The spring equinox has passed and this weekend we have put our clocks forward and jumped into British Summer Time. We are looking forward to longer evenings and an opportunity to be outside at the end of the working day. It was a perfect Mothering Sunday, with a celeste-blue sky all day and warmth in the sun. We walked in the Quantock Hills. Wills Neck is the highest summit (1261 feet). From the top you can see as far as the Brecon Beacons and over to Dartmoor and Exmoor. There is a long, slow pull to the meadows at the top and there was a bright, blustery breeze which tore our voices from our mouths and quickly chilled our cheeks. The woodlands were full of primroses and the first Chiffchaffs were shouting their arrival from the trees.
Back home, I spent a long time searching the skies for further swallows and am beginning to doubt my early (10 March) sighting. But that joyous, swooping flight is really distinctive, isn't it? I couldn't wish one into the sky today, but over the sunny, tumbledown wall on the edge of the garden there was another herald of Spring: a first Brimstone butterfly. Sharp as lemon against the terracotta bricks, he was unmistakable.