April 10, 2017
It's April, and the month began with such beautiful weather that I couldn't help but remember Robert Browning's poem Home Thoughts from Abroad:
O, 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
Our recent trip south also reminded me of something my Dad used to say - that the seasons march up and down the country at approximate walking speed. The apple trees of the Kent orchards were all in beautiful blossom whereas here in the Midlands the buds had yet to break. On our return our local trees are catching up.
Of course, April's also the month in which the cuckoo is known to arrive and traditionally across England there used to be Cuckoo Fairs to mark the season change and the arrival of Spring. Many involved releasing a cuckoo from a basket, though in Marsden in West Yorkshire they used to build a fence around a cuckoo's nest to try to make it stay longer.