Jack Frost came in the night and breathed his deadly chill over my once-cheerful primroses edging them with an ice-crystal border which later in the morning reduced them to floppy heaps. However, despite the cold, grey, depressing depths of winter it is easy to find inspiration to write.

I have been fascinated by the flocks of blue tits feeding from the net sack of sunflower seeds which we have refilled many times this winter. Watching these birds scouting the area before flying in to feed looks like a classic example of a strategic and military offensive.

They carry out fly-bys as professional as the Red Devils, perch in the plum tree and hop nearer, branch by twig, monitoring all movement with the care of a secret police force.

Once feeding, these cute blue balls of fluff fiercely defend their position, flapping and pecking wildly at their hungry friends and relations, only giving up possession if a sudden noise or movement scares them. Then, they reassess the situation from the safety of the plum tree before swooping in to retake the net.

Nature – the best inspiration for a writer.

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