Well, what a difference a day makes. Perhaps springtime is finally, finally on its way. The crocuses that the gardener’s nephew at Blenheim Palace slipped into my pocket are spiking out green and tentative from the nubbly pot of soil in the corner of my bedroom. The nail I brutally smashed in the dairy’s office door at closing time on Christmas Eve after three too many Irish coffees has almost fallen off, with a suspicion of strange, pinkish, mother-of-pearl baby nail growing warpedly underneath. And in Belgium this weekend I got a bad dye job and an even worse haircut, a typical sign of spring for me. Amélie, Eléna and I even briefly renewed acquaintance wtih the sun, until the cloud morass looming above swallowed it up and spat out hailstones the size and weight of marbles, pelting us relentlessly until we adjourned to the nearest café for a mid-day festin of fil américain and carafes of cheap white wine.
Of course, by writing this, I’ve probably jinxed myself. What was that, Punxsutawney Phil? Six more bloody weeks of winter?