Key in the lock…

It’s almost March.

And although this year started with such haltering steps to the point of almost turning on its heel like a worried child, to run full tilt into the open arms of last year, at last it feels as if it has settled in, is feeling hopeful, and a little less confused.

Why it was decided that January should be ‘the’ beginning of each year, god only knows. It really should have the sense to give us at least a month’s grace to stand up, shake ourselves down and brush off the dust from the previous year’s rollercoaster ride. In truth, for me it was a pretty appalling year.

But as the season offers up more than the occasional glimpse of blue sky above, and the brave army of snowdrops are bolstered by a starry explosion of crocuses, Winter – unhooking her long drab skirts that have snagged and caught on tired arms of Hornbeam and Oak – seems to be gathering pace a little. Perhaps she, like us is tired of ‘this’.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky to receive a particularly beautiful commission. It arrived on the most dismal of days; a real soggy floor cloth of a day… the request was to illustrate a tiny Bullfinch’s egg, in egg tempera.

I couldn’t have begun to predict how much this cheered me…



Painting this little egg felt like finding a long ago misplaced key, and then putting this key into the ancient, ivy covered door of Spring. As I got to work, slowly delineating this most precious object, every brush stroke brought with it a sense of promise… the simple pleasures that lay, fresh, green and unfurling, beyond that door.

There’s something about eggs… they touch one with a softness and innocence; a simple joy remembered, perhaps as a child. The magic of finding a tiny, brightly coloured egg shell resting beneath a hedge. Pure wonderment, right there in the palm of one’s hand.

Having finished the Bullfinch egg, and with my key now firmly in the big door, I felt beyond hopeful: all I have to do is paint more eggs, and then surely the key will turn and the door will swing wide onto Spring. So, that’s what I’ve been doing…




Mistle Thrush


Song Thrush

Spring is almost here now. In between each tattered blanket of cloud, the sky lets slip a glimpse of the bluest of blues.. almost the colour of the Dunnock’s tiny egg.


A little note: If you click on the bird names, you can hear them sing… with the exception of the Blackbird… this will take you to perhaps one of my most favourite songs.