The sun warm on our backs.
The soft notes of a blackbird float gently on the air. Sometimes joined by the scratchy song of newly arrived redstarts.
Brilliant yellow brimstone butterflies flash by on patrol.
Maybe, just maybe spring is here at last.
Mark Ash Woods: wood sorrel, fifteen plus brimstone, bee-fly, two treecreeper nests, willow warbler, cuckoo, seven redstart....
I've been enjoying sketching with Rexel Cumberland, Derwent Studio coloured pencils of late. Sadly my burnt umber is now down to a stub, so if any Rexel reps are out there and like the plug I've given them....................
well you never know!
The same thought was going through our heads, but neither wanted to give it the oxygen of life. I blinked first, 'Ikea Saturday', blurted out with immediate regret. 'Ok'. Came an equally fearful response.
Operational plans were made; clinical and sensible. If I wrote them out in full this page would be covered in MI5 black marks. I am allowed to mention a few key phrases to paint the picture - 'sparrowfart', 'darkside of the Hamble', 'disgusting coffee' and an agent called 'Billy Case'. We can never return. Bridges burnt. Enough said and all that.
In my mind, Spring is fully underway and I'm skipping gayly through the woods. In reality, it is snowing outside and I'm seated shivering behind my desk. I prefer the scenario being played in my head, and thoughts lend themselves to all the changing detail in the countryside at this time of year.
A favourite is the arrival of redstarts in the New Forest. A quivering orange tail, a flash of brilliant white forehead a snatch of distinctive song, all point to their return from their African wintering grounds. Quite often my first view is of males. Finding them in holly, perched on the shadowy branches exposed by pony or deer browsing. Soon they sing from the highest branch of the highest tree and the bustle of summer's rhythm commences.
I would like to share a painting made this very morning, but for now I'm bound by work and colds, to painting birdy activities (!) from the window. So one from last year will have to surfice for now. (Apparently not as it happens, the upload won't work.
For Mike W. Who has been missing my blogs of late.
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.