour of forsythia or winter jasmine. I knew the lack of leaves meant it couldn’t be the latter, but I wondered whether it might be a very early forsythia whose petals had become deformed because it had blossomed too early.

As usual, Google has provided the answer: it is in fact witch hazel. If that doesn’t count as winter magic, I don’t know what does.