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Spring Giddiness - Eve's Commonplace
Spring Giddiness
This year I am drunk with Spring. Easter seemed a long time coming. Even the schools couldn't wait, and took their holidays early. But slowly Spring crept out. First, magnolias woke up all over London, then pretty camelias, then fistfuls of cherry blossom, then blowsy lilacs. At Kew we visited the snakes-head fritillaries, and smiled at the cheery banks of primroses in the railway cuttings on the way to Cardiff. Up and down the country, the wisteria started unfurling her flags, God's bunting for the Royal Wedding, and we walked on the cliffs at Whitby, where the gorse blazed yellow, reeking of honey. Then Easter, and Durham cathedral, bursting with music and sunshine. Later on we sat outside in a hot-tub on a terrace by the River Wear, watching cricket and listening to the birds, while the blue sky faded to purple and the stars came out. On Easter Monday we hunted for Easter eggs in an Edinburgh garden, where we had to put on sun-tan lotion it was so hot. Then we drove north through the sunshine, stopping off at quiet distilleries, until we reached the Albannach in Lochinver. I got up at 4am to see the dawn over Suilven out of my bedroom window, before we drove on to Plockton, where I bought a beach-glass and sea-shell sun-catcher, from a blind man who would never see how it made the Scottish sunshine dance. Then over the sea to Skye, and a walk to a waterfall over a limestone pavement, where the wheatears darted about, fresh from Africa, and we saw cuckoos calling on the wing. And everywhere, sun sparkling on the sea, interrupted by the odd bottling seal, and green green green as far as the eye could see, button-backed with tiny lambs and adorable Highland Calves. As we drove to Inverary, it seemed necessary to have all of those lay-bys, in case we got so overcome with the view that we had to stop to recover. On a walk high above Loch Fyne, a little fieldmouse rustled in the hedgerow before ducking quickly out of view, and everywhere we looked, peacock butterflies feasted on spring flowers. In the Lake District, Grassmere was garlanded by bluebell woods, and church bells rang out in the evening sunshine. Here's what AE Housman thought about all of this:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

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