Buds in December eager for April.
Images of monkeys and other creatures looking for knits in one another's fur and generally grooming one another, keep recurring in tv programmes. On three separate occasions recently - at the dentist's, the opticians and the hairdressers - I am reminded of these touching scenes of mutual care, which seem to remind us that we are not so very different form other animals.
Today is the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton. It is often said of Satan in Paradise Lost that Milton made him the true hero of his epic poem, a judgement with which it is hard to disagree. There is something of the rebel in Milton's writing, as there was literally in his espousal of the parliamentary cause in the Civil War. There is also, I fancy, a proud note of defiance in the last lines of the epic, when Adam and Eve having been thrown out of Paradise,
"Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way".