St George’s Day and the countryside has never looked better. The air is cleaner, the racket of cars, lorries and planes has almost vanished and nature is taking control. The swallows have come back – how do they time themselves? – they always arrive on April 22. Last night I heard wild geese honking as they flew over our moat. A cock and hen pheasant come daily to our bird table (seeds by mail order) as do goldfinches, long-tailed tits and at least two grey squirrels.
It’s been a great year for the garden, too. White tulips vie with cow parsley under the pleached lime which is visibly coming into leaf. In the new orchard, planted by us 20 years ago, the apple blossom has never been so prolific. Ditto our Vranja quinces. The grass is a brilliant green. Every day is cloudless though there have been overnight frosts.
You might say it was cruel of nature to provide such a show for those under house arrest but the lockdown gives us a chance to contemplate the spring. And, if it goes on, then we can celebrate summer through the drawing room window as the roses start to bloom. It’s a chance to reduce the unalleviated gloom being broadcast by the BBC.