No Spring has been as late as this since 1964. Temperatures hover between 0 and 5 degrees Celcius. Going outside requires a scarf, thick gloves and an overcoat. A few straggly snowdrops have appeared and a smattering of draggly crocuses. The daffodills have been tight buds for weeks now. No sign of the grape hyacinths. The ornamental cherry that often flowers in December shows just a faint haze of pinkness on the twig tips. Some days a few Great Tits visit the peanuts hanging from the May tree and we have had one nut attack from a newly awoken squirrel. The grass is yellow-green, but the moss is dying. There are faint white buds on the magnolias. A flame-of-the-forrest has wispy pink flowers, but no red bracts.
But, astonishingly, one camellia is smothered with bright red blooms; a gory gash against the shiny green; a defiant statement of scarlet promise.