PHIL CALVERT: Flowers never forget to grow

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I USUALLY like to get up fairly early, normally around 6-30am. Despite the ice on the pond and the frost on the car after yet another cold night, generally we have had dry weather, clear skies and increasing light levels. Indeed it is now light at 6pm.

I take a fairly leisurely breakfast, often featuring a fried salmon sandwich. Easy and quick to make, they are my (presumably) healthy alternative to a bacon butty, reassuringly I have never seen a horse with scales, and they reputedly have the added bonus of supposedly boosting brain power. On this I have my doubts, as increasingly I find I’m losing my marbles.

This manifests itself in many ways, and it is in the nature of the condition that I have forgotten most of them. Obviously lost spectacles are a recurrent theme, despite the fact they are often just pushed back and are still on my head. I go upstairs for stuff and find myself on the landing without any notion whatsoever of why I’m there, and end up going downstairs empty-handed only to then remember why I went up in the first place.

Slightly more disturbing is the situation where I have found myself standing in front of the kettle holding a hairbrush or just this week taking Monty for a walk with a bottle of milk in my pocket. What is going on?

To combat this I now have strict routines on my aspects of my life, but often this is interspersed with boiling kettles of water for no particular purpose. My credit cards go in my left pocket, cash in the right. Works keys in my left jacket pocket, house keys on the right and my mobile phone in my top left pocket. This part of my routine never varies, but still sometimes keys seem to be able to jump pockets. Unfortunately, I often find myself ready to go to work with all my hats and fleeces on, only to realise I have forgotten something else and have to take my boots off and go back indoors.

Thankfully I’m not alone. A very good friend who manages staff numbering hundreds and who is extremely bright was going to a meeting wearing casual clothes, when he heard a slight grating noise on the car roof. He was just in time to see his posh shoes slide down the rear windscreen on his car. He pulled over to recover them intact only to realise his suit was missing too. He drove back 10 miles and spotted his suit, clean and undamaged at the side of the road, and was then horrified but also relieved to find his mobile phone and wallet safely in the pockets.

Fortunately, plants do not have to rely on memory, their behaviour instead being governed by biological clocks, prompting them into growth in a complex relationship of day length and temperature. So late is spring this year that you might be forgiven for thinking some plants had forgotten to grow. But fear not! The crocus flowers at the Keirby roundabout are now in flower and the daffs in heavy bud, just waiting to burst into flower as soon as the night time frosts ease and general temperatures rise.

Through the ice on our pond I can see the frogs, many already paired up, waiting for the thaw, which surely cannot be long now, and the beginning of their breeding season. A magical moment. Be assured it is all about to happen. Nature will not forget.

No, that privilege is reserved for the likes of me. Mind you I can’t be that bad as so far I have not found myself standing in the bath unsure of whether I am getting in or getting out ... but I know someone who has!