I happened to be standing near the window when this brightly coloured bullfinch landed on the Japanese Cherry tree and began pecking away at the buds. Having decided that this was as good a breakfast as he was going to get, he stayed there tucking in, while I crept away and fetched my camera, and was good enough to let me take a few shots.
I was forced to take them through the window pane, so they lack clarity, but the impression is there and I hope he brightens up your day as much as he did mine. Because it’s truly dreadful here today! I just went outside to open up the greenhouse, and it’s a chilly, damp day: raining in that half-rain half-drizzle kind of way that soaks one’s coat and heart.
A few little gems shone out against the brown stillness. Five small cyclamen plants – a Christmas present from our son – are surviving the wet, having been planted out in a hurry! And when I rounded the corner of the house, I found to my surprise that my Winter Jasmine – a cutting from my late uncle which has grown huge – is covered in little yellow star-shaped flowers. I've tried to photograph these, but the wet conditions have made for rather poor results!
When I went out again this afternoon, I was able to catch a couple more of the cyclamens and some heather, although everything was even wetter than before.
It’s hard to feel positive against such a dismal background, but we have to try. I have found a certain escapism in a fresh bout of writing, and my third book is back up and running… slowly. But my reading has been forced to revert to ‘comfort books’ after an excess of binge-watching thrillers on TV over the Christmas and New Year period, combined with a challenging and particularly gruesome thriller, led to sleeplessness and bad dreams. If you are wondering what I watched and read to cause this, I will simply name a drama called ‘Stay Close’ which had me both laughing in grim amusement and turning away from the screen in horror. The book I’ve had to set aside is equally harrowing, but shouldn’t really be affecting my sleep. It’s a WW2 thriller called ‘Agent in Berlin’ by Alex Gerlis. The suspense in this is more powerful, because although this book is fiction it echoes so much real history about Germany in the late 1930s and at the start of the war. It’s an excellent book, which I will read, but not just now.
To some extent the way we have been living over the last couple of years is affecting all of us in odd and behavioural ways. In December, I began to write a blog on concentration - which everyone is finding difficult - but I’ve since read so many articles on the same subject that I fear I would be repeating them without any positive outcome. If you too are feeling rather low at the moment, just remember that you are not the only one, and perhaps take comfort from these two photos I also took this afternoon of bulbs which are constant in their annual flowering come what may. These little irises and the promise of daffodils are a promise of the good things yet to come.