After I had finished work at Reedley the other day, I decided to take Monty out for his daily walk. In recent days it had been cold, blustery and wet, but on this occasion, there was not a cloud in the sky. For the first time in a long time, despite the very cold air, I could feel the heat of the sun on my face.
Admiring the views to the north across the Calder valley, I was struck by the white-covered Bowland Fells. Nearer to hand there was nothing but the green of the fields, and along the towpath edges the shoots of daffodils, defying the cold urgently determined to push up flower buds as soon as possible.
The clear views, blue sky and this sign of spring, did not, however, detract from the fact the air remained bitterly cold, and with the accompanying wind chill it felt very cold. A thin wind indeed. I pulled up my collar, pushed my hands deep into the warm recesses of my coat pocket and pressed on.
Meanwhile, over in the west, a mass of dark cloud had appeared, and carried on the stiff blustery wind it seemed to be coming my way...fast!
I fed a couple of swans with some cornflakes and looked up to see that cloud drawing nearer. It seemed to have locked onto a target and that target was me. Time to head back.
I was perhaps just 200m off my car when the heavens opened and we were suddenly battered by a torrent of stinging hail. We half-walked, half-ran the remaining few yards to the car constantly peppered by hailstones, and it was with relief I gained the shelter, indeed sanctuary of the car. Even Monty, now generously dusted with white beads of ice seemed to be saying “What was that all about?”
Outside, everything had turned white under a carpet of hailstones. It felt like winter again. But despite this, spring is everywhere waiting closely in the wings. The daffodils are already in flower. We have primroses in bloom in the front garden and buds are starting to appear on the pansies in the tubs at the front door. In many trees and shrubs, buds are fattening, getting ready for bud-burst.