When I scroll through my photos, there is a visual key to the turning of the year. My pictures turn from the flamboyant golds of Summer hedgerows, through the copper of Autumn woods to the iron of Winter fields. These are the walks I have taken with my friends and families. And in Spring, the colour has always changed to a purply blue.
But this year, I set out with my girlfriends and we were surprised to see thronging the woodland floor, a host not of thousands of bluebells but of hundreds of sightseers. There were so many that they were trampling the flowers! The narrow paths had spread to become great muddy runways. The pools of bluebells were clogged with idiots taking selfies.
It seems the National Trust has been advertising bluebells and people have listened.
I’m torn: is it good that more people are getting out in the countryside, or bad that they are wrecking it?
The next week we walked to a lesser-known wood far from a car park.
The undisturbed bluebells lapped up to the edge of the path and the air above was freckled with bright green hornbeam leaves. We sighed happily and took our annual photos, none of them selfies.
And above our heads appeared the first swallow.