Wonderful. Feeling a bit more alive today than I have done for nearly a month, I decided to venture outside the office this lunchtime and have a bit of a soft shoe pootle around Clifton, where I work. My walking pace wouldn't have won any triathlons, but it was fabulous to be out in the cold, still frosty, sun washed air. Mind you I did have an ulterior motive as walking in to work today I spotted my first snowdrop of the year. Which was just so inspiring.
And so as a record, I took this atrocious photo (the one below is even worse). This is the problem with having an idea but only having my Blackberry with me. These snowdrops, and other bulbs, are in a private garden, and under a magnificent magnolia. They give a riot of colour each year and it always lifts my spirits to walk past as the snowdrops give way to daffodils, which give way to tulips and bluebells and all under a crown of magnolia blossom.
But today it was snowdrop day. That photo above really is awful, I must apologise. But it's proof if proof were needed. The trouble is it was taken through a metal fence and the snowdrops were 20 feet away - that's my excuse anyway. But note to self. Carry a proper camera with me at all times, spring isn't far away!
Anyway after this I pootled up to the Catholic Cathedral where there are early flowering daffodils planted around a horse chestnut tree. I have written about these daffodils before, and looking back on the 10th December 2007, they were just as high. That's when we had warm winters and by mid January I'd have whipped my vest off and unleashed the sandals. The winter of 2010/11 is a bit too much like proper winter for sandal wearing in January. Not without thick grey knee socks at least!!
But what a treat to see them poking through. For Christmas this year Julie bought me 2 big pots of paperwhites which when they arrived were about an inch high. A few weeks in the house and they're a foot high and flowering profusely. The scent they exude in the kitchen is wonderful.
Speaking of scents, on my way back to the office I inhaled an elixir draft of honey walking past a garden. A Christmas box was in full flower. This one I believe is Sarcococca hookerana var humilis (feel free to correct me). But, boy what a scent. Pushing my nose deep into the flowers it was really like being bathed in honey. Early spring flowering plants and shrubs are one of my favourite things in gardens. So unobtrusive, but they quietly go about making a big statement on sunny days. A perfect end to the walk.
Time for a cuppa I think............