I’m getting ahead of myself, but today there was a note of spring. It rang in the birks and ran among the whins like a shiver. Great tits sang as if the work was something new to them, and I realise again that their tiny tune is a fine marker of change; the song which I hear as – SIT boo boo SIT boo boo SIT –
And bigger still, the ravens have come back to their shit-stack in a sycamore cleft by the old byre. It’s one of three nests they use on rotation, and they add to each one in turn until the heaps of twigs and bones are bigger than I am.
I pressed them off as I passed, and the clackit old brokers came out and round to see me by. One of them rolled over onto his back and made a scene of himself, saying “block-block-block” as a drawling turn of moorland slid beneath him.