Another side effect of dog ownership is a gradual attuning to the seasons. The number of hours of sunlight in a day becomes an important factor in day to day living to ensure that enough walkies are had before darkness falls. The accuracy of morning weather forecasts is actually consequential as it could mean the difference between a pleasant walk in light drizzle and an arduous trek in driving sleet.
For this reason I often find myself one of the first of my friends to notice that winter is coming to an end. I am a typical Brit, constantly talking about the weather but I try not to grumble. In fact, I like our British weather. I like the variation and the challenge of dressing in the morning for all four seasons as it is very possible for them all to occur in one trip out of the house.
However, I must admit that January and February are my least favourite months. They are the furthest away from birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas for me, leaving me little to celebrate. They are also usually the coldest months in our calendar and as much as I like soft and fluffy knitwear, there are only so many jumpers you can wear at once.
The trees were still bare but the sky was blue and the sun was shining. The earth gave a hint of new life, with daffodils and tulips just peeking through. It was a joy to be outside.
In the dim and distant past, in my life pre-Barry, the only time I would see the outdoors during the winter was when I travelled from my house to my car and back again. I just hid away with the curtains drawn and waited for spring. But in doing so I missed the very beginning of spring, which I have come to realise is the most uplifting part.
I think there is greatness in having my eyes opened to the seasons and my horizons expanded and it is to Barry who I must give thanks for this.