Campaign Diary: While I was in the hospital, spring came | Wild flowers

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Iit was a lovely evening. The domed hills south of Aberaeron were rendered in warm hues by the last sunset, light breaking beneath the layered cloud casting long shadows of trees and hedgerows across the fields. But turning east at Synod Inn reminded me that this was no casual night getaway, as my son drove me in the twilight to a hospital a hundred miles away – the unexpected result of a sudden phone call from a concerned consultant. A few weeks later, I am back home, chastened and faced with uncomfortable new realities – but with renewed respect for the good people of the NHS, who may have just saved my life for the third time.

The large, sturdy flowers of dandelions. Photography: John Gilbey

In my absence, spring continued unabated, with lambs noticeably bigger and stockier than when I left. At the edge of the aisle, the celandines have almost been displaced by the large, sturdy flowers of the dandelion – some of which have already germinated and begun their familiar, if not always welcome, aerial dispersal.

Through the open back door, the song of the nearest robin is clear and incisive, carrying away the bass – more measured – tones of various resident blackbirds. Just where two hedgerows collide in a blur of tangled growth, a pair of blackbirds lay claim to an established nesting site spanning multiple seasons. Already, the male bird has been seen carrying mouthfuls of worms there, making his defensive feelings clear to anyone wandering too close. We await developments.

Further up the driveway, small clumps of primrose and violet bring bright dots of color to the banks, where the grass begins to overtake the wintry ground cover of ivy leaves. In the still air, the sound of water flowing from field drains seems too loud as it merges with the calmer surface of the stream.

Emerging from the canopy of trees, I stop near the gate that leads to the upper field. For the first time this year, the metal is warm to the touch – and, suddenly tired, I lean against the gate and feel the welcome warmth of the spring sun on my back. Tomorrow I will walk further.

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