January ended with the lower fields sodden from rain and melted snow.
Not one of our best months, February was thought by our forebears to predict more favourable conditions later in the year if it retained a wintry character, hence various popular sayings which linger on in older books:
'A' the months of the year
'If it be white, it's the better to like.'
Rain was an acceptable alternative to snow:
'February, fill the dyke with what you like.'
The first few days of this February 'fill-dyke' have not seen much rain so the fields have started to dry out, to the relief of dog-walkers and the concern of weather prophets.
The lake appears inert but we have our first duck photo of the season.
'The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
February takes its name from Februa, a purification ritual celebrated at this time of year by the ancient |Romans.
Our Anglo-Saxon predecessors called it Solmonath, 'mud month', and Sproutkale or Kalemonath, indicating the importance of cabbage, a hardy source of new greens 'at this ungenial season'.