This week has officially marked the end of the coldest March in England for something like 40 years, spring feels like it is never coming but a tiny bit of sunshine filtered through to us on Tuesday and I grabbed it and took a walk up the hill from Wye to the hazel grove above the downs.
The place felt special as always, a magic place, the tiny red flowers of the female plants were just peeking through the buds, trying out the temperature, seeing if the men were up for it. I fancied taking a twig of lemony catkins back to the office but resisted, feeling supersttiously like this was sacrilege.
Back on the road to the office the old man’s beard fluffed out, backlit against the sky. A call from a hedgerow stopped me in my tracks, sweet and scratchy and piercing, I couldn’t quite place it. I walked slowly back down the lane, peering into the massacred remnants of a hedge, beetle brushed by the thrashing machine. A dunnock appeared, all pink footed and innocent.
“I know your game,” I told him. “Say all the right things and the girls will fall. Don’t trust him ladies, he’s a philanderer with one in every bush.”
The dunnock cocked an eye at me, ‘they won’t listen love,’ he seemed to say, ‘they never do, plenty of bonny blue eggs in the hedgerows by spring.’
He sailed across the road and was gone.