The Spring Month
April a real spring month, one quarter of the way through the year. Summer has got a grip on winter. Snow can be expected any day in April. Lambing is under way on the Marsh although the farmers with sheltered sheep have lambed indoors and the lambs are rapidly growing for the early market. If April is warm we can expect our first swarm of bees in the latter weeks. The bees have come through winter well this year., their numbers have been swelling every day since January.
On the forth of March I noticed the Black Headed Gulls had already got their summer plumage and a pair of Shell Duck on the River Breed at least ten days early so perhaps they fortell a warm dry Spring. Daisies showed their heads when the shone in March, another good sign.
Rooks appear to be deserting the large trees in the Grove this year I wonder if it could be a sign that the trees are going to die? Next year will tell if they all desert the trees will soon die as the Rooks build their nests in the outermost twigs and understand that dead twigs at the top of the tree are too brittle to support their nests.
Easter is late this year, so the Cuckoo and Swallows could beat the early holiday makers to Rye this year. Look out for the fruit blossoms but don’t discard your vest just yet, remember the old saying ‘ Don’t cast a clout ’til the May is out’. May is the white snow like blossom of the Hawthorn, not the month of the year. The Northern Hawthorn will blossom in the last week of April followed by the Southern Hawthorn in early May. Both varieties are prevelent in this area.
The Pusssy Willow and Hazel will have shed their ‘catkins’ and be coming out into full leaf. Buds have burst on most shrubs and trees are coming into leaf. Bluetits and Robins are having a field day feeding their young on all the new life bursting out around them in the form of catapillars and grubs.
Everywhere you look new life is appearing. The ditches and hedges are filling up in their bottoms with wild flowers and plants to bloom next month and throughout the summer.
Looking back in my diaries for the 1960’s I see that every April there were falls of snow every year. One year there were six inches of laying snow and we went with a tractor and trailer the following day and recovered thirteen dead new born lambs. I have noticed over the years that there is allways snow, at least in the air, on at least one day every April. This is despite the current trend that they call ‘Global Warming’. There are many times in April when poor old Mr. Cuckoo wishes he had left his summer holiday until a month later!
On the subject of global warming and climate change I heard on the radio the other day that not only in Brazil but in other places on Earth now, THEY have discovered that the magnetic field below the Earth’s crust has significantly moved, although the man on the radio stressed the fact that we are not to get too worried and that this had nothing to do with global warming and there is no record in the rocks or fossils that this has ever having happened before. Watch this space.
At the Bonfire Boys Dance in February the Mayor of Rye, Peter Dyce spotted my 1959 Rye Bofire Society tie. He asked me if I would like to present it for auction in aid of the Rye St. John Ambulance. I gave him my treasured tie, gravy stains and all. He said it would fetch £5 with a bit of luck. On the night it reached the fabulous price of £75. I have been searching around at home for another one ever since. Alas I never found one so it’s a trip to Bennetts for a new tie.
I am pleased that there has been such a great response to the Mayor’s Appeal for Rye St. John. They always attend Rye Bonfire and picked me off the cobbles in front of the Police Station on Bonfire Night 2001 when I collapsed in Glycemic Coma. They released me later after extracting a promise from me that I would slow down and see my Doctor next day.
Over the years hundreds of boys and girls have been trained by Rye St. John in the skills of first aid. Many have gone on to become nurses and even doctors. They deserve our help to allow them to carry on their fine work.
Rye’s Own April 2003
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