They give rain said the Gamekeeper as he cracked a goose egg into the frying pan. He's been given goose eggs this week and he's fast acquiring the taste for something about ten times the size of a meagre hen's offering.
He may only be twenty-two but he is our very accurate human barometer and has been our encylopaedic source for information on the natural world for many years, our local eyes and ears because he's outdoors all day in all weathers. He then tells me that the swiftswallowhousemartins arrived in the Tamar Valley about two weeks ago but no sign of our verandah ones yet. This is good because the wrens claim squatters rights in their old nests for the next few weeks and they are busy dragging moss in by the ton.
But if rain is on the way I must dash out for my Lane in April walk.
Except these walks have become far from a dash.
Taking pictures for here has given me a renewed and refreshing vision of that familiar territory, usually raced along in the car, but in that "what is life-stand and stare" way I pick up my camera and now may take an hour to walk a few hundred yards.
So today out of the gates and turning left (last time we went right)
A funny thing happens immediately and I can guarantee it always does. Offspringette's cat Muffin always appears from nowhere and accompanies me. I have no idea how she knows I've set off or what she might have done if a creature had leapt out of this newly-dug hole. We have massive badger activity very near to the house at the moment which is a first.
As I drive up and down daily I am always aware of the predominant colour of the hedge.It's been yellow and awash with primroses and celandines, soon it will take on that hazy misty blue mantle as first the wild violets and then the bluebells take charge. They are just starting to appear.
Living along a quiet lane you like to think you own it, which of course we don't, but that hasn't stopped us giving every little twist and turn a name.We all know what we mean by The Dip which leads to Primrose Alley. So we've just walked down that hill and this is The Dip and the only decent passing place. In winter that lay-by fills with a quicksand of mud which devours my little car in seconds, so very occasionally it's a long reverse back up that hill, round that blind bend (The Diabolica) and almost back home.
There's a trickling stream running under the lane at this point.
On the way home I spied a prize. Bookhound and I were both I-Spy book fiends as children and both took it very seriously, never ever cheating. That said I'm a bit suspect of his alleged Swallowtail butterfly sighting but he swears on his Big Chief I-Spy certificate that he saw one. My I-Spy book of Wildflowers is in the loft somewhere and I hope when I find it I can hold my head up high and find the wild Cuckoo Pint space blank. It was my dream to find one in a hedge and I never did, they were sparse in London in the 1950's but now I can tick that box with pride.
Meanwhile back in the garden, I'd love to be able to report that we are greeted by a veritable carpet of
swaying cowslips, but in actual fact we have but one, and
only one, and for some reason always have had just the one.
Here it is and now I can tick that off too.