One day, and such an alteration. Yesterday, the meadow was going mad; the anemones and scillas were out, the fritillaries were unfolding, the primroses were bulking up, the daffodils were really motoring.
Then the weather changed. The temperature dropped like a particularly hefty stone, but it wasn’t just that; it was the bitter, howling, perishing, ear-freezing, brain-befuddling, gate-rattling east wind, one of the reasons why the older houses in the village are tucked into the hill and have very few or no openings on their eastern side. There’s an expression for a biting east wind in Welsh: gwynt traed y meirw – wind from the feet of the dead. Derivation? Well, one story is that it comes from a battle in mid-Wales; there were no survivors and the only way people knew what had happened was the smell of putrefaction carried on the east wind. Lovely. (I remember reading a description of the way the landscape changes on the journey from Dolgellau to Shrewsbury: ‘…from a Mabinogion landscape, full of severed heads and hunting dogs, to English pastoral…’ Bang on, on both the landscape and the nature of Welsh myth.) Feel that east wind, and you die.
And it’s not just the daffodils. It’s everything (except for me and P – we kept warm by pruning and trimming and ripping up a huge hydrangea). The lush, vibrant crocuses are now flat and slimy. The primroses look as though they’ve ben hit with something heavy. The anemones are barely recognisable as having once been anemones:
and the house is full of daffodils.
I’ve run out of vases, but I really must find something more attractive than a tatty old plastic measuring jug…