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Curiouser and curiouser

March 26, 2013

What simple animals we are at heart. The sun has just – briefly – come out for the first time in ten days or so. For a moment the kitchen was flooded with light, the daffodils blazed in their jug on the kitchen table, the prism on the window threw rainbows around the room and all was right with the world. A minute later, the clouds cover the sun, the interminable snowflakes begin to fall again and my mood falls with them. Ah well. A moment of sunshine is better than none at all!

Climate change experts tell us that we can expect our weather to be increasingly unpredictable from now on. (They predict the unpredictable, in fact.) Local, short-term, unscientific evidence would seem to support their view. Last spring was very curious: after a mild wet winter with storm force winds we had an exceptionally warm March which brought greenness and flowers much earlier than usual. This March, it still feels like winter. The sycamore which looked so inviting to sit under this time last year…


is today gaunt and grey as the wind whips snow through its bare branches.



Brrr. However, we have escaped the ice-storms and freakish snowdrifts that have cut off parts of the country and have brought misery to farmers and livestock: our daily snowfalls seem to melt away as quickly as they arrive. This afternoon’s whiteout was gone from the fields within twenty minutes.


And there are plenty of signs that spring is ready to let rip just as soon as this curiously snowy weather warms up a little: green bluebell shoots in the woods, leaves breaking out on the elder bushes.


How we will relish spring when, at last, it comes. 


Icy lochs, swans and an early wedding featured in March 2010, in a portent of spring.

P.S. Thanks to those of you have discovered Dancing Beastie through Kate Davies‘ wonderful blog. There is, alas, no knitting here: you’ll find trees and deer and the occasional bit of crafting instead. What we do have in common is recovery from brain injury and a love of bouncy black dogs. Keep in touch!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Toffeeapple permalink
    March 26, 2013 7:26 pm

    It doesn’t seem possible that your tree looked so different last year. I heard about the sheep and lambs being lost and dying in the snow drifts, such a sadness for the farmers who have reared them. I really do hope that the nastiness changes very soon to loveliness.

    • March 27, 2013 11:42 pm

      Me too. I don’t mind the snow – at least in moderation – but we could all do with a bit of greenness now I think!

  2. March 26, 2013 7:31 pm

    Hello from a new reader from Switzerland, who has indeed found you through Kate Davies… I’m not a knitter, though; just a lover of all things Scottish. The weather here with us is just as unpredictable as in Scotland, snow all day today… and it’s not melting away that quickly. So looking forward to spring, it will arrive – sooner or later and will surprise us with all its glory, don’t you think?!

    • March 27, 2013 11:44 pm

      Hello Heidi, thanks for coming by and for taking the time to comment. It sounds as if quite a lot of us in the northern hemisphere have had a strange winter (while in Australia they have had record heat waves). Spring will be so wonderful and we have it all to look forward to!

  3. Tracey permalink
    March 26, 2013 8:55 pm

    I did come by your blog through Kate’s blog. It is just fine that there is no knitting. I have other things in common with your love of nature, I had a TIA (nothing as severe as your and Kate’s troubles) which cause minor issues at first, I have 2 black labs, and my heritage is Scottish. So there is plenty in common. Thank you for writing!

    • March 27, 2013 11:47 pm

      Hi Tracey and welcome. I wish I could knit Kate’s beautiful designs but I just cannot get my head (and hands) around knitting, try though I have over the years. So I’m glad that there are other things here that appeal!

  4. March 26, 2013 9:03 pm

    That’s the value of taking photos of trees – a chronicle of the progress of the seasons, year on year. I actually don’t remember much about last March, so it’s good to have you to re-situate me!

    • March 27, 2013 11:50 pm

      I do like to be able to compare the years, especially the coming of spring. Plenty of Victorian vicars (and the odd Edwardian Lady) seem to have had the same weakness. Blogs make it easy, which is one of the reasons I like to keep this going.

  5. Liz Davey permalink
    March 27, 2013 10:35 am

    Greetings from Warwickshire, where we are under our third blanket of snow of the winter and boy is it cold. I think we are in the eighth day of spring and it is snowing again. But, the cold has meant it has been the most wonderful winter for snowdrops, which have been flowering since January. The leaves on the honeysuckle in the wood came shortly after Christmas (the last flowers having withered at the beginning of December) and before the snow came there were shoots of bluebells and wild garlic!

    I found Kate’s blog through your blog and in the way of web surfing found a friend from university through Life on a Small Island’g blog. Small island, small world!

    • March 27, 2013 11:57 pm

      Hello Liz, I’m glad you found your way to Dancing Beastie. It’s nice to hear your nature notes from Warwickshire, not least because my father grew up there and I used to visit my granny there as a child: many happy memories.

      Your spring growth started earlier than ours this year, but even here I have noticed the honeysuckle leaves growing all through the snows. It looks such a delicate plant too! Our snow just keeps on falling here, day after day after day….

  6. March 27, 2013 11:14 am

    I love the stark contrast in those two images of your majestic sycamore tree. It sums up this March perfectly. Here too we had the honeysuckle leaves budding and breaking out before all this snow came, but I’ve yet to see a daffodil in blossom in the garden. The shoots are all buried deep at the moment and I’m sure won’t flower until May. 🙂

    • March 28, 2013 12:01 am

      How extraordinary to get to the end of March without a single daffodil flowering in your Welsh garden! Normally I start to look for them around St. David’s day. Perhaps spring will eventually arrive in a great jumble, snowdrops and daffs and bluebells and tulips all at once. Short but glorious. 🙂

  7. Ann permalink
    March 27, 2013 2:25 pm

    I did find you through Kate’s blog and have enjoyed reading it so much. I feel like I’m getting in touch with my Scottish roots where my great grandparents spent their early years before coming to the US.

    • March 28, 2013 12:02 am

      Welcome, Ann. I’m so glad that you are enjoying Dancing Beastie. The Scottish diaspora is greatly valued here in the mother country!

  8. March 28, 2013 12:38 am

    Even that tree looks angry and so tired of winter. Snow does bring moisture, though – pretty valuable around here as the ground here is already parched.
    Saw a yellow butterfly today – we have had monarchs almost all year the past few years – despite the sudden freezes. But that yellow one – maybe it does mean spring?

    • March 28, 2013 7:19 pm

      A butterfly, goodness – is that very early for you? It’ll be ages before we see any here. That tree does look rather grim, doesn’t it. At least we rarely have a problem with drought in Scotland – so far anyway! 🙂

  9. March 28, 2013 3:56 pm

    I can’t believe how little snow you have; I imagined you would have six-foot drifts up there! There seems to be no reason why some areas are free of snow and others have drifts up to the rooftops. But I share your need for some serious signs of spring. It’s time for the weather to stop playing silly games!

    • March 28, 2013 7:21 pm

      Yes, isn’t it? And I agree, the snow seems to be making no sense. We have had fresh snow every night for nearly 2 weeks and wake up each morning to white fields and branches; but it is almost all gone by mid-morning. Yet the snow-gates are closed just a few miles up the road.

  10. March 29, 2013 1:24 am

    We are having the same here in the eastern U.S. A lovely day here or there, and one thinks, ahhhhh, and then – more snow and slush which melts later in the day. I fear that this late spring means a short one, and that it will be 95 degrees in May. I will come to the shade of your trees for refreshment if it does! I will go check out Kate’s blog – did she get Freshly Pressed or something? Glad you’ve gained new readers. I love your blog.

    • March 29, 2013 11:44 pm

      Until I started blogging, I’d never appreciated how much of a link there is between weather systems in North America and northern Europe. I think our spring will be a short one too, even if it doesn’t lead to a hot summer.

      Thanks for your kind words. Kate was not FP’d recently, but she writes exceptionally well and has an exceptionally large and loyal group of followers – and she happened to mention Dancing Beastie kindly in a recent post! Hey, I’ll welcome readers wherever I can find ’em. 😉

      • March 31, 2013 2:42 am

        Great – I will check out Kate.
        Be sure to look at the blog I’ll post for Easter – I took pictures in my garden today! Hyacinth, forsythia, daffodils & Lenten Rose. Spring is finally here in the States!

  11. March 30, 2013 12:33 pm

    I’ve been feeling sort of sorry for all the trees with little leaf buds and the primroses covered in snow. This weather is crazy isn’t it? Deep down my Canadian brain is thinking snow in March is pretty normal, even snow in May sometimes happens… but for here…
    Seeing that picture you posted from last year is sort of jarring. But just think how much we are all going to appreciate spring when it finally does come!
    I hope you have a wonderful Easter anyway.

    • March 30, 2013 4:24 pm

      It is crazy. For Canadians it must seem pretty tame. Snow in March and April is perfectly commonplace in Scotland, too, as you will know; but for a day or two, not for weeks at a time, following on from weeks of snow over the previous 3 months! In spite of it all, the birds are singing their spring songs, the crocuses are blooming and the clocks are going forward. It’s going to be lovely when it warms up a bit. 🙂
      A very happy Easter to you, too.

  12. Caroline Waterlow permalink
    April 2, 2013 8:16 pm

    What an amazing difference in the ‘spring’ photographs of your magnificent sycamore tree.
    Happy to say that I worked in my garden and sat in the sun today – Tuesday after Easter. Thank you for your observations. Hope your head is better.

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