Marja-lina's reaction to daffodils on the warm and sheltered slopes of Calverley Park here in Tunbridge Wells, is not surprising. Daffodils used not flower here until April, or March at the earliest. Today I note crocuses and primula in flower, and, in some of my pots in the open, chervil and chives, not to mention thyme and oregano, where normally they would be dormant. The fuchsia, which I have always had with me since I have in this house, used to die down in the winter, and now towers to nearly three meters if allowed to go unchecked. Sometimes I long for ice and snow, and, in particular, those cold, crisp winter days when trees and hedgerows were covered in rime, and ice formed on puddles and ponds, and muddy fields were hard as concrete.
In Waitrose, at the delicatessen counter, I watch an old couple watching with close attention as thick slices of cooked ham are sliced to their requirement.
I may already have mentioned Dr Karg's crispbread. It seems now to be a regular feature of supermarket shelves and has the unusual virtue of being nutritious, containing nothing that is bad for you, while it is delicious on its own or with cheese and the like. It is made, says the label, with premium wheat, and is rich in fibre. There are no added fats or oils, no preservatives and no additives. There are various styles.My favourite incorporates Emmenthal cheese, pumpkin seed, linseed, and sesame seeds.