There are ducks swimming in patches of standing water, where ducks may have never swum before, but, finally, the sun has started to shine and we are tumbling into spring.

The gardener within me threw off his hibernation and started to tackle the garden with secateurs and horse muck. The dawn chorus, led by the blackbirds, is revving up to its April concerts and scraggly, tatty peacock butterflies have left their winter crevices and are fluttering across the meadow.

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It’s two years since we moved house and I now know where to look for old friends: the celandine in the dank ditch on Church Lane, the primroses beside the tree commemorating The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the violets at the top of our drive. They’re all there again and I relish their return.

Three buzzards went through their stately airborne courtship whistling to each other, but it was the skylarks, dots in the skies, that provided the powerful music to my meanderings. Dead frogs, squashed on the top road, told of their migration back to the pond of their birth to breed. The verges were full of shoots of cow parsley and fierce, dark nettles. The days are lengthening noticeably, the countryside is on the move and the cycle of life is beginning again.

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