Spring comes and goes . . .

Tilly the terrier’s expressions says it all: “The snow isn’t bothering me, but where’s my breakfast, please?”

SNOWDROPS, primroses and birdsong. What do they mean when you wake up once more to a landscape completely covered in snow?

Just when we thought winter really was over, it happened again, with the usual disruption to travel and communication.

It will be a week or two yet before we discover what damage has been done to all those tender buds in the garden, but Tilly the terrier has no such concerns.

 

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Signs of spring

SPRING seems a long way ahead when you look out of the window and see snow and ice, and can hear the wind roaring.

Up in the woods a couple of days ago, under a blue sky, it was heartening to see new bluebell leaves poking through the undergrowth, and there are brave daffodils to be seen in gardens, along with snowdrops and violets.

As usual Tilly the terrier runs about without a coat, no matter how many people stop me to say she needs one. She moves fast and nature gave her a really thick coat of her own.

Tilly the terrier still doesn’t wear a coat, in spite of the weather.

Bluebell leaves grow through some of last year’s chestnut leaves.

A mass of snowdrops that have thrived in the conditions.

All caution abandoned

Tilly in one of the biggest and best puddles she has found this year.

WHEN I see how fastidious Tilly is about so many things, how careful she is when offered a titbit, and how she refuses to jump out of the car in the dark, I am always surprised by her attitude to muddy puddles. She goes straight in without any hesitation. There is never any question of walking in slowly to check the depth or making sure it is not going to cover her tummy in mud. In fact, the muddier the better, as she demonstrates in the photo above.

Time for a snooze

Tilly the terrier shows her exhaustion after a car journey.

MUCH as she loves a car trip, Tilly finds the whole business of navigating extremely tiring.

There are all those pedestrians and motorcyclists to be warned away, as well as a couple of long walks when she reaches her destination.

A 60-mile journey combined with interesting walks with dozens of new smells to investigate mean that she has to concentrate on recovering when she reaches home.

She is not interested in birdsong, whereas the Happy Moonraker is enjoying the sound of swallows and martins since their return from Africa for the summer months.

While she was dozing, Tilly completely missed the fox as it strolled through the bluebells outside the kitchen. This is another through-the-glass photo.

A walk in the woods

Winter sunset across the pond: I just love the reflection, the trees looking like lace.

Winter sunset across the pond: I just love the reflection, the trees looking like lace.

IT takes a certain determination to overlook the grey skies and rain and try to have a busy day. The Happy Moonraker’s first thought is to curl up under the duvet and forget trying to do anything useful.

Tilly the terrier doesn’t seem to notice weather. One day is like any other to her: food, walk, run, food, walk, run, doze, bark, sleep, and then more of the same.

If we’ve managed to pick a time when it is not raining, we have had more lovely walks in the beech woods.

Tilly and the two dogs she knows best, Budleigh and Rosie, know exactly where to go. Tilly ignores them both and refuses to play but the others romp and run and make sure they get as muddy as possible.

Budleigh is an enthusiastic Labrador and Rosie is a high-speed lurcher.

A female roe deer suddenly saw us as we turned a corner on the edge of the wood. Then she was off, through the young crop of oilseed rape.

A female roe deer suddenly saw us as we turned a corner on the edge of the wood. Then she was off, through the young crop of oilseed rape.

Tilly investigates quietly, sniffing and sometimes digging, but she is never far from me. Everything changes, though, if she spots a squirrel. Then all hell breaks loose. That’s when she sounds like a pack of feral terriers.

These pretty fungi (see below) were in the beech woods, just by the path.

These pretty fungi (see below) were in the beech woods, just by the path.

I did well to photograph the little red mushrooms without Tilly’s snout dominating the shot. She was fascinated. According to an identification website, they are called Elf Cups (Sarcoscypha coccinea) and are quite common, although I have never seen them before. They are described as edible but I think I’ll give them a miss.

 

How to get warm but stay cool

COLD mornings and cold nights mean that you have to move a little faster. You certainly don’t have to resort to dressing your terrier in a knitted coat, however pretty it may be.

I almost sensed Tilly’s contempt as we walked past this terrier waiting for its owner outside M&S.

A well-dressed terrier on a cold morning. Or a dog-owner going a little OTT when it comes to the care of a hairy animal.

A well-dressed terrier on a cold morning. Or a dog-owner going a little OTT when it comes to the care of a hairy animal.

Tilly’s predecessor in The Happy Moonraker’s life, Herbert, was once given an attractive subtly coloured, hand-knitted coat but fortunately he never had to wear it because it was much too small.

Herbert the Jack Russell demonstrating that the coat he was given by a well-wisher was much too small.

Herbert the Jack Russell demonstrating that the coat he was given by a well-wisher was much too small.