26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 15

Country Life

Tim thaw took place a while ago, and already, with the niilder air and a breath of spring on the land, it is possible to forget that we had snow no more than four weeks ago. Yesterday I had a journey into the country where the roads arc not so well paved—high roads and colder parts—and it is plain in such places that, whatever we may say on the lower ground when the flowering currant buds, and the bees are on their landing board for a short while at noon, winter has not disappeared. Even in the more sheltered corners on the high roads there are still signs of hard weather, and the grass is lying limp with that faded look that all vegetation has immediately after a thaw. There is a cold wintry look about the upland stream too. The water runs with the colour of a Tawny wine and the clumps of round rushes growing in the black, boggy earth seem permanently bleached. It will be a while before winter leaves, weeks before the curlew lays and much longer before the whcatear comes. In the meantime the moorland shepherd keeps his flock on low ground, wears two overcoats and now and then pushes his stick into the ground while he beats warmth into his arms.