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?
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?