March 2011

Yes March is finally here.

March has at long last arrived much to my great pleasure. The weather in March is not normally something to shout about, however to me it is a much looked forward to transitional month. A month where winter gradually slips away and the emergent spring gives way to warmer climes. Daffodils are already open adding a first welcome slash of colour to the garden and grass is showing its first tentative signs of waking from its winter slumber. March is normally a busy time in the garden undertaking initial grooming and tidying up after the ravages of winter. The March winds are already here but I know they will subside as the month progresses, hence the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

In the West Country where I live, grass grows lush and profusely and is the reason why so much of the dairy industry is based here.

March also holds the potential promise of six months of good weather ahead. It remains to be seen if the British summer months fulfils that promise. Light in the evenings is already noticeably lengthening by about 2 minutes a day and I swear the psychological effect of lengthening days helps sap begin to rise in humans as well as the trees. I have been in tropical areas during most seasonal periods throughout a year although there, the seasons mainly seem to consist of either wet or dry and hot or hotter. There is little variation is daylight times and about 6pm every evening, the day rapidly gives way to night. Evening meals are normally eaten in the dark in the tropics. My Filipino mother-in-law once stayed at my home during the summer months and as we prepared to eat dinner about 8pm, she said she could not eat as it was still light. She would prefer wait until it got dark. When my mother-in-law was advised that she would be waiting until after 11pm to eat, she rapidly learnt the meaning of  the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” In this case it was when in England, eat while it is still light in the summer months.

March is also marks starters orders for outdoor activities be they domestic, social or sporting. The Grand National is the starting gun for national sporting events. It is the last race to be run jumping over hurdles or “sticks” as they are often known. The hurdles of the Grand National are however gargantuan by comparison and I often think the jockeys must have nerves of steel as the approach each jump in turn  to see what must appear a solid wall rapidly looming in front of them. There is little room for the jockeys to manoeuvre as they are hemmed in by the massed numbers of horses surrounding them on all sides. March is the last practicable month to run this race after which the ground begins to harden increasing the risk of serious injury to both horse and rider.

Yes March is finally here, let outdoor festivities at long last commence.

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