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Spring song

March 28, 2014

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,, 28.3.14-1


and a newly-woken peacock butterfly alighted on the altar cloth like a blessing., 28.3.14-2


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., 28.3.14-3


Honey bees are busy in the first rhododendron blooms,, 28.3.14-4


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., 28.3.14-5, 28.3.14-6


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., 28.3.14-7, 28.3.14-8

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., 28.3.14-9

Feather caught on a cherry tree, with blossom about open.



You might enjoy Cherry blossom time already.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Karin Van den Bergh permalink
    March 28, 2014 11:24 pm

    Lovely post and such gorgeous pictures as well!! We finally, finally get to move on to the 50’s here in New England. Our daffodils will grow a little later but we’re getting there, we’re getting there..

    • March 29, 2014 5:32 pm

      Wait, your temperatures are above freezing? Yesss! 😉 I’m so glad to hear that spring is coming to you at long last.

  2. March 28, 2014 11:31 pm

    Lovely photos and words as always – how beautiful the light in the chapel and the butterfly on the altar! We have daffodils a-plenty. trees already in blossom and in bud – despite the wild hailstorm, accompanied by huge cracks of thunder yesterday, spring is here.

    • March 29, 2014 5:47 pm

      Thank you, Andrea. The butterfly was enchanting. I generally disapprove of photography during a religious service, but I just had to capture a quick shot (no flash).
      We had hail yesterday too, plus sunshine, and rain, and the odd snowflake, and a bitter east wind. Reassuringly normal March weather, in other words, after the wet winter! 🙂

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    March 29, 2014 3:55 pm

    A beautiful time of year. The Dunnock looks good, I adore their orange legs and their sweet song.

    • March 29, 2014 5:48 pm

      Dunnocks are sweet, aren’t they? I did not know them before moving to this area. They are always entertaining.

  4. Lorraine permalink
    March 29, 2014 4:08 pm

    What a blessing for you to witness such beauty in your chapel… The butterfly photo was truly spectacular – as well as those taken outdoors. Lovely, one and all. Thank you for sharing. It helps when the local daffodils are just barely poking out of the soil (near Chicago). But the days are longer and birds are singing – spring is on the way. Life is good.

    • March 29, 2014 5:50 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments, Lorraine. We did indeed feel blessed in the chapel the other day. I’m so glad that spring is coming to you at last after your Arctic winter! How welcome the longer days and the beginning of green must be.

  5. March 29, 2014 7:53 pm

    Your pictures are lovely, and remind me of what I enjoyed when we lived in the UK. You are so lucky to enjoy an early spring. I love seeing the daffs. We still have feet of snow and are about to have another day of snow fall.

    • March 30, 2014 7:30 pm

      Waiting and waiting for the season to turn is a dreary process: I feel for you with your continuing snow. Our seasons have been all over the place since I started taking note of them in my blog but, if there is still a ‘normal’, I would say that this is a pretty normal spring so far, for a change. Snowdrops in February, daffodils in March – and I am looking forward to blossom in April. I’ll keep posting photos for you!

      • March 30, 2014 9:36 pm

        I look forward to the pictures. Have a great spring!

  6. March 30, 2014 7:11 pm

    The pink light in the chapel, the butterfly, the bee and the feather- all marvelous photos! I used to think autumn was my favorite season, after a long, hot summer. This year it’s spring, after a long winter of darkness, with cancer and chemo. I am alive again, as is the landscape, and I am thoroughly enjoying every image of it, as well as my own experience.

    • March 30, 2014 7:35 pm

      Hello, Margaret, and welcome back to the world! I had noticed your absence and wondered…I am so sorry to hear of your dreadful winter. What a dark time. I rejoice that you have emerged into the light again – and am happy to share these moments of spring and renewal with you.

  7. March 31, 2014 1:30 am

    Thank you! I am still dealing with assorted side-effects, but am in full remission from stage 4 uterine cancer. It’s good to feel alive again!

    • April 1, 2014 11:21 am

      Wonderful. I hope you get some warm sunshine soon, so that you can just sit and soak it up while you recuperate. Look after yourself. 🙂

  8. March 31, 2014 10:34 am

    Simply beautiful photos – that butterfly on the altar cloth is stunning, especially with the light coming from the windows. It looks as if it has painted the fabric with its own colours! It’s such a joy to see the buds coming out on all the trees, and to hear the birds singing in earnest. Such an uplifting season, as you say – you can really feel the new energy.

    • April 1, 2014 5:58 pm

      Yes, the butterfly did seem to have spread its colours across the cloth. Beautiful. I keep noticing new green buds and leaves wherever I look now. Isn’t it wonderful!

  9. Nib's End permalink
    March 31, 2014 4:52 pm

    For me, butterflies have long been a symbol of Grace. How appropriate then to have one gracing your altar cloth during a baptismal service. Spring, butterflies and baptism…grace abounds! So glad you captured the moment to share with us.

    I am enjoying your spring vicariously. Here in my corner of Chicagoland, I am still “waiting for green, waiting for blue, waiting for frost to melt into dew…”

    • April 1, 2014 6:00 pm

      Grace: yes indeed, that is how it felt. That is how it feels. It’s just that (being British) I can’t admit that to many people! 🙂
      I am happy to share the coming of springtime with you while you wait for your own.

  10. April 6, 2014 2:01 pm

    Gorgeous photos, DB, and I’m glad spring has thoroughly arrived for you. I love the glimpses of your chapel (a private chapel – how wonderful!) and the deep symbolism of the rainbow-tinted altar cloth with its ethereal visitor.

    • April 10, 2014 12:00 am

      One day I hope you will see the chapel. It is very pre-Vatican II: when our present parish priest first came to conduct a mass there, he was rather flummoxed by its setup! By contrast, the energetic eighty-something-year-old Benedictine who celebrated the baptism was completely unfazed, taking even the gift of the butterfly in his stride.


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