Friday, 30 August 2013


No matter the season of the year, there is always a reason to look forward to the next one. Even those cold, crispy, frosty and fresh snow days in the middle of winter, can be very enjoyable. Being wrapped up warm and returning with cold earlobes and a bright red nose helps to highlight the deep warmth of the boat stove. Its when the season begins to change and it turns to the wet, slippery slush that I don't enjoy. But it is nature giving notice of the change into the next season. 

Spring, arrives and its a time of new life, rebirth and renewal with the first of the snowdrops. Tough little flowers that everyone enjoys seeing, but they are to small to pick so they get left for everyone to enjoy. Still cold but refreshing, warm, beautiful, delightful and unpredictable. The first of the new seasons lambs start to arrive in the fields. The air changes and the sun starts to climb higher in the sky. The length of night shortens and the first catkins start to appear along with the first shoots of grass. The trees begin to make their buds swell. Evenings and nights are still cold but those sun warmed mornings are a joy. Later, daffodils and bluebells and birdsong in the morning speak of the summer, just a few weeks away. The canal seems to lose that stark look.

I always think its difficult to say when spring stops and summer begins. Bright fields of oilseed rape and the leaves on the trees start to loose that almost translucent green of spring freshness. The daisies arrive and Lambs frisk and play. But we get our attention diverted by a myriad of flowers that lay all around. Migrant birds like swallows and swifts take our attention. The rain is warmer and then there are those special hot blue sky days make us cast of our clothes and our inhibitions as we wear shorts, tee shirts and crocks. Holidays are taken and everyone seems to be happier. The canals are an oasis of sun dappled shade. There are Butterflies and Dragonflies along the rivers and canals. Summer storms with thunder and lightening soon clear the air once more.

As late summer draws towards a close, we see bitter crab apples in the hedgerows along with the ever so slow ripening of green blackberries. The leaves start to look old and sunworn. Those few untouched meadows full of wildflowers have started to loose their colour and soon the seeds will fall and the meadow will be cut for winter feed. Lambs have grown and are ready to provide a new harvest. Notice of the autumn is given.

This is the best time of year, autumn. There is something inside us that clicks with the autumn. We have seen everything grow, bloom and set seed or fruit. I suppose its a time of plenty and  a time when the life on the canal gives us the best perspective of nature. In a way we are on the inside looking out. Now we look at weather reports hoping for a few more days of sun. Enjoy it whilst you can, the winter is on the horizon and another year has passed. 


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