While the west of the UK has been basking in sunshine, the east has been huddling in waterproofs or staying indoors trying to avoid the wind and driving rain. It feels as though we’ve been under a dark-grey cloud for days and it’s so hard to feel full of the joys of spring and motivated to do anything much when it’s like this. It’s half term and the children are all at home revising, to a greater or lesser degree, so at least they’re not feeling too hard done by. The middle and youngest have their end-of-year exams when they go back to school and the eldest still has 11 more GCSE exams to go. It’s a long haul.
Thank goodness for the dog. She won’t settle until she’s had her morning walk and this spurs me into action, to get up and take her out. I have to force myself to get things done to avoid sliding into full-on lethargy; staying in my pyjamas all day is mighty appealing. It’s amazing what a lack of sunshine does to my get-up-and-go.
It’s not been all gloom here, though. David was home for five days over the Bank Holiday weekend which made it feel more like a holiday. We even had one day without the kids when they all went on a school trip to watch the rugby at Twickenham. We had a lovely dog walk at Pegwell Bay (it didn’t rain), followed by coffee and cake In A Cafe, followed by clearing out the shed. We know how to enjoy ourselves. Ok, so the last bit doesn’t sound fun but the shed has been driving us nuts for months. You couldn’t get at anything without wheeling out the lawnmower first. Now you can walk in, turn around, reach things at the back of the shed. It’s brilliant. Small things 🙂
Rewind to Pegwell Bay. The sight of loads of swifts* wheeling above the car park greeted us. Their arrival in London heralded summer to me and I loved hearing their loud “schrees” as they whizzed around the buildings. I haven’t seen many since we moved here and it was wonderful to see them. The wind whipped up as we walked along the trail around the reserve and it was hard to hear, let alone see, much. We stopped to look at the highland cattle – totally incongruous in this landscape – when a bird caught my eye. It flew across our line of sight and something stirred deep in my memory. A slate-grey bird with a flight similar to that of a bird-of-prey… Suddenly, a very faint but unmistakable sound… ‘Cuck-oo’. Oh my goodness, yes! A cuckoo! I haven’t heard one for four years – and I can remember exactly what I was doing at the time, hanging out washing in the garden(!) – so it was thrilling. We followed the sound which was tricky in the wind and, although we didn’t see it again, we listened to the cuckoo-ing for a while and it totally made my day.
Since I’ve been sitting here writing it has got a little lighter. And the rain seems to have stopped. It might be time to put on my wellies and go on snail patrol… Have a great rest of the week.
* Swifts fly from southern and central Africa to Europe each year to breed, arriving in the UK in May and leaving in August. They fly an incredible 14,000 miles – find out more about these amazing birds here.