We’ve had some lovely sunshine in the last few days. I sowed some seeds in the greenhouse, strolled round the garden and, on Friday when I was in London, spent an hour or so relaxing on a bench in a little Islington public garden, basking in 15º of warm sunshine and enjoying the feeling of being slightly too warm.
Worryingly, one thing that gave me pleasure was walking through a cloud of gnats – midgets, as they’re known in Norfolk, because we can’t quite cope with midges. I rarely destroy an insect nowadays, they have become too rare. I’ll swat a mosquito if it’s in the bedroom at night, I’ll kill a flea or a tick, if I found I’d got headlice they’d be combed out and destroyed but, for the most part, insects are welcome, even the plant-eating ones. Aphids are left on the roses or the beans, because they’re food for birds and ladybirds and they, along with butterflies, moths, pretty well everything except for the parasites, are diminishing so shockingly.
The crash seems to have happened in the last few years and it’s accelerating. There are now articles in the papers about it, but it’s been apparent for a while. I don’t quite understand why here, because the garden is surrounded by unsprayed fields, this should be a haven, but actually numbers are so low that they don’t seem to find their way here.
There are still ants. And fleas etc. In terms of birds, there are plenty of pigeons, gulls, rooks and magpies. I’m sure there aren’t as many bats as there used to be, nor are there hedgehogs. Rats seem to be doing okay, if my henhouse is anything to go by. I see rabbits when I drive at night, but I haven’t seen them in the garden recently, though I guess the barn cats deal with as many young ones as turn up.
Sorry darlings, I started by thinking about spring and I’ve ended up with a wintry tale. So let’s get back to some good cheer.
Tim (unimaginatively named) the hedgehog, that I rescued and took to the hedgehog sanctuary a few weeks ago, is doing very well. He’s put on a lot of weight and he’ll come back here in a few weeks. There are new leaf buds on the roses and lots of spring flowers in the garden. The daffodils down the drive are in bud. We’ve finally got around to buying new wardrobes and they’re being delivered on Friday. Oxtail stew and roast parsnips are in the oven for dinner. I’ve done all the ironing.