Considering how sweetly it sings to the human soul – a period of rebirth following the deprivations of winter – spring can be an inconsistent season. Officially, meteorological spring came upon Great Britain yesterday, yet sometimes – as in this year – it saunters in unexpectedly while February is still packing up. Equally, you can occasionally be checking your diary late in March, hoping it hasn’t forgotten. But it stays for April, and often into May. Unless, of course, summer arrives with undue haste – and spring has to make its excuses.
Along with the ill-defined “when”, there is also the uncertain matter of where. Spring lends its tender touch to large swathes of Asia and North America – and dances elegantly across most of Europe. But it becomes vague where Africa drifts down towards the dust of the Sahara, only to reappear at the base of the continent, and in the lower latitudes of