On a walk in the woods, and on field edges, I looked for signs of Spring and, lo and behold, they are plentiful; although the trees are still without leaves, there's colour and life all around, if you look closely enough.
There's a whole bank of golden celandine smiling at the observer; tiny little plants which are a pest in the garden, as they tend to spread relentlessly, but in the wild they are a welcome sight.
Nobody could ever be churlish enough to begrudge space to the wild primrose. Every year at this time I go to seek it out on a steep and narrow bank between the castle mound and the river, a secretive place, where the grey heron has sole fishing rights and
a rare curlew's mournful call can be heard.
Even here, in this almost unspoilt backwater, birds and flowers are disappearing.
I am glad that the few people who explore our paradise are walkers and nature lovers, who tread gently and quietly.
Nearer the village, garden escapees are colonising old walls. There are people who would like to see them 'tidied' away, but, luckily, there are enough fire breathing dragons like me to persuade them otherwise.
Once these delightful rock plants have taken hold, they are almost impossible to get rid of. A little judicious stuffing of crevices, when nobody is looking, helps them along nicely.
Who said hooligans are always destructive?
miniature daffodils and tulips are shooting up everywhere under the watchful eye of a red-hatted pipe-smoking old countryman, my one and only garden gnome, an expensive example of the genus, who was a present from a German friend.
He's made of china and has to be kept indoors until after the worst of the weather. He's likely to split his breeches otherwise.
He's already done so once and has been lovingly restored by another friend, who mended his broken body and then repainted him.
I would hate to part with him. Everybody is entitled to at least one piece of Kitsch in the garden; he is mine, a very much loved member of the household.
This is my contribution to the wonderful site Our World Tuesday where people from all over the world show off the beauties of their own regions.