Saturday, 15 February 2014

Grumpy Hedgehogs

Is it me, or is it improbably clement at the moment?

Not long ago (October to be precise) I was lamenting the passing of Summer. It is true, I have dreaded being back in a land of winters, especially in an old stone house with archaic heating.

So my heart flutters readily at the sight of violets along the disused railway track; working up a sweat under the sunshine in the bay; hearing the chaffinch on my orchard bough. Can Spring be on its way already?

Yet alarm bells ring as I look for new buds on the hawthorn bushes, notice the catkins beginning to unfurl. The sun is shining, 'tis true and the air has a sweet balm to it, but I remember Weather only too well. Sunny days which start on a hillside ramble and end in sodden, footsore despair. Setting off shopping in a lightweight jacket  only to find I am shivering in the aisles as the clouds darken outside.

Call me a worrier, but tell me, what will happen to all the little hibernating creatures, lured from their winter slumbers by this precocious spell of warm weather? Setting aside the concern that if March brings snow and frosts, they will struggle to survive, their hivernale repose has been rudely interrupted. They will be lacking almost a whole month's sleep and if the human race is anything to go by, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc in so many ways.

Will this balmy early spring mean grumpy hedgehogs in 2014?