And all of a sudden May is here. The trees are unfurling their fresh foliage, the veg patch needs tending, the bluebells are nearly over and the evenings are long. April felt like it was missing in action. Disappearing before my eyes like the early morning mist. I hope this isn’t an indication of how quickly the rest of the year is going to vanish.
April was a month of surprises. As the first month of spring we are used to expecting the showers, but the glorious sunshine of Easter seduced us into thinking it might even be summer already. Deer bounded in and out of my life, spotting them in fields by country lanes and in herds by motorways. On the way to school three of them stood on the ridgeline, heads held high, woven into the fabric of the lilting field, like wicker Christmas ornaments. Until they suddenly turned tail and pranced across the fields. Further on was a stark reminder of the chances they take on our roads. In Cornwall it was the barrel jellyfish which intrigued us. A whitey-pink mushroom bell, tinged with violet scalloped edges and decorated with 8 frilly tentacles, it is the largest jellyfish to be found in the UK. They have drifted on ocean currents for over 500 million years with no brain, heart or blood.
Around this time of year I look skywards. Swooping and swerving as if on an invisible rollercoaster I eagerly await the arrival of our house martins who nest in our eaves. Our house is also their home. We have several families which return each year and they raise one or two broods a year. The chirping of their chicks on a summers evening is reassuring and a favourite sound of summer. I had hoped we might have accompanied them back on the last bit of their long flight from Africa as we flew back from France, but sadly not. They still have not arrived and our house feels somewhat hollow without them. The space above the garden is empty. Our spring is silent. House Martins have declined in the UK, particularly in the south and east of England by 50 per cent between 1989 and 2014, and as such are on the amber list. It is possible that the weather has delayed their departure from Africa, they could still arrive this month. I will look to the sky every day in anticipation.
Update: May the Fourth! We returned from a day out and I glanced skywards. I heard them before I spotted them. The first two house martins were acrobating and cartwheeling over the house. They’re back!