stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

After "blackthorn winter"

I hope its "after" blackthorn winter anyway - but who can tell how long it lasts.

In case you are unacquainted with the concept, its a time when the blackthorn - prunus spinosa - blossoms. This can happen any time between the end of February and April. You have been lured into putting tender young plants out in the garden and are just beginning to enjoy the balmy warmth of spring and WHAM. The blackthorn blossoms in the hedgerows, looking like snowy drifts and bringing hail, snow and icy blasts with it.

I had never heard the mythology about this before I moved to Dorset, but if you look at my photo of snow on the Welsh hilltops and have read any other UK bloggers posts the past few weeks, they will back me up.

However, yesterday seemed to spell the end of the cold snap, I hope. Here are a few photos of the warm day, beginning in my garden.

Small clusters of dwarf daffodils called Cheerfulness I think (a bit vague, sorry) They looked as if they were shining with an inner light as they sun lit them from behind. So lovely to see several small flowers on one stem.

The crab apple malus (variety " Gorgeous") that is still in a large pot on the patio, shows its tiny tight buds. I really must decide where to plant it this year!

The ceanothus that I had such fun cloud-pruning still survives. It looks a bit odd and leggy - not at all like the cloud-pruned pine tree as I had hoped. It is tied to the wall with a large piece of wire, but looks as if it is trying to make a run for it, and leans away from the wall in hate. But I cant bring myself to uproot it, when it looks so wonderful when all the tiny flowers make it a blaze of that amazing light blue-purple.

I met my good friend Gill for lunch and we put our boots in the car ready for a walk somewhere. My boots are still muddy from the last little outing, when more than my boots were covered in mud! You may remember my confession. And yes, Youngest Daughter is still laughing!

There is a Crocus Walk planned for the end of April, I believe it could be *fanfare and drum roll* the third annual such walk that has been organised by "the ladies". (See "time for tea" for last year) So we decided to do a recce ("reconnoitre" for those not understanding UK military slang) on the spur of the moment.

The first important task has been accomplished - deciding on the end location - the Tea Room of our choice. This year the location of the walk is the tiny village of Moreton. The tea rooms were the old village school.

Gill is Dorset born and bred, from a well established and widespread family. An excursion with her into the Dorset countryside is always enlightening. Partly because she is so knowledgeable about the environment and local history, and partly because she is nearly always related to someone in each village or farmstead!

Sure enough, when we went in to the Tea Rooms to book our group in for tea and cake after the walk (we have our priorities sorted!) there is a lovely display of old photos and memorabilia of the history of Moreton. She stopped in front of the first one. "Oh look there's a photo of my Uncle Walter and his twin brother, either side of that lady in the front" she said. "He lived till he was 90 you know"

More of Moreton and the Crocus Walk when it happens.


At 8:02 am, Blogger Rowan said...

The blackthorn winter is beautiful isn't it? It does nearly always bring bad weather with it though. I'd love to join you on your crocus walk - I love listening to people who know all the local history of an area. I do family history and try always to discover about the places where my ancestors lived - a sterling selection of ag labs, silk weavers and framework knitters. No ancestral mansions here I'm afraid, just cottages and little 2 up 2 down terraced houses. Just as interesting to me though.

At 11:40 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

I love being with people who are "rooted" So many of us are always on the move and have been transplanted so many times we tend to lean out in an awkward fashion like your ceanothus. I really like those boots as well!!

At 10:31 pm, Blogger Kerri said...

It's such fun going with you on your little jaunts. The tea rooms look like the perfect ending of your planned crocus walk. I just love the photo of all the folks with their teacups :) It would be so interesting listening to your friend Gill tell of local history.
We had only enjoyed 2 lovely days (April 2nd & 3rd) when our "Blackthorn Winter" hit.....and have only had one decent day since then I think. We're watching another snow storm in progress as I write this, with perhaps 8 to 10" expected. Hope your lovely weather persists.
I remember how old those excellent boots are (yours and the "Other Val's") :)


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