tiny gold eyes.

Just now I watched the television news, showing images of the country blanketed in snow on this day last March. But today, it’s a very different story, warm and sunny, spring sunshine breaking through the naked branches of the trees surrounding the allotments. Its rays warm and welcome, I turned towards it’s yellow glow, closed my eyes and felt it’s warmth.

Earlier we had eaten sandwiches on Hampstead Heath, on a picnic blanket under a birch tree upon lush green grass. Unimaginable a few weeks ago, in all the dark, the cold and relentless rain. But the clouds have passed for now and spring is here.

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Nancy and I left the picnic, walked over the heath to meet Allan.

The plot somehow looked like it had shrunk over winter, smaller than it seemed on my last visit. Maybe that’s because there isn’t much planting space available. Our winter crops are still there. The winter salads were failed to reach any sort of size before winter was upon them. Only now are they starting to look healthy and strong. The same could be said of the chicories, another year when they were either in too late or not given enough space. Now they are looking beautiful, still (for a while) in their winter plumage.

Nancy called from the ponds. They were alive with interlinked frogs, pushing between mounds frogspawn, hundreds tiny circular gold eyes watching our every move, to a chorus of froggy croaks.

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Allan dug up an oversized radish planted last year and left. It looked more like a turnip, kept for it’s foliage as much as anything else. He sliced it very thinly with a pocket knife, it was surprisingly delicious.

The allotments were busy, lots of plot holders were there, digging, weeding, and sowing. It was an industrious place. Apart from plot 29 (us), where it was a biodynamic ‘non-doing’ sort of day. So it became a planning day, and a day to enjoy spring.

White frothing blossom on the blackthorn and plum trees, a bubblegum pink Magnolia flowering against the cloudless blue sky, birds singing for all they were worth (whilst gathering nesting materials) and the hawthorns spraying out acid green from all their spiny branches.

12_03_2014

Howard Sooley

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