Our UK winter has been horribly wet and mild, the wettest winter since records began, according to the Met Office and likely to be one of the mildest too. But I have a feeling this is just the calm before the storm. Already the temperature has dropped a couple of degrees this week and there has been snow forecast for the weekend. In fact, there were even a few flakes falling whilst I was outside taking photos.
In the garden, however, the plants don't seem to have heard about the forecast and that worries me. They seem to be getting reading for spring as if some unseen alarm clock has gone off and told them that winter is over.
It's quite right to be seeing snowdrops now ....
And even the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) ...
but the catkins, daffodils, the other Hellebores in the garden - even the Clematis Armandii - are too early and I wonder what effect that will have on the plants for the rest of the year.
Still, it's been a joy to see blue sky instead of the low blanket of grey that we've been living under for the last couple of months.
The dog and I were back at Orrell Water Park yesterday and we even saw the sun through the trees! It gives you a spring in your step and gladdens the heart (even if you can't see where you're going sometimes and end up in the mud).
There's been a lot of work done here over the winter to make sure that the streams are all free of debris and big enough to deal with the run-off from the farmer's fields further up. It's a good example of one helping the other - the fish (and the fishermen) at the Water Park ponds benefit from the pools being kept well-filled with new water and the fields are not water-logged so that the new crops are free to grow.
We've met this little chap before. He's obviously not afraid of visitors - even ones with big snuffly dogs - and was happy to pose briefly before hopping off in search of something to eat.
With the turn in the weather, I've put my socks to one side for now to concentrate on a new project. The mechanics at the garage who were fixing my brake pads are well-used to me knitting in their waiting room now as I've been doing it for years, although I wasn't knitting one of the mechanics a jumper as he suggested - these are mittens. Not just any old mittens, there's something rather special about these and I'll be showing you more this week.
Stay warm and dry!