The sun was warm but the wind was chill
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes over the frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
The first thing I do when I unwrap Country Life on a Wednesday evening is turn to the inside back page and read Carla Carlisle’s column. She never disappoints. I’m indebted to her for this stanza from Robert Frost’s poem, ‘Two Tramps in Mud Time’. Spring may be late and erratic this year, but the swifts have arrived at Damson Dene dead on time as usual. I suppose that when they set off from Africa, or wherever they have spent the winter, they won’t know what the weather is like in the Lyth valley. They depend entirely on flying insects for their food, so if the insects aren’t about because the weather is too cold or too wet, they can’t survive.
The swifts at Damson Dene nest just above the entrance to Reception, which is a bit of a nuisance as we have to clear their droppings from the pathway every day. But no-one minds because it’s a joy to have them around, whatever the weather.