Went for a walk round the perimeter of our small village at the crack of sparrows this morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and with it being so early, not another human in sight or sound. We live in the broad valley of a meandering river, surrounded by arable land criss-crossed by footpaths, a disused railway line, and relatively quiet country lanes - perfect walking country straight from the door.
Today there were ethereal dandelion clocks in a field of juicy grass, a cock-pheasant tight-rope walking along the top of the Old Vicarage gate, inquisitive cows, fleeing bunnies and the first cuckoo of spring to delight us on our ramble.
And there were either rooks or crows. My dad has been reminding me for 50 years how to tell the difference. It goes like this, "One crow on its own is a rook. Lots of rooks together are crows". Or it could be the other way round ..... His other useful nature tip is how to tell a weasel from a stoat. (One day you might need to know this - pay attention now.) A weasel is 'weasily distinguished' and a stoat is 'stoatally different'. Ah, we country folk, doesn't take much to amuse us.
One of the treats at this time of year is the wood full of bluebells. The horizontal shafts of early morning sun were stabbing through the trees and warming up the flowers, and the gentle breeze wafted their scent a hundred yards to greet us.
Ain't life grand?