As the winds roar through the village, fear not, Spring is just around the corner

There’s a woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting in the copse, pink blossom bursting out from trees on a garden boundary and catkins hanging delicately overhead as a gale gathers speed in a neighbouring valley.

Muddy puddles are open invitations for small children to jump in. Droplets of rainwater gather on five-bar gates, dispersed in a short-shrift shower when someone opens the latch.

It’s still slushy underfoot but there is a change in the air, as snowdrops peep out from grass verges, daffodils bloom in really rather a brazen fashion and the odd, prim primrose pokes out its head  just to test the air.

It will be Shrove Tuesday next week, the last day of feasting before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  There will be Lent lunches in the village hall from now until Easter, although whether there will be anyone in this village who actually fasts is another matter.

The pub will still be hosting Spice and Rice nights once a fortnight and the fish and chip van will be doing a roaring trade in the village square on Tuesdays. The community shop has a special cut-price promotion, with free cups of coffee for anyone who presents their special voucher which was hand-delivered around the village highways and byways by an army of willing volunteers.

On the coast, big skies compete with big seas, clouds create charismatic pictures against a backdrop of sunrises and sunsets. Silhouetted souls stand at the seashore at West Bay while crowds of people walk along the Cobb at Lyme Regis.

This is the place that Thomas Hardy loved, the rolling hinterland performing sensual somersaults for anyone with enough time to stop and stare and the seaside doing what it does, season upon season, year after year.

This is Dorset.

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