This winter was cold and wet, and seemed to go on forever. The storms started in December, just before Christmas and continued until the end of February. It seemed like it would never stop raining. There was bad flooding in areas near us, but not in our area this time. The main effect of the storms for us was that it kept us off the muddy footpaths and instead we walked on the lanes through our village.
In mid-December I started taking a photo of the weather each day and posting it to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you look through the photos you see that even in a period of bad weather, we get many sunny days. Or sunny parts of the day (if you don’t like the weather now, wait a few minutes and it will change).
Even with all the rain, the bulbs bloomed at the start of February. There was a patch of crocuses on the road in Painswick that was gorgeous (I am not positive these are crocuses, but I can’t find the Facebook post where Marta told me what they were).
March was pretty good and we went back on the walking trails. After such a wet winter, everything seemed to bloom at once. There were daffodils everywhere. The garlic flowers and bluebells filled the woods several weeks earlier than usual. But it was March, so the weather was still back and forth – sunny one day, rain the next. At the end of March a strange weather patterned moved in, bringing sand from northern Africa. Our car was covered in golden dirt. It also brought high pollution levels to the London area.
We spent the first two weeks of April in Sicily (our first trip there – will post about it later) and had wonderful weather. Sunny and in the high 60s – low 70s. We returned to sunny weather here. Since then it has been typical April, with days of sun and days of showers. Sometimes both, switching back and forth all day long.
It was sunny and beautiful this morning so we walked into Stroud. On my Ordnance Survey map I found a direct route of footpaths across the fields and farms from Painswick to Stroud. It was a delightful walk. When we started it was sunny, but we had our rain jackets in our packs. Five minutes into the walk it started to sprinkle, so we stopped and put our rain jackets on. The rain stopped. Then it was windy which made it cold. Then the sun came out and the rain jackets went back into the packs. We made it to Stroud in 1 1/2 hours of easy walking, waited 10 minutes for the hourly bus, and took it back to Painswick, a nine minute ride. Public transportation is not cheap in this country. It costs £2.00 for that one way nine minute ride. Fifteen minutes after we got home, the skies opened and it poured rain for half an hour. Now it is sunny again. So goes Spring in England.
Summer is around the corner – you can feel it. The days are long. I packed away our hats and scarves. We hope to do a lot of walking in the next few weeks and then we are off to southern France for the last two weeks of May. We return to Uzes in the Languedoc for a week (we spent a few weeks there last year and loved it), then we are going to Forcalquier in the Haute Provence area east of the Luberon (a new area for us).
I hope we will return to have a long, sunny English summer, as a reward for that wet winter!