The First Day of Spring

Hellebore: Noodler’s Ink won’t dry when it’s so cool.

Today is the first day of spring, at least meteorologically speaking, but, with a cool breeze this afternoon, the temperature here in the back garden is a wintry 45°F, 7°C.

As a change from Apple Pencil and iPad in the comfort of my studio, I decide to spend an hour drawing in the garden.

The Noodler’s Ink in my Lamy fountain pen won’t dry when it’s so cool, so I move on to a UniPin fine line fibre tip.

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night

Perhaps encouraged by the supermoon – which was 10% brighter than the average full moon – a blackbird was singing at 2.30 this morning.

Long-tailed tits feed on the fat-balls a couple of yards away from me as I draw the hellebore.

wood pigeon flies overhead, spots me and veers away.

blue tit eyes me suspiciously from the feeding pole.



The fibre tip isn’t fluid enough for me to work as quickly as I’d like on sketch of a log pile by the holly hedge, so I try my Lamy Safari fountain pen. Lamy ink isn’t waterproof, so it runs into my watercolour but I try to make the most of the effect.

Snowdrops do well around the pond and under the hedge at the end of our garden.


snowdropsblackbird43ºF, 8ºC, 10.15 a.m.: In the back garden a robin is singing; a pair of magpies call raucously; a blackbird splutters in alarm and house sparrows chirp continuously from the hedges.

A fragment of shrivelled crab apple drops on my sketchbook, then another. There’s a male blackbird seven feet above my head in the branches of the golden hornet. Blackbirds and thrushes prefer the fruit after the first frosts of winter, when it has started turning brown.

bluebottleIt’s warm enough for me to spot a bluebottle investigating the snowdrops which are now in flower in foamy strands along by the hedge in the meadow area and here by the raised bed behind the pond.

I’ve been reading up on botany recently: the petals and sepals of the snowdrop appear identical so, as in other monocots, they are called tepals.  The leaves don’t appear to grow from a stem but there is a short squat stem which lies hidden in the bulb. 

Snowdrops by the Pond

pond sketch view from pop-up tent10.30 a.m.: Snowdrops are at their freshest around the pond so I set up my pop-up tent and start a sketch in the gusting wind and passing showers.

Before the afternoon rain sweeps in I roll up the tent into its dustbin lid-sized bag. I can never quite work out how such as large tent fits into such a small bag but it does, in what seems to me like the most tent folderillogical and inelegant fashion. I resort to grabbing the writhing figure-of-eight coils and pushing them to the middle. I’ll try and practice with it on a regular basis until it becomes second nature.