A New Day Has Just Begun, Is It Really Spring?
Is Spring Here? Look Outside.
It is 6.30am and the alarm clock has just gone off. Oh ten minutes more, please, the quilt is warm and cozy and my nose can smell the cold air. Shrugging my shoulders I try to become invisible, put my head under the quilt. Yikes, that's Gordon's big bottom looking at me down there. It seams to me there is nowhere to hide, so up I get and stomp my pathway to the bathroom. Quick wash, teeth cleaned, hair brushed and uniform on, check. A cup of tea is the first order of the day. No make up for me this early in the morning, I would rather have extra time in bed.
Cup of hot steaming brew in my hands I look out of the window. The lawn is white over with an early frost. The birds are singing and I have time to admire the buds on the shrubs and the first daffodils looking for the spring air. Did I say Spring, brr it feels more like the depths of winter, but the sunshine is telling me a different story. Our garden is only small, what people describe as the size of a handkerchief. I ask you, 'how ridiculous does that sound?', or quaint, or fashionably small. But it has a small lawn-ed area surrounded with rose bushes and shrubs, and when they are all in flower it is very pretty. The holly tree at the bottom of the garden has already re-seeded itself and the little white flowers tell me that the tree is growing. Gordon has steam cleaned the bar-b-que area and is in a lovely contrast to the dark green grass.
The air smells of peat and coal and is filled with huge trains of smoke filtering across the sky from neighbouring houses burning coal fires. How I wish I had oil fired central heating. Push a button and instant warmth. Bliss. Instead I know I have to return home later to delve up to my elbows in ash and dust. Slight exaggeration there, but up to my forearms at least. Still, nothing replaces the homely feeling that comes from a coal or log fire. The spitting timber dropping sparks of golden yellow into the hearth, and the amber glow up the back of the fireplace from the coal is a welcoming sight. Dreams, if only I could afford a domestic to help me with the house-keeping, oh and the ironing, I would be a very happy woman.
I can hear the sound of traffic in the road nearby and know it is time I should be making a move for work also. The car windscreen is covered in ice and my once deep red car looks pink this morning. My breath can been seen with every step I take and my finger tips are letting me know it is icy outside.
I am very brave, Jonny needs me this morning. Tuesday is the day he goes swimming with the school, so I defrost the old girl, (car) and trundle along to Jonny's house. Always a pleasure as he runs to greet me. Usual routine again, "Morning Annette", "Morning Davey", then in the house through the back door, up the stairs where I am told the snake has got out again, and into the bathroom, quick as a flash, to help Jonny shower. I very hesitantly make my way to the airing cupboard where I hope not to find Cleo the snake hiding, grab a towel and run with Jonny into his bedroom. A quick look under the bed assures me that Cleo is not under there either. Thank goodness for that, I am such a wimp.
On my way to Pat's I can see the frost thawing, the grass is growing and the wild crocus are in bloom along the hedgerow. Bluebells are growing in-between the groups of trees sitting on the roadside and I can see the wild primulas, bright yellow and orange, opening their petals to the sun. Killyleagh Castle is bathed with a pale red sky and beyond, just appearing over the disused chimneys of the old Killyleagh tannery, a beautiful blue sky is appearing.
It seems that this little bit of spring in the air has reached everyone. Opening Pat's door I can hear her husband, John, singing in the kitchen. Do I creep in quietly and make him jump or as usual, shout and let him know I have arrived. I decide on the usual. Pat, who suffers from Cushings disease, lies patiently in her bed for me to arrive and start her day with her. The sunshine is showing through the window blinds, casting shadows over Pat's bed to the lonely chair in the corner of the room. Pat is still sleeping so I gently wake her up and tell her of the beautiful sites I have seen on my way to her house. The newborn lambs, frolicking, kicking up their heels are shadow dancing with each other, and it reminds me of tales we spoke when I was little. "My dad's bigger than your dad", "well my dad can fight better than your dad" and so on. Oh happy days those where. Pat looks tired. We share the same birthday, Pat and I, and are strangely, very much like each other. As I put her clean nightdress on the radiator to warm for her, I find myself searching for her perfume too this morning, anais anais, very summery, light as a spring daisy, and a lovely smell altogether. I even comb Pat's hair away from her face this morning and leave her sitting up in bed to eat her breakfast. She looks so fresh today.
I decide to take the boys, (two dogs) for a walk along the quay. The tide from Strangford Lough is high and looks such a dark olive green colour. Steam is rising from the Dibney River as it flows under the bridge at the entrance of the quay. If it was night time, I am sure I would see those pirates with their barrels of rum that are often spoken about making their way into the smugglers cove. In the centre of the lough, where the sun shine has already reached, the olive green gives way to shades of emerald blue. The lough doesn't really have a shore line, but is rugged and rocky. It weaves in and out of tiny coves revealing the odd sailing boat moored ready for the spring season to begin. I would love to be on a boat, bobbing up and down in the tide. If we are very lucky we can see the occasional seal bathing in the deep waters. For now thou it is very quiet, even the sea gulls have not starting their chants, because despite the sun, it is still very cold. I want to throw off my hat and scarf and turn my face towards the sun, hoping to feel the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze. Instead, I close my collar and head for home.
As evening grows ever closer, and although the night are drawing out, my hopes of spring temperatures fade with the sun. I am now really appreciating the coal fire and put the toy boy taxi drivers slippers to warm and thoughts turn to food. A lovely summer salad or a stodgy soup. My heart cries salad, but my mind tells me soup.
Oh well I did see spring today, didn't I?