top of page

A Variable Spring

We’re not quite there yet (February 12th) as there is sure to be an icy blast before it really does feel that spring has arrived, but the lengthening days (roughly 7.00am to 5.30pm from my amateur observations now) makes it feel as if winter is receding. The snowdrops are at their best too. I thought I’d have an annual visit this evening to Damerham Parish Church whose churchyard has a famous carpet of these lovely and delicate flowers. There they were as ever – and my visit coincided with the Church’s own celebration. Judging from the tyre marks on the road verge and car park field, plenty of people had joined in. Some brave daffodils are endeavouring to show too – following a rare display of winter cyclamen as far as my ‘wild garden’ is concerned. Maybe the forsythia will soon be next.

My play on words (Spring) recalls this week an explanation a solicitor needed on a land sale because on the day of writing, water was flowing across the field in question. I responded to his enquiry as to whether this was ‘flooding’, by sending him a plan to show the location of a winterbourne. Bourne means ‘an intermittent spring’ (…of water, of course, not the season!) in Anglo-Saxon, so a winterbourne is literally a spring that appears now and then in winter. Not really flooding in my view, but a satellite picture might have interpreted it as such. I didn’t find it easy to draw that map, as, today, there is no sign of an ‘intermittent spring’. It is now quite a few feet underground – the recent dry days have caused this natural phenomenon to have completed its task for another year and revert to the chalk sub strata. And next year (as in the last two, following a dry winter), it may well not show up at all. Consequently, there is no water on the surface now; just a contented crop of winter corn appreciating the sudden supply of nutrient-carrying water to its roots.

Such are the vagaries of our English climate, our English countryside and our English (language)! I suppose we should be thankful for these varieties of meaning – they are enough to ensure we can always have ….. a spring in our step!

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page