Blooming Nora, it’s freezing out there

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy New Year everybody. It seems ages since I last sat down to produce my usual weekly fare way back in mid-December.

Since then, I have been away for breaks at Inveraray and Dollar over the festive period, but I am now firmly back in harness.

Last weekend, I read an interesting article in one of the daily papers under the heading: ‘Wild Flowers Defy the Cold’.

In it, a survey carried out by botanists from all over the country during the first week in January revealed that an amazing 368 species of wild flower were in bloom. The textbooks say that at that time of year, only 20 to 30 should be flowering.

This total suggested that a huge 15 per cent of all flowering plants in the UK were in bloom.

It even went as far as saying that in Edinburgh, 39 species were found to be flowering.

Global warming has definitely arrived.

I couldn’t wait to get out and walk through these meadows of floral wonder.

On Sunday, despite the freezing wind and horizontal sleet, I ventured forth to witness this unprecedented spectacle. After two hours, I returned home, soaked to the skin and absolutely “nithered” to report that the sum total of my botanical extravaganza was one clump of snowdrops (photographic evidence attached) and some hazel catkins.

The article concluded “We thought that the snow and hard frosts before Christmas would have finished most of the flowering in the north but it seems not to be the case.

However, there was no suggestion of an early spring”. Where do they get this stuff?

Binoculars are probably the birdwatcher’s main tool and over the years I have had a succession of different models.

I have always tended to go for cheap and cheerful as I am always knocking them against drystane walls, dropping them or getting them soaked.

My last pair was under twenty quid at Lidl and after a year have sadly fallen to pieces. I have decided to bite the bullet and go upmarket and am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of a swanky new pair which will be smaller, lighter and more able to withstand the weather and rough treatment meted out to them. Watch this space to see how I cope.