April 24, 2011

Spring forward

Spring has swept across the UK from Land's End to John O'Groats, and this weekend it's felt as though summer has chased in close behind.

Temperatures like these (28 degrees yesterday) over a bank holiday weekend are rare, and the country is luxuriating in the heat. Yet it is high spring, rather than summer. The swifts aren't here, the oaks and ashes aren't in leaf; the beds are still full of forget-me-nots and gone-over spring daffs. The birds are still in full song, and the grass has only recently started growing; usually, when it's this hot, it's going to seed.

Spring travels east and north at a rate of about a third of a mile per hour - a little slower on upland areas. It takes eight weeks, on average, to cover the country. With weather like this it's hard to believe anywhere in the UK could still be left behind.