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O, to be in England now that April's there

Every time I return to England the weather seems to turn sunny. Two days ago the south of England was blanketed in snow. Today, as I took my 7-mile run, it was glorious spring sunshine. Cowslips and celandines lined many of the paths. The white blossom of blackthorn and plum enlivened the hedgerows.

I stopped to look for the woodpecker I could hear drumming in the tree above me. I could feel the sun on my back, and as the bird, disturbed by my attention, flew away, I saw it was a Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

There are masses of daffodils and primroses still out, and baby rabbits are making their first expeditions from their hideaways in bramble bushes.

The early green of the hawthorne leaves brought further hope of spring, and on my own lawn when I returned home I saw a pair of yellow wagtails, who had just arrived from Africa, and looked as if they were about to set up housekeeping.

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