Its been a while since I have been able to get out and about. At the end of January, a flu type bug swept through work, and inevitably I got it. Spent the Saturday and Sunday in bed, with a hacking cough, fever and no sleep. Also since I have an endocrine problem, it put a lot of stress on my adrenal system, and it took a long time to get over it. When I phoned in sick on the Monday, something like 15% of the workforce were also off.
Had a few minor birding highlights the week I had off. One (!) House Sparrow put in an appearance, Long Tailed Tits are now coming into the garden on a daily basis, and three Goldfinches are turning up. I have a suspicion that a Wren may be nesting soon, as it frequently sings from the Trachycarpus palm. On the Wednesday had to visit the doctors in the Old Town, and on the drive back along Fairlands Way, a Red Kite seemed to be displaying over the woods at the north end, and there was also a Buzzard with it.
Spring is certainly on the way. Hearing regular Song Thushes, Blue and Great Tits are singing, and there are signs that the Blackbirds, Robins and Dunnocks are looking for nest sites. The one thing that has not happened yet is any indication of Frog activity in the pond. Its been a bit cold the last week though.
Had a weird reaction to the antibiotics, with skin irritation. The special instructions were to keep out of the Sun, even bright cloudy days. Seems to make the skin sensitive to UV. Also ended up falling asleep all the time. That kept me in last weekend.
Still get coughing fits now and again, which has strained an abdominal muscle so it gets painful at times, so decided not to go out this weekend. Don't want to risk anything happening while driving anywhere.
I have spent a bit of time pottering in the garden, though it has mainly been looking around to see what is happening. Most of the bulbs are emerging. Snowdrops are looking superb, as are crocuses, Iris reticulata and a pale seed raised Muscari. My collection of Fritillaries are starting to come up in their pots and it won't be long before the first of them will flower.
The red Oriental Hellebores and blue Pulmonarias were replanted last spring and are already flowering. Give them another year and they will be looking superb.
Sowed a few seeds today in the propagator, including some more chillis (chocolate habaneros will be fun) as it looks like some of the overwintering plants have had it. Also trying a dwarf aubergine, but I won't bother with tomatoes this year as the last two years have been pretty poor. There are also a few tropicals as well, several Cannas, and a banana Musa rubinia. Tried the latter last year andt got zero germination but have got plenty of seed left so maybe I might get lucky this time.