12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 16


And what is characteristic of the present date—of mid- December—in England ? Certainly, little that is, wintry. In all the diarists, new or old, not least in Gilbert White and Kay Robinson, you find an almost unanimous emphasis on " indications of Spring," as if you could pretaste April while yet the days were shortening and darkening in the previous year. And you can. More birds, especially thrushes, sing. Tree flowers, especially the hazel, lengthen and colour ; and even in London, on the Thames Embankment, you may see how the gulls are developing their spring plumage : before this year is over, the blackheaded species which forms some ninety-nine per cent. of the London gulls, begin to indicate why they are so called.