I am back in the UK to very pleasant temperatures of around 11 degrees. That won't sound particularly pleasant to many people, but having just been plunged back into an unbearably hot Australian summer with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees for days on end, I am relishing the late winter/early spring days now that I am back in England.
What I am not relishing is the lingering jet lag. I just can't seem to shake it and get back to a sensible sleeping pattern. It didn't help that I landed at 6am on Friday after 24 hours of near-sleepless travel. I was full of good intentions to stay awake as much as possible and limit myself to a two hour nap...
Nine hours later, I woke at 8.20pm. Disaster.
So on Saturday we devised a masterplan to get out in the cool, fresh air, admiring snowdrops as they come into their best. Crisp, clean, country air is a cure all. The snowdrops were a very pretty added bonus.
This is Cerney House Gardens in Gloucestershire. The woodland walk here is magical during snowdrop season. Great swaths of their pretty little blooms carpet the undergrowth, spilling down alongside muddy paths, and ring the bottom of ancient beech trees.
I have great admiration for snowdrops. They defy the freezing overnight temperatures to be the first flower to bloom each year. The thick, sodden, decaying layer of autumn leaf and winter debris on the ground can't hold them back, they push through it all, heralding that spring is surely not too far away
Just about every churchyard in England is visited by snowdrops at this time of the year. It makes for a lovely atmospheric and poignant scene. The Victorians associated snowdrops with death, owing to the way the little bell-shaped flowers bow their heads just above graves, appearing to mimic mourners in churchyards.
England, once again, delights as it shifts through the seasons. I thought my first autumn here was beautiful and surely couldn't be beaten. I can't imagine what true spring has in store.