Monday 22nd April
As we drive backwards and forwards most weekends we cannot help but notice the state of the trees which tend to line the motorway. They are almost all green now, but not with leaves. They are a sweet limey green and are covered in moss or lichen from all the rain, but hardly any of their buds are open as yet. Last Easter everything was green with new spring leaf, but it is as if we are a month late now. The gorse bushes are just opening out into yellow flowers, and like Wordsworth we are surprised every now and then by a host of yellow daffodils, all turned with their faces towards the sun.
We have a chestnut tree outside our sitting room window and it is just the right height to observe the buds, they are bulging and a whitey green colour and in a day or two if this warm weather continues they will burst into life as leaves. Then we will really know the spring has arrived. I can remember as a five year old in infant’s school, and we had a bit of twig in a jam jar of water on the window ledge. The bud was dark brown and sticky and every day we were asked to look at it to see if the bud was getting bigger. I cannot really remember the leaves emerging, bud the sticky touch and brown colour has stayed with me. We also had pussy willow, and lots of wild flowers in our classrooms, and would regularly go on nature rambles down country lanes, observing the buttercups, and meadow orchids and cow parsley and bull rushes, and the buds on the trees.
I expect that there is no time for that sort of thing nowadays, and besides it probably isn’t in the National Curriculum, or maybe Ofsted would mark you down for indulging these children. But despite all that kids are crammed with nowadays I am amazed at how little of the world they know. On Junior Apprentice recently both teams had to obtain some objects, one of which was a votary and another was a candelabra. Neither team of five very bright and precocious kids had ever heard of either. And I wonder how many of them will even notice the buds on the tress, and wonder when they will actually open.