It hasn’t rained today. At last. For days, weeks straight, it has rained – and sleeted, snowed, hailed, and we have seen floods up and down the country. Here too, in my own town, where people still are clearing up the ravages of several weeks ago.
I cannot resist bringing in flowers at this time of year. Daffodils, for just £1 those ragged banners of sunny anticipation. Renowned proclaimers of spring. I can trim off the stems, feed them a drop of bleach, a slurp of 7Up, give them cool and mist, but they won’t last long. One bunch of narcissi were still-born, shrivelled before they could bloom. But I will buy more right up until they are in full bloom outside again. A little guiltily. How ethical are cut flowers? I tell myself it’s not so bad if they are seasonal, local, not air-freighted… They are hard to resist.
Spring is not, in general, my favourite season. I am in agreement with the writer and literary critic Cyril Connolly, that ‘Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness than the daffodils.’ Autumn is my favourite. And I like winter well enough. We banked up the log fire last night, after a bracing day, and lit a dozen candles and burrowed in as the wind raged outside. But we need a break now, a calm, and some hope.
And in any case, it is St. David’s Day today. St David (Dewi Sant), native and Patron Saint of Wales, 1st March marking his death in 589 AD. The spring date makes the daffodil (or, less romantically perhaps, the leek) the Welsh national symbol. ‘ Lent-lily’ it was sometimes called in the 19th century, after the time of year it blooms here. And internationally, the daffodil is a representation of life and of optimism.