Richard Oliff: Spring flowers lift my winter spirits

Snowdrops help banish the winter blues, says Richard
Snowdrops help banish the winter blues, says Richard

Christmas aside, I’ve never really enjoyed the winter months.

Every year between the beginning of October and the end of the following February I yearn for the start of spring.

I’m not sure what it is: perhaps it’s a case of so-called “seasonal affective disorder”, though I’m loath to accept some kind of diagnosis to my feelings for fear of dramatising something I have always considered normal. It’s not that I have a burning desire to wish my life away, quite the contrary, it’s just that I find the dark nights of winter so restricting and really quite tiring.

Well, here we are, right on the verge of my favourite season: spring. Not far from where we live is a beautiful tiny Leicestershire village called Horninghold where I find myself walking on a regular basis. It is here that at least twice a year I meet a lady tending her garden, and each time we exchange pleasantries I find myself commenting on her display of February snowdrops, and how this one little row of small white flowers lifts my spirits beyond belief. It is these and the awakening of the daffodil and crocus bulbs that simply brighten the world as the days slowly begin to lengthen.

Talk will soon turn to Mothering Sunday on March 15, the Easter weekend in April, and the clocks springing forward in time for summer. Before long it’ll be time to switch off our home heaters, one by one, until the only warmth in our homes will be thanks to the sun from long balmy summer days. I’m almost certain there are parts of my mind that are yawning their way out of hibernation just in time to ensure that the lawn mower is serviced and ready for action.

In the meantime it’s worth remembering that the winter will not go quietly, yet it can’t prevent the optimism and the feelings of well-being that can be derived from buying a new barbecue.