Curlews, the March Lion, and a Dilemma

If March comes in like a Lamb, it will go out like a Lion (and vice versa), says the northern proverb. And March is certainly roaring out like a lion at the moment with gale force winds scything down the daffodils and driving horizontal rain past the windows. The usually clear, reflective surface of the weir looks like frosted glass.


But there are signs of spring everywhere here; newborn lambs wobbling around in the fields, the first strange buds of butterbur pushing up through the riverbank, and yesterday, driving across the fell road, a curlew flew low over the bonnet of the car, causing me to brake hard. They are amazing birds - the size of a large seagull, with a big wing span, long, articulated legs, and that curved beak almost equal to the length of their body. Every March they fly up from the Solway Estuary to nest on the fells and moors of the Lake District and their eerie warbling cry is part of the sound-scape of a Cumbrian spring.

Thanks to Betacygni for sharing this on YouTube.

But then there’s the dilemma. I’m madly trying to get my garden and the house and my life sorted in the next 7 days so that I can go out to Italy to see Neil for the Easter vacation. Neil is already back at work in his studio, having flown back from Cambridge last weekend. We both find all this travelling to and fro very disruptive (and expensive!), but we don’t have a home of our own in Italy. This means camping out in borrowed accommodation only available during the winter for a few months. Neil has moved most of his sculpture tools to his studio there, but to move all my books and writers’ paraphernalia would require a pantechnicon, and a more permanent base than we can find. The answer would be to move lock-stock-and-barrel to Italy and make our home there, but with the state of the property market as it is in England, we haven’t been able to sell our house here. So we seem to be trapped in this crazy, unsatisfactory existence. We’re determined not to spend any more of our lives apart, so a solution must be found.


  1. lovely spring notes Kathleen

    and sympathy for your unsettled life - I have spent the last 12 years on the road (albeit avec mari) separated and constantly saying good-bye to my children, my pets, my friends, my aged parents. There are no easy solutions, only difficult endurances.

    I hope you find a balance that is workable for you both.

  2. After the decade that was the magnificent Storyteller perhaps you need to manufacture space and time for your creative self. I too hope you find the space and time to rediscover the smaller solitary delights of writing. These reflections on the roaring Spring reflect that, I think. wx

  3. Good luck with finding the balance. Hard.

    But thank you for sharing the curlew. That was a delight.

  4. I hate being separated from Deb (we've done it a few times in the past for various career related matters) so you have my deepest sympathy.
    We have (semi) mad ideas of moving to the north of England some times so it is a shame we aren't a bit more financial at the moment.


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