Spring is officially here at last and of course we are on British Summer time, somewhat confusing and contradictory. In The Dales over the last few days we have had beautiful sunny days with clear blue skies from dawn to dusk, occasionally spoilt by early morning mist but atmospheric and dew dropping if nothing else. The dawn chorus is getting louder and longer each day and there is more than a hint of romance in the avian air. A swallow’s nest from last year hangs under the eaves of our house and is currently being spring cleaned and refurbished with wisps of dried grass and straw. A nesting trick our local community of sparrows has learned over the last few years, it certainly beats having to build your own. There have been a few skirmishes in recent time when the swallows have returned early or our spring has been late but ownership is usually handed back to the swallows without too much to do. Perhaps the sparrows understand the great distances that swallows travel and the effort required just to get here and are respectful of the visitors and the homes they created the previous summer. The returners will still spring clean for themselves and do a little modernisation before home is sweet again for the summer.

The house flies are beginning to appear in our conservatory warmed by the spring sunshine and although they are not welcomed with open arms, more likely a rolled newspaper, they are no less a harbinger of spring then the longer days, dawn chorus and romancing birds and should be greeted with a smile, a joy that spring is here: then hit with the newspaper!

Nature is bursting all around us with blossom laden branches, buds sprouting from every branch or stem, grass that’s green again and blue heavens instead of grey laden skies. It is spring, it may stutter and falter but it will prevail and summer will follow. Aren’t we lucky particularly in these wonderful Yorkshire Dales?