Hark, is that winter tugging at my sleeves?

The breeze whips into my cheekbones and threatens to pull my face apart.

It’s cold up here on the hill.

Yesterday, in the top part of the village, there was a furious flurry of snow, which lasted all of twenty seconds. In the middle of the village it was sleet. Down here, where I live, it was rain.

After weeks of sunshine and warm weather, we’re going through a bit of a cold snap. It’s come as shock to those of us who have swapped boots for flip-flops and daps (that’s the West Country word for plimsolls, in case you didn’t know).

We need the rain, it’s true, but the cold? Brrr. No, thank you very much.

The air is rich with the smell of cow dung – a lovely aroma for a country girl like me who used to play on the dried-out dung heap in the yard when I was a child. The dung is flung (rather joyously, I always think) on the fields, far and wide. In our village at certain times of the year, you can’t go out of your front door without breathing in that unmistakable smell of rural life. Lovely.

On verges and banks, the bluebells are out in full battle dress. Up on the hill, the highest point in Dorset, there’s a few days of cooking still to be done before the flowers display their finery in that shy way bluebells have. Although, with this cold snap, who knows when they’ll appear.

It doesn’t stop parties of ramblers, families with flasks and old couples with dogs scurrying up the slopes, though, in the hope of seeing the flowers for which this hill is famous.

You can’t blame them, although every time I see an article or television programme waxing lyrical about this part of Dorset, I just want to scream and go and live in a Hobbit Hole.

West Bay is teeming with visitors, now that Broadchurch has finished its run. And the hidden spot where I had a birthday picnic a few years ago is now known far and wide as the place where Trish Winterman was raped. It’s a gorgeous place, Bridehead, and only those in the know (up until now) were in on the fact that parts of this secret garden next to the lake were open to the public.

Still, I’m as guilty as the next person in shouting out my adoration for this corner of the county. It’s hard to keep quiet about beauty such as this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


A hazy shade of spring here in Dorset

There’s a hazy shade of spring here in the village today, but still with a slight chill in the air.

Those wearing flip flops and shorts are pushing it. Although, on the sunny side of the street, it almost feels like summer. In fact, a small-boned girl on a low, fat pony has just ridden past in a short sleeved T-shirt.

Gangly teenage boys, whose voices are in the process of breaking, form a bundle on a trampoline in the garden of a holiday let, their voices going up and down, up and down and echoing around the village.

In the fields, there is a plenty of badgers’ muck, which the dog takes as an open invitation to roll in with great glee. She has never been so happy.

With dog safely on the lead, the sheep just bleat and baa as lambs go astray and then run back to mum, confident in the knowledge that they’d know her voice anywhere.

The rising sun shines on their backs, creating white outlines like silver linings on fluffy clouds. The horse chestnut leaves are big and brash, forming a perfect candelabra base for the emerging flowers.

There are bluebells in the hedgerows and on the hills, glossy celandines (a precursor to their more sophisticated sisters, the buttercups), emerging cow parsley (in my Somerset farming family we always called it gypsy lace), campions about to burst open, violets hiding in the hedgerows and the wonderful cuckoo flower marching across the meadow.

Leaves on the trees are beginning to stir, but they’re still not quite ready. The best is yet to come.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.