Today is – or was – the first of February. The festival of Imbolc or Gwyl Ffraed. It doesn't, I think, mark the beginning of spring, that is still a little way off. It does however mark the real tangible evidence that spring is on its way, that winter has loosened it's grip and that warmth and the life it stirs will soon be back. Over the past week or two the weather has been noticeably milder, warmer and less like mittens and scarves weather. There are daffodil shoots running riot in the grounds of the museum and in the front gardens of houses and council estate lawns. There is a definite “feel” of change in the air.
That is of course until this afternoon. In typical fashion, the weather has turned to bitter, biting cold and snow. At this moment there is about 4 inches of snow here in south London and still it falls. Fat, fluffy flakes of it lining the roads and cars and turning the rather bleak view out of my bedroom window into something that might – for one night only- pass as beautiful. Winter in the UK is lazy. It comes along slothfully, allowing autumnal rains to keep falling on it's watch and not really batting an eyelid. It ponders along in a half arsed fashion until it's time is almost up and it is almost as if it realises it has nearly missed it's chance in its slothfulness and so dumps it true calling as late as possible and trespasses cold and snow into spring. Snow in march is not uncommon, I have heard of snowdrifts in the Scottish borders in may.
I was up at dawn today, just after half seven in the morning. I got up to light the white candle in the window next to the superbly timed flowering daffodilesque flowers in a small pot (the lady in the shop called them tête a tête, I say daffs), and say a few silent words to the Lady of today. Just after lunch I went to St Bride's church in Fleet Street – 7thC church, possibly oldest in London, maybe possibly site of an older Brigantia like spot/temple/shrine – to light a candle again and say a few words whilst sitting in a nice old building. As it was, it was locked. On a Sunday. Oh well.
I wandered back down to Blackfriar's bridge and threw an engraved copper disc into the Thames as an offering to her. This evening a toast of milk – appropriate – to three causes, whilst gazing past the daffs-in-a-pot at the snow piling up on the brick wall outside, on the black twigs of the scabby tree and on next door's washing on the line.
It does look beautiful.