I WAS out the back doing my mystical eastern exercises when I looked up and saw my first snowdrop of the year.
Though generally a well-oiled machine, there are occasions when I'm slow to react. Thus, half-man, half-donkey, I gawped in a glaikit manner as my brain processed the information: a snowdrop!
I said it out loud too: "A snowdrop!" Now, before I waffle authoritatively on the subject, I must clear something up. A good friend stands accused by her nearest and dearest of trying to turn me into a girl.
The accusation stems from her constructive ideas on making my house a home. I was happy to go along with this until I found myself enthusiastically discussing flowery splashbacks. A splashback is something you put at the back of your cooker, in lieu of tiles.
Now, I'm fond of flowers and, indeed, have praised floral patterns and plastic foliage in this very column. But even I realised this was going too far, particularly when it was suggested that Flowery Splashback would make a good pseudonym for me.
Still, I'm going to talk about snowdrops, and I don't care what anybody says. I first conceived a love of snowdrops during a particularly miserable winter many years ago. I'd gone to the botanic gardens in Embra, expecting to see nothing new when, all of a sudden, I beheld swathes of snowdrops, perkily saying "Hi!" from an embankment.
Instantly, my spirits lifted. Here were harbingers of hope, plucky little fellows emerging from the earth to beautify our lives. Their pattern is simple: white flowers, green foliage. And all the better for that. Snowdrops show you can be small, beautiful and strong. And now I'd like you to read this last sentence in a deep voice: call me Flowery Splashback if you like, but I'll always love snowdrops.
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