We have been quite busy at the castle in the past couple of weeks. The energy of Springtime can already be felt, in human goings-on as much as in the rest of nature. Our events season is beginning, with the first wedding of the year already having taken place. Castle Beastie is fairly unusual in having its own chapel, which makes for a gorgeous setting for religious services.
In the past fortnight, this beautiful neo-Romanesque building has been the venue for both a family Christening and for a charity concert of traditional fiddle music. Rose-tinted sunshine streamed through the stained-glass windows during the baptism,
and a newly-woken peacock butterfly alighted on the altar cloth like a blessing.
The concert, too, was a memorable occasion: a chance for once to sit in a pew and just listen, and look, the lilting music of fiddle and ‘cello filling the vaulted chapel like sunlight.
Outside in the castle policies, meanwhile, the lengthening days of sun have brought spring galloping on. The snowdrops are finished now – a month earlier than in last year’s late spring – and the wild daffodils are coming into flower at the edge of the fields.
Honey bees are busy in the first rhododendron blooms,
and the birds are busy foraging and establishing their territories. I saw a jackdaw wrestling with a twig longer than itself yesterday, while its mate chased a squirrel off ‘their’ tree. In the kitchen a couple of days ago, I was distracted by someone at the window, loudly insisting on my attention. It was a dunnock or hedge-sparrow, telling me exactly what he thought. Whether it was food he wanted (in which case he was at the wrong window, as the bird feeder is on the next one along) or whether perhaps he had spotted his reflection and was arguing with it, he sat chirping loudly into the room for several minutes before flying off to try his luck elsewhere.
Even the trees are showing signs of energy: the trusty horse chestnut is already coming into leaf, and the nothofagi (South American beeches, whose Latin name I always struggle to spell!) are well ahead of the other broadleaves, looking properly green already.
Isn’t spring a lovely time of year? More even than autumn, it reminds me of why I so enjoy living in a temperate climate. Perhaps the British are professional moaners about the weather because our turning seasons always give us something to talk about, always changes to notice. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You might enjoy Cherry blossom time already.