Sunday, 24 April 2011

St George's Day 23rd April 2011 The hottest Easter for 100 years!

This unusual cloud formation was captured on 22nd April as the sun began to set, on the eve of St George's Day, Shakespeare's birthday and what would have been Matt's 35th.
The evenings lately have been an absolute
We have been experiencing some beautiful weather, and already it has been written that this will have been the hottest Easter for 100 years.
And how everyone has so revelled in it!
The smell of barbecues wafting on the air from neighbouring gardens or picnic spots....
The songs of the birds dawn to dusk, and what songs! The gardens are awash with apple and lilac blossom, rowan trees in white, and the next door neighbour's bright yellow laburnum catkins a cheerful sight. Bluebells are now carpeting woods, and have been earlier than last year. Everyone a bit more relaxed, the long, hard, frozen dark winter a distant memory........................whilst the weather holds!!
I am having to water the garden. I got up early and took the second photo from our back upstairs window around 6.45am on the 23rd. Already the promise of a fantastic day's weather to come. Early mist and heavy scents of early summer.

We set off for Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of the Bard himself, and arrived mid morning. The sun was so warm that we both decamped to buy ourselves a sunhat each! I, having left mine at home, and he having been banned from wearing the battered cricket white hat he bought in Brisbane in 2004, when we were visiting our younger son, who was out there for 10 months. It is his pride and joy but has definately seen better days!!
So after a successful purchase, a more sartorially equipped Timelord looking quite dapper, stepped out once again into the rising heat!
We just enjoyed the sights and sounds of people messing about on the river in boats.Rowing boats, canoes, motor boats, and at one point, a lovely cabin cruiser arrived. I was intrigued
and went to ask the owners, who were fixing it to a mooring, if they could get any further down the river.
They had come from Tewkesbury, setting off the previous day, and mooring overnight along the way.No, they said,
you can't go any further down river at Stratford, and they
would be making a return journey by the same route, eventually reaching the River Severn and going on to Bristol. But as they said, everyone should visit Stratford at some point, and this for them was that time.
All along the river banks people were just sitting enjoying the novelty of a Bank holiday weekend that was living up to expectation of a glorious burst of summer. Ice creams being consumed by the dozens, soft drinks, ice cold beers, caf├ęs and bars looking more like their continental neighbours. It felt very much like being in France to me yesterday. Sitting in a riverside pub garden I could almost imagine myself in the warmth of Provence in late spring. Only instead of lavender fields there are carpets of bluebells. So we lazed away the hours until we made our way home. And it was definately a day that Freelance Nerd would've loved.

Friday, 15 April 2011

April 2011. The time of the cherry blossom, once more

This year the cherry trees are in bloom earlier than usual, and are looking absolutely stunning. The blossom has not been
subjected to torrential rain nor strong winds.
March was so dry that as I was driving along the road to Lichfield this morning to collect our moggy, Tiger, from "Posh Paws" cattery, the van in front sent the dust at the side of the road swirling in a cloud.
I have had to water the garden since I returned home from a couple of days in Lancashire.
Other trees in bloom have looked stunning, particularly the magnolias.

I always look for signs of spring after the winter, and watch the horse
chestnut buds swell and grow fat and sticky, the bulbs beginning to peep out from the earth. The birds will begin to sing, even when the early spring days are cold, wet and sometimes blanketed in snow.

We have had some lovely days recently, warm sunshine, blue skies and longer hours of daylight. The robin and blackbird are in full throttle, and I have heard the chiffchaff, who has returned to our shores from his winter sojourn.
Bluebells are now carpeting the verges and so we step into the new season which has arrived, as it always does, almost by stealth!
Easter is very late this year.
Easter Saturday coinciding with St George's Day, and Matt's birthday. He would have been 35 this month.
So, at the top of this piece, is a photo of his favourite cherry tree, across the road from the house, and another one has also appeared. It is a white flowering variety.This one was planted in the school grounds in his memory, and we look out at them both this year, looking particularly

And all is now well in moggy world! He has been exploring all his territory this morning and now retired for a sleep!
Bit like his owner feels!