We had a surprise visit yesterday from our dauntless acupuncturist. The day was raw, cold and intermittently sleety, but she turned up out of the dark, having finished work, with a little basket of flowering plants and some tea, determined to wish the Professor a happy New Year. It’s the year of the Hare, or Rabbit, if you want to know. The walk up the track is pretty unappealing, as I have cause to know, and we were very touched. You never know what to expect from the weather from day to day at the moment. Today we were offered bright sunshine and it was generally clement, though now the sun’s gone in it’s turned cold. Emboldened, the very first of the purple crocus have appeared on the sunniest spot of the bank. My bird feeders are getting a great deal of custom. Yesterday when I went out with the cat, a whole flock of goldfinches was bouncing up and down in the cherry tree scolding because they’d eaten all their niger seed. Hulled sunflower seeds are also proving hugely popular. I must get better at bird recognition. Apart from the goldfinches, we have chaffinches and blue-tits, and then, er. Miscellaneous Little Greenish-Brownish-Yellow Things. It would be nice to know what they are.