Friday, 27 April 2012
Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary from 1906 - 1916 (famous for his prescient words on the eve of the outbreak of the Great War, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time" ) always took time off from affairs of state at Westminster to be in the country at this time of year to see the fresh green of the newly opened beech leaves: those were the days!
I grew up in a house surrounded by beech woods, and there is nothing like the sight of their leaves against the silver grey of the tree trunks when they first open ..
This year, undoubtedly because of the wet and cold of the last few weeks, the beech woods are rather late in coming into leaf - it's normally the last weekend of April here.
But despite the unseasonal weather and general lack of sunshine, the swallows and the wheatears are back. Summer is on its way.