Wednesday 31 March

I was extremely relieved to read today that drinking wine can help prevent cataracts. At the optician’s yesterday I was told that I have incipient cataracts but there has been no change for about three or four years, so I guess I can put that down to a significant amount of quaffing.

Another incredibly warm day, around 21C, and I did a circular walk from Kingscote station, on the Bluebell Line. Which is of course currently closed, though we did hear some chuffing and whistle blowing so I guess they are maintaining the steam engines ready for as and when.

The stations are beautifully maintained and the line is a major attraction under normal circumstances. We did a 7 mile circuit, passing some lovely houses, delightful gardens, and amazing countryside.

We skirted the edge of Gravetye Manor which has a huge estate and the daffodils and primroses were utterly spectacular. But a gradual change is becoming evident. Today we saw many more wood anemones.

The bluebells are looking almost ready to roll but none yet in bloom. However we did see this:

A wild strawberry flower: no one has told it that it’s only March. And going to turn colder at the weekend.

Back home I had an exhilarating conversation with a German lady who has ordered several lyre CDs. She is clearly our new greatest fan. Even more on side when I began to talk to her in German. She professed herself amazed that an English person knew German: what a dreadfully depressing thing to hear. When we go abroad we can usually assume that English will be understood. Anyway, I won’t dwell on the clattering of hobby horses out of my stable. Most of you will be familiar with my lamentations concerning the decline in language teaching.

I have still been thinking about Dr Zhivago and the filming of the railway scenes in wild landscape. I heard this today and feel the music fits very well with the landscape.

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