Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Seasonal Reflections: April (3)

A. Weather

This April was very easy to sum up: dry, frosty, sunny, windy & cold. To put content to that, in my daily record, the word ‘rain’ is totally absent. The words ‘some drizzle’ appear on the 10th, and ‘light shower’ appears on the 30th. Bizarrely on the 5th the words ‘snow showers briefly’ and on the 11th the words ‘brief snow and sleet’ appear but that is it!  ‘Grey’ and ‘cloudy’ appear quite a lot, as do the words ‘cold wind’ but the most common words are ‘Sun’, ‘Sunny’ or ‘Sunny Intervals’. Rather like the previous April there has been a lot of sunshine around but, unlike the previous year, where I remember sitting out often in the sun, this year the cold east or northerly winds made sitting around outside not pleasant.  

The big shock of the month were the frosts. At the end of the month one BBC weather forecaster commented, “There has been a frost every single day somewhere in Britain this month, but for us I have a record of fourteen frosts this month and on the 13th although there was no frost, the outdoor thermometer was reading minus 1.7, the coldest morning. Mid-day temperatures, for the most part were somewhat mundane but it hit 19 degrees on the 4th & 9th, 21 degrees on the 18th, 19th and 20th and 18 degrees on the 23rd and 27th. Mostly a chilly month but some high spots (22 days with ‘bright sunshine’ or ‘sunny intervals’.)   

B. Nature

Well, without doubt, this has been the month of the leaf and Spring breakthrough. Trees and bushes have been bursting forth with life. The oak tree eventually lost its leaves from last year with buds appearing everywhere. Yellow and blue are the predominant flower colours. The Forsythia continues to outshine everything else with its brilliant yellow but yellow tulips are now fully out in great profusion. Wild marigolds and primulas adding to the yellow splendour. Grape Hyacinths continue to lead the blues, but now the self-seeding forget-me-nots reign (easy to remove when they die off) and as we near the end of the month the bluebells have lush leaves and many flower heads appearing. In in the background Aquilegias are quietly pushing up of over the place to bring forth their shades of blues and purples next month. Wallflowers continue to provide a solid mass of reds, yellows and browns. A beautiful time of the year.

On the vegetable front, purple-sprouting broccoli is being regularly picked. the broad beans are bulking out with flowers appearing, the onions are starting to look healthier but little sign of the beetroots yet.  The sad side of the garden is the ferns. Winter is always a time of dying back for a number of them, and other have shown wear and tear from the cold and dry weather. Grass, which rarely gets a mention here, has not been growing in the cold and dry weather.

Bird activity continues in abundance with pairs of robins and pairs of bluetits nesting in the different boxes while blackbirds go about nesting as if there is no tomorrow, and there is plenty of twittering in the trees from quite a wide variety of other small birds.

C. General News

The pandemic news is, once again, focused on the numbers of people who have received a vaccination but also includes news of a) a new vaccine being approved and run out, and b) reports of a new strain from India.

The Misc. Items must have the death and funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh as the one attracting most media attention, perhaps followed quite closely by the short-run news about a possible new European Super League for football which evoked protests and demonstrations. [We may not forget the wall-to-wall coverage of the Duke’s life on ALL TV channels on the twenty-four hours after the news broke, plus large volumes in the week following, causing more complaints to the BBC than they have received for a long time!]

The Pandemic

2nd – The number of people in the UK having received their second dose of a vaccine exceeds five million.

3rd – The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says the benefits of the Oxford vaccine continue to outweigh any risk, after seven deaths from unusual blood clots are confirmed among the 18 million people who received the vaccine in the UK up to 24 March.

6th – A trial of the Oxford vaccine on children is halted while the MHRA investigates a possible link with rare blood clots in adults.

7th - A review by the MHRA finds that of the 20 million people who received the Oxford vaccine in the UK up to 31 March, 79 people suffered rare blood clots – 19 of whom have died.

7th – The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advises that under-30s should be offered an alternative jab to the Oxford vaccine due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots.

7th – A third vaccine to be approved in the UK, developed by Moderna, is reported..

11th – The daily number of deaths from the virus falls to seven, while daily reported cases fall to 1,730, the lowest figures seen since early September 2020.

12th – The next stage of lockdown easing begins with non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, and pub gardens opening across England. Rules are also eased in the rest of the UK

13th – The next stage of the vaccination programme begins, with over 45s offered a jab.

15th - 77 cases of lineage B.!.617 a new Indian strain of the virus, are reported in the UK.

19th – The number of people receiving their second dose of a vaccine exceeds 10 million.

19th – India is added to the "Red List" of countries from which most travel to the UK is banned, amid concerns over a new viral strain.

23rd – COVID-19 pandemic costs mean government borrowing in the year to March reaches £303.1bn, the highest level since the end of World War Two.

26th – The vaccine rollout opens to 44-year-olds in England and those aged 35 to 39 in Northern Ireland.

27th – The vaccine rollout opens to 42-year-olds and above in England.

28th – The government orders an extra 60 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine as it plans for a vaccination booster programme in the autumn.

30th – The vaccine rollout opens to 40-year-olds and above in England.


Misc. News

3rd – More than 100 people are arrested in central London during a protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill

9th – Buckingham Palace announces the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99.

15th – The UK's biggest rockfall in 60 years occurs on the Dorset coast, with about 300 metres of cliff weighing an estimated 4,000 tonnes collapsing onto a beach. No deaths or injuries are reported.

17th – The funeral of Prince Philip takes place at Windsor Castle and COVID-19 restrictions mean there is a limit of 30 guests, with social distancing and mask wearing inside St. Georges Chapel

18th – Twelve football clubs, including the "big six" from the Premiere League, agree to join a new breakaway European Super League, despite condemnation from UEFA, FIFA and politicians including the Prime Minister.

20th – Following a backlash, all six English clubs withdraw from the proposed European Super League.

23rd – Thirty-nine Post Office workers convicted of theft, fraud, and false accounting have their names cleared after one of the UK's most widespread miscarriages of justice.

28th – The European Union approves the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, governing the relationship between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

28th – The Electoral Commission begins an investigation into the funding of Boris Johnson's Downing Street flat, saying there are "reasonable grounds to suspect an offence".

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