The chaffinches are back, and the goldfinches – where have they been? – and the long-tailed tits. The robins have never left home, and now a pair have nested in the cypress hedge. Sparrows are chirping in the hawthorn bushes, goldfinches twitter as they flit from one drystone wall to another; jackdaws holler as they dive down from the high outcrops of millstone grit.
But the air over the canal is silent. The swallows are not yet here.