The word is out. Not from the snowdrops, who have been peeking up from the verges and in clusters around the base of the trees in the local park. They are rugged hardy survivors and harbinger nothing more than the turn of the year.
But today the blackthorn is in flower. Not everywhere, just in one sheltered copse in the small woodland that straddles the stream. The wrens woke me this morning with a different call. They have returned to being small silversmiths, hammering away at tiny cymbals. A magpie was carrying a stick to its nest; and out on the local lake, a kingfisher burst into a furious bubbling cascade of calls at the sight of a rival male.
But the surest sign is on the local playing field, where a fat pigeon is relentlessly waddling after an equally plump female, who is contriving to keep exactly two paces in front of him, while still managing to feed.
The great game of life has begun: It’s Spring.