Watching energetic blue tits flitting about under a beautiful blue sky yesterday morning, it certainly appeared that these tiny little birds were enjoying the warmth of some welcome January sunshine. Later I had trekked up the hill heading into town, walking through our coastal greenery it was clear that all our local wildlife were making the most of that glorious sun-soak. As ever, my crows came down to see what offering I had hidden in the brown paper bag clutched in gloved hands; these watchful Corvids do seem to be used to me as their “look-out” calls when I arrive along the first stretch of path. With our unwanted crusts dropped off to satisfy those shiny black creatures my route took me along narrow paths where the shrubs offer shelter to much smaller specimens.
It was a joyful walk punctuated by flashes of red from near-hyperactive robins and colonies of blue tits, looking almost tropical in their blue and yellow coats. Scuffling noises close by were accompanied by the sight of squirrels bounding away, and on one occasion at least the, less-welcome, long thin tail of a rat disappearing into the undergrowth. In my opinion these much-maligned creatures have to be accepted as long as they stay well away from our homes; we have so many foxes sharing our space and I’m sure some of the rat population end up on vulpine banqueting tables.
Walking home with heavy bags my slow pace helped me spot the green shoots of bulbs hidden in the earth; snowdrops I hope.
These moments remind me of the “Ladybird Books” of my childhood, from whose pages enticing illustrations and densely-packed written details opened the doors to the pleasure of identifying both flora and fauna
Tonight’s snowy weather also serves to remind of how these sparks of spring sunshine can hide an icy devil. As the house got colder I dug around in my woollens collection to select additional jumpers, uncovering a pure wool V-neck which I had carefully layered in tissue for storage…a welcome rediscovery!
It’s no surprise to be closing the month with snowy scenes; looking back over my life-time the meteorological records will back up my own memories of various “big freezes” and trekking through knee-deep snow in my school days and when a young mother pushing our family transport, the buggy. Times have changed and the reality has certainly shifted with regard to what our winters have become. However, there’s no doubt that the cold is still an icy devil and something from which every living creature requires protection.
Homelessness has been on the increase in recent years and it’s clear that its visibility has also shifted to become part of too many High Streets. This must form a separate chapter but, in these temperatures, a critical one for our administration to tackle with more urgency.