Verge of Spring

WE’RE HEADING down the M1 with an urgent consignment of Rhubarb and Liquorice; another batch of my Walks books for the distributor. The spring countryside is looking so inviting for walking so it’s ironic that we have to spend so much time delivering walks books when we’d really like to be getting out to walk ourselves!

Barbara is driving, giving me chance to scribble in a notebook. Scribbling is all that I can do to start with, as the little roads around home are bendy and bumpy, but I make a start with the sky, attempting to sketch and to write ‘100% cloud’, a contrast to the 100% blue sky that we had a week ago today.

When you’re getting into the mood for sketching or taking notes, you sometimes have to start with the abundantly obvious, just to break the ice and get you moving.

Dandelion and Gorse are in bloom and in the fields Oilseed Rape is starting to come into full flower so yellow is the dominant colour but in gardens there’s the dusky crimson of flowering currant alongside Magnolia and flowering cherries. Red Deadnettle brings a touch of crimson to disturbed ground by the roadside verge.

Collared Dove, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow are the birds that I jot down before we reach the motorway and, as we slow down because of a minor accident at Tinsley, I sketch Crows building their nest and a larger, domed Magpie’s nest (or possibly a Grey Squirrels drey?).

At Orgreave a large Red Fox lies by the road near the extensive open area of the old colliery site.

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