Dawn is accompanied by thousands of individual birds advertising their whereabouts and protecting their territories. Together this avian choir awakens the new day with birdsong. The time of the chorus varies around the world, from around 4 a.m. in northern temperate areas, 6 a.m. in the tropics, and as late as 8 a.m. in the southern hemisphere.
England is on the verge of breaking into full spring at the moment; some trees are in full bloom, some are only halfway through while others are only just starting to show signs of life. Seeing the resilience and beauty of nature is reassuring and feels somehow symbolic of how my dad is willing me and my family to move through our still overwhelming grief.
I'm no expert but the very wet and mild winter that we're having must be very confusing for our feathered friends. Their biological clocks will have started to tick early as they will be thinking that we're heading towards the first day of spring rather than being stuck still in the middle of winter. That's the beauty of nature: you don't need to be Sir David Attenborough to understand how the weather is affecting the natural world...
It's a good job Forrest Reid didn't write to be famous. Almost seventy years after his death, his novels gather dust in libraries: unthumbed and unadmired. Highly thought of by friends like E.M. Forster and Walter de la Mare during his lifetime, the Ulster writer has since fallen into obscurity. Until now, that is.
A favourite song of mine and for me the best interpretation of this ultra romantic tune is by George Michael. I used to joke about George being a bit accident prone on my radio show and must say that his ordeals, trials and tribulations in life have added a large dash of pathos to his style of singing.
As the wealth gap grows, schools remain one of the few shared factors of the next generation. I think schools should be institutions of education but also a place of opportunity and equality. Governments should ensure time outside is incorporated into education to guarantee no child is denied the access to nature that is so essential for their development.