I’m not saying it’s always good. When, for instance, you’re standing in the rain on a ratty bit of grassland, surrounded by industry and it is 6am and this is the 6th, 6am start of the week and you’re trying to spot lapwing through the drizzle. Then it’s not so good.
Sometimes though it catches you. The incredible, unlikely, luck of it all. That of all the people in the world going to work this morning you have somehow managed to score this job.
A job in which you fly across the Sheppey bridge and the Swale is laid out like glass and all the mist is rising from the fields and relishing in the growing warmth of the morning. Puffs of dandelion heads are backlit by the sun and your job, YOUR JOB, is to walk five miles across farmland watching nature go about it’s business.
Watching linnets gather on fence lines, swallow buzz the grass for insects, a yellow wagtail throw itself at a short eared owl and yell, ‘clear off.’
Your job is to hear cuckoos and watch hares calmly lollop towards you eyeing you with a yellow eye. Then, on morning’s such as this, it feels like the world is yellow. And the yellow rape, the yellow reed, the yellow sun and the yellow eye are all through your lucky yellow life.
Springwatch may not have hit out tele’s yet but Spring is well and truly here. Here is my guide for things to do to get you in the mood for the season.
1.Take a walk amongst the bluebells – They are one of the great beauties of the British Isles. They last such a short time. Make sure you never go a year without missing the sight and scent of a bluebell woodland.
2. Listen to a nightingale sing. These birds have suffered a 90% decline in this country. Conyer Brickworks, near Sittingbourne in Kent is one of the best places to hear them.
3. Discover a quirky local custom. Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy the eccentric side of British culture. Find a weird festival and go along. I went to Bradwell on Sea, In Essex’s Scarecrow Festival.
4. Embrace some greenery. Revel in some Rights of Spring and hug a Green Man.
5. Take a dip. Cold water swimming is a great health tonic and we have plenty of opportunity to indulge around our coasts. 16th April is the earliest I have ever taken the plunge but there are plenty of hardy souls who swim year round.
6. Grow some vegetables. Not only does home grown veg taste delicious but, even if you are only growing basil on a window seal, then you are taking part in the age old seasonal ritual of growing and harvesting. After all we have been farmers for 500 generations and computer nerds not even for one.
7. Do the spring cleaning. Fresh sheets, clean cupboards, spruced up oven and you are set for another year. I ran away from the household chores and spring cleaned some barn owl boxes instead.
8. Begin a love affair, have a night of passion, conceive a (planned) baby. It is the time for sex and fertility after all.
9. Shed your winter layers. Don’t cast a clout ’til May is out the old saying goes. The Hawthorn is blossoming, time to get out those shorts.
10. Spend a little time out doors in nature every day. My friend Trevor refuses to take on any big building projects in the spring. “How many springs do you think I have left?” He yells down the phone. Quite right Trevor. We should take the time to enjoy every one.
Gosh it’s all Hogarth this week. Here is part 4 of my journey across Kent following in Hogarth and Pals footsteps published in online magazine Longshore Drift
My inability to deal with modern life is not always a good thing. Turns out I won BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Blogger of the Week back in February. I have only just found out on Twitter. A belated thank you to BBC Wildlife Mag. Clearly I spend too much time On the Marshes instead of on social media.
Gus and I set out to walk across the Hoo Peninsula in Episode 5 following the trail of William Hogarth and friend’s peregrination. We slip slide across Upnor beach before I offer to whip Gus with some nettles!
Jack in the Green was awoken this morning on Bluebell Hill in Kent surrounded by a swathe of Morris Dancers. Photos MLP