April is very slow. it’s been cold, grey and a nasty east wind has been dominating the weather this week, blowing hard and setting my teeth on edge.

there are still blackthorn in blossom, and the primroses are hanging on; the cold weather keeps them going. the wild cherry are out too, a very elegant slender tree in natural woodland, with pale scattered flowers.

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some of the shrubs and trees are showing leaves. hawthorn has been green for weeks.

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the old coppiced hazel groves are hardly in leaf yet, although their catkins were out before Christmas.

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walking along the woodshore today, two pale spotted rear ends became evident to me, and I grabbed Sal who generally is not on the lead. three fallow deer came out of the wood and onto the beet field, two pale dappled, and one really dark. I was a bit puzzled by the colouration, but I found fallow deer come in four colours, the normal brown and dapple, a pale creamy dapple, white, and black. they stopped and looked back at us, keeping their distance. Tilda squealed with frustration, and by the time I got to look up again they had gone. I was expecting to meet up with them again somewhere up Cake’s Lane, but there was no sign. they had melted into the land, maybe hidden in one of the old pits with a fringe of trees.

fallow were introduced by the Normans, for their deer parks, and they really are the prettiest of our native deer. the stags fight savagely in the rut; they have huge palmate antlers like little moose.

I am lighting the kiln for a glaze firing tonight, cone 11. full moon too – or just about.