Winter? What winter!

Pretty in pink - Rhododendron PraecoxBack in the winter of 1963 I remember it being so cold for so long that the headmaster of Berkhamsted School made a dramatic announcement. We could all wear an extra layer of clothes to keep warm! My choice was a bright red knitted jumper which did the job but drew a few unkind comments from my more conservatively dressed classmates. 50 years on and what’s changed. Well it was only a few years ago that we had another long cold winter. It started in December with heavy snow falls which brought Hemel to a standtsill and continued well into the following year. Temperatures dipped to minus 15 and schools closed. Despite all the snow and ice of 1963 the buses managed to keep running and schools remained open. Hard winters were a rarity then and they remain so today. This winter is a case in point. Mostly mild and just a smattering of snow. Comparing notes with this time last year the daffodils are actually a week or two later. I’m particularly pleased with my Rhododendron Praecox, the very first rhodo to flower. We’ve been lucky not to have too many harsh frosts in March, which has allowed its prolific show of pink flowers to stay in blossom for at least a couple of weeks.