Wolds World: Celebrating the first harbingers of Springtime

Wolds World: daffodils in Caistor'Picture by Peter Thompson EMN-190803-092501001
Wolds World: daffodils in Caistor'Picture by Peter Thompson EMN-190803-092501001
  • A light-hearted look at life in the Wolds

Around 40 of us gathered in St Peter’s Church at Kingerby last month to mark the start of Spring with a Snowdrop Service.

The church was packed-but then it would be, as its only small!

Kingerby is one of the local churches sustained by the Churches Conservation Trust; Clixby is another.

Only a few services are held each year, but the snowdrop is well worth celebrating and giving thanks for, as the first harbinger of spring.

Tennyson’s poem ‘The Snowdrop’ said it all; he was, of course, a Woldsman.

February was far from ‘fill dyke’ this year, but it generally brings forth daffodils by the end of the month.

Writing a column a few years ago, I suggested that the first daffs in the Wolds were to be seen opposite Walesby Village Hall where Otby Lane starts.

When you come down the hill in Claxby, another early spot for the daffs is on the roadside as you leave the village.

A reader of that past column wrote in to tell me I was wrong in that the earliest ‘yellows’ locally were in Barnoldby le Beck.

I nearly got myself into trouble by saying that display was not in proper Lincolnshire but in North East Lincolnshire. There is a difference-but then I was never a fan of Humberside!

In the proper Lincolnshire Wolds we give it to Walesby!

Wordsworth was the poet most famous for waxing lyrical about golden daffodils, but he was describing his favourite spot at Grasmere in the Lake District.

We looked them out a few years ago, and I have to say they were no more inspiring than those on the roadside around Caistor or Rothwell, where we must give credit to the farmers for planting them just as much as we give credit to residents for bending their backs for autumn planting in Caistor.

While mentioning the Lake District, I must take the chance to say how Wolds Diary came to be.

My favourite Lake District writer is not Alf Wainwright, famous for his fell guide books, but A. Harry Griffin.

Harry had the gift of being able to give his words colour and was for many years editor of a weekly newspaper in Kendall. However, he is best known for his Country Diary in the Guardian.

I am not a regular Guardian reader, but always used to look out for AHG’s monthly diary.

I bought a collection bound as a book a few years ago in the Low Wood Hotel on Windermere where Harry used to sit and smoke his pipe and doubtless pen a few lines.

Sadly he is no longer with us - but his words live on.

Remarkable weather records were set in February this year, both for its dryness and surprising warmth, bringing forth some wonderful displays of Spring colour before the start of March.

But one traditional feature of Spring kept true when it ‘roared in like a lion’ as Storm Freya hit on March 3.

It is supposed to go out like a lamb .... we will wait and see!