April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes; but the showers came so late in April that we shall have to see if the saying needs updating. Certainly I have never seen so much blossom, particularly on the fruit trees. Also in May, the cuckoo should sing all day. Has anyone heard it here? I have not. Is this another sign of climate change and it no longer needs to come to Britain to lay eggs in other birds’ nests. To continue the theme of birds and sayings: we are all familiar with distances measured “as the crow flies” and know exactly what is meant but it is only recently that, watching a crow flying over the paddock, I registered how straight and level they do fly: another example of visual aids! Finally, the almost- resident mallard duck and drake have succeeded in rearing ducklings on the Orchard pond. I counted seven little ones before the duck shepherded them out of sight, but I later counted twelve.
The vegetable patch is showing signs of serious neglect. The excuse is that it provides a varied habitat for all manner of wildlife, both vertebrate and invertebrate, above and below the soil. Dock, thistle, dandelion and goosegrass may be good for wildlife but are not welcome in the crops, hence the need for selective sprays. However, my free-range hens love goosegrass (also known as cleavers) so I have an incentive to keep it out of the garden.
Footpath Sunday was as popular as ever. Walkers, from both Epperstone and other areas, meet at the bottom of the steps to Holy Cross Church to choose their walks. Many bring their dogs, who are equally appreciative of a walk. On this occasion they all behaved impeccably; in fact it was suggested that there would soon be as many dogs as walkers. The afternoon tea, provided by the Women’s Institute, was as excellent as ever and possibly adds to the enjoyment of the occasion.
The programme for the Lowdham Book Festival is now out. It compares very favourably with the Hay-on-Wye festival in its range of activities and this year it will last throughout June in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the opening of The Bookcase.