We're about two weeks into what's conventionally called "winter". And yesterday, I turned the central heating off. Does that seem right to you? It's really nice not to be freezing my arse off. And not to be slipping and sliding down the hill when I go for a walk. But it doesn't feel quite right.
I enjoy the change in weather. I often say that my favourite time of year is whatever comes next. I do like the snow and the ice (but I really like when it goes away). I love the sun and warmth, but am relieved when it turns to rain and cool. And another warm January is hardly the strangest bit of weather that's ever happened.
Last year at this time was really windy. 3rd January (I think) a big chunk of my roof blew off. Which resulted in all kinds of issues, major and minor. One of the minor ones was that the starlings didn't nest in my attic last year. No doubt 10 weeks of me going up there several times a day most days to bail out the rain water collecting in a load of plastic tubs, and all the racket of the roof finally getting fixed sometime in mid March, didn't make them feel like it was a good spot to raise a family. They've been nesting here pretty much every year for the 20 years I've been in the place, and I was slightly nervous that 2011 would turn out to be the last time.
But today I heard skittering around up there. And two of the cats were very excited at the window. So I watched with them and soon enough a starling appeared on the gutter and flew off. And a little while another (or maybe the same one...I'm not a great distinguisher of starling faces) flew back carrying a twig.
A twig? It's the 4th of January. Are they building a nest? It really must be spring.