Oh to be in England…

Three photographs taken on the second day of Spring on my way to get a library book, in Tunstall at 10.15am. Very windy after a snowfall in the early hours, chilly, white sky with lots more snow to come. Last year was the warmest March on record about 20 degrees warmer than today, this year is the coldest March for 50 years. ‘Oh to be in England…”

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Now I know it’s not April, but it is often misquoted as Oh to be in England now that Spring is here – here is some Browning –

HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD

Oh, to be in England
Now that April ‘s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning

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