Column: What a cheering sight after days of grey cloud

Several of my neighbours have clumps of snowdrops starting to open, which is a cheering sight after so many days blanketed in grey cloud recently.

It’s quite early for snowdrops and I am a bit jealous of these clumps of delicate white over the fence, since the snowdrop and I have a difficult relationship.

Over the years I have tried everything to get them to grow in my garden – different locations, buying them in the green etc., but they flower for one or two years and then just refuse to come up one year.

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There is just one that comes back year after year at the back of the garden and with binoculars you can see it from the dining room window when, come February, its tiny white flower shines out against the wall.

But I have had to resign myself to the fact that the massed clumps of snowdrops that look so good elsewhere are not to be mine.

On a brighter note, we have now had the shortest day and, almost imperceptibly, the days are starting to get longer – although this is more noticeable to begin with in the evenings (with sunset occurring later at a faster rate than sunrise occurring earlier).

Whether one notices much difference in the day length at first or not, it is cheering to know that the light is returning.

The birds seem to be singing more as well, as if they, too, are pleased that the winter solstice is past.