'Home Thoughts from Abroad'
Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!
And after April, when May follows,
And all the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
Far brighter than this gaudy melon flower!
I had started to think I must have taken leave of my senses to want to return to what has been a cold, damp grey and generally miserable place for what seems like the last six months, that maybe I had been wishing for something which didn't really exist, just in my imagination and in the writings of Browning et al. I thought that I must have had my rose coloured glasses on whenever we came over here for a visit and it had all been a terrible mistake.....then at the weekend, something magical happened....
The temperature was noticeably higher and along with the daffodils and hyacinths in the garden pink blossom started to appear on the plum tree, the trees lost their stark silhouette, softened by tiny pale green leaves bursting from their buds..
On Wednesday I did my 'pilgrimage' to the hairdresser in Hampshire and took the route I usually do but thought I might try a different 'back' way...as I drove through tiny country lines dotted with bright yellow daffodils and marvelled at how different the landscape looked to the last time I was there, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. I stopped the car, opposite a green field sloping away from me upwards to dense forest and saw two beautiful deer in the evening sun as birds sang from, it seemed, every surrounding tree. I grabbed my ever-present camera and.....nothing! Flat as a pancake - so, this is the nearest I could find to the actual scene....
Since then, there have been two absolutely glorious days and I cannot think of anywhere in the world I would rather be on days like these! My neighbour is busy with several ewes all about to lamb and I watch the ones already born leaping around in her orchard opposite my window....
Phew.....just in time.....I was seriously starting to think about getting some shipping estimates...
But, for now, April is here, in England and I am happy and grateful to be part of such a magical time.