Spring is definitely on its way; the peach tree buds are showing through in pink, and we have a profusion of wild violets around the garden. Mind you, we have not heard the cuckoo this year.
Unfortunately there has been another mortality; the peach tree near the reedbed seems to have died. No buds are in evidence, and when I made small cuts in the bark, none of the branches showed any green cambium at all. Ever since we arrived, this tree was not looking very happy; we obviously arrived too late to save it. Well, at least we can replace it with our newly-purchased gooseberry bushes.
I have now trimmed back the brambles from the fence-line next to the pond, so at least we are now able to go to the back of the pond without disturbing Mrs Duck, who is on the opposite side.