This day dawns murky, a touch gloomy, with the remnants of some overnight rain still dampening the ground, and no doubt feeding the grass. But it was yesterday whilst enjoying a cycle in fine and warm weather, that two more signs of the certainty of spring, the lengthening days, and the start of the last term at school, flashed by.
Around the house the first visiting house martin put in an appearance, a week ahead of schedule despite the harsh winter. Soon they will be busy in numbers, packing little beakfuls of mud, see we do need the rain, into those wondrous little nests all around the eaves, and the air will be alive with feeding and then fledging. But the greatest joy came as The Grasshopper rounded a downhill bend, at a brisk pace, when I came a cross a field of cows. The first sighting of a herd of dairy cattle, fresh and clean in their motley of black & white, released from winter quarters onto fresh pasture, tails flicking at the flies, munching eagerly at the lushness denied them for seven long months.
Of late the cycling has been accompanied by the smells of the surrounding farms, as the winter slurry is spread over the feels to encourage new growth in time for the silage to be cut for the next winter, when the beasts will be indoors once again. But to see one of the best signs of life return to bring colour to the fields that had been greening after the deathly shades of February, was a sight to gladden the heart. Ere long the Holstein-Fresian will be abundant in these parts, traffic will be held up as they parade across the roads heading for the milking parlour; the seasons are changing.
Meanwhile a new author arrived and has gone straight to the bedside table. New to me that is, though Antoine de Saint-Exupery died in 1944, his plane failing to return. Wind, Sand and Stars came highly recommended by several in a book discussion by fellow contributors at the Wanderlust forum. It promises to be a good read. And the day ahead needs a decision to be made, to head onthe long trip to the Tail of the Bank, around three hours driving time and a huge cost in petrol, for football and an insignificant cup tie against an insignificant team, or to stay at home and defer the cycling until after lunch, using the morning for my weekly session with newspapers for the book reviews, and travel articles, with a fresh brew of coffee. The weather may dictate the outcome, as dry and still day is too good to pass up on the bike.