OV looks smugly out of the window – he managed to cut the grass on Friday, in between showers. (It is now far too wet to contemplate such an activity – especially with an electric mower!)
In the field behind the house a family of foxes comes out to play when the sun shines. A vixen with either 5 or 6 cubs. Three are rusty orange. They are full of energy and play fight, rolling over and over near the nettle bed. The others are smaller and have browner fur – maybe they need to gain a little weight before their fur turns more fox-like. They are more shy than the others and spend their time disappearing down one hole and popping out of another. I saw their mother yesterday, legs akimbo, with a writhing ball of cubs all trying to suckle at the same time – none of your Romulus and Remus, with a languid mother lying conveniently on her side. Eventually she tired of the activity and just walked away, cubs falling off as she walked!
April has been an amazing month in the garden and the fields and lanes of Somerset. Every year the energy of spring takes me by surprise, but this year has been outstanding. Maybe it is in reaction to the bitter cold of early January. The ‘greening’ of the countryside and the way a sparsely covered flower bed has become lush and deep in growth and colour, has been thrilling to see. I have almost heard the plants growing! Everywhere you look there is something new to see. A walk around the garden each day throws up a new flower popping out where there weren’t even buds the day before.
The seasons of this island are one of the reasons I love it so much. This hectic energy of spring growth has an urgency about it that makes you get out of your chair and hurry to do the next garden task – the worry of ‘missing the boat’ and failing to get things planted at the right time spoils many a post lunch coffee. But I love it. It is so full of hope and certainty. Every little plant stretches upwards to the warming sun. (Every little slug licks its lips!) Birds, mammals, amphibians (certainly the last!) are busy having new broods. The swallows are back from their winter holiday and busily mending the nest in the porch – amidst much chattering.
Less happily, the jackdaws are still building in our chimney!
I look ahead to autumn – another lovely season – one of a slower pace, a looking over one’s shoulder, a reluctance to let go of the last threads of summer. I love it too – and with a more pensive mood. But for now it is hurry hurry hurry – run about, be active, clean and mend and plant and tidy.
But don’t forget, like Mole, to sometimes throw down your tools and join your friend Ratty to just ‘mess about’ by the river.