The spell of settled sunny weather that has settled on the Southeast (now that we've seen the last of Storm Kevin and his long swishy tail) has been delightful - but, for the butterfly lover, frustrating. These are days that look like spring - the strong crisp sunlight, the jewel-bright colours, the haze of swelling buds and early leaflets on the trees - but, thanks to a chilly East wind that never eases off, they feel like winter. Not only has this cold spell drastically slowed down what looked like being a crazily precocious spring, it has also meant that these sunny days that look so butterfly-friendly have yielded, day after day, no sightings of early fliers. Today I did a little tour of likely local sites - places rich in sunlit sheltered spots - and once again was unrewarded. I decided to walk back along a residential street - and there, at last, I saw, or rather glimpsed, my first butterfly of the year. It was flying - or rather being blown - past at shoulder height, and I saw just enough of it to be sure it was a Small Tortoiseshell. I gave chase - no, not waving a net - but it had vanished away as suddenly as it had appeared. Not the most satisfying first sighting I have had - but definitely one of the later ones. I blame global warming.
The painting is A Study in March, or Early Spring (1855) by John William Inchbold.
Nige, who, like Mr Kenneth Horne, prefers to remain anonymous, was also a founder blogger of The Dabbler and a co-blogger on the Bryan Appleyard Thought Experiments blog. He is the sole blogger on this one, and his principal aim is to share various of life's pleasures. These tend to relate to books, art, poems, butterflies, birds, churches, music, walking, weather, drink, etc, with occasional references to the passing scene.