It's been a long winter, for everyone, all over Europe. When you expect to see the blossom on the trees creeping through the tips of the branches, instead they have been glazed in snow. Barcelona even had 50cm of snowfall at the beginning of this month. Bizarre maybe in the face of global warming. Most of my Italian friends are still spending all their weekends in the Alps or Dolomites skiing, while our hockey training still has to be done indoor. As much as I like the snow, more than an entire emulsioned-white month is a little bit too much, it's time to come out of what feels like hibernation and kick the white duvey off.

So this week, when I heard birdsong one evening in the calm of the suburbs after a glorious sunny day and a crisp blue sky, it brought a smile to my face and a harmonious melody to my ears. Spring is on its way finally.

As much as I love the full-on summer feeling and being in temperatures of 30°c and lazing on a beach at the weekend, the biggest buzz I get is when spring kicks in. It is the happy sign we are moving on to something better. You get the same sounds at the end of the summer season, but they are not so happy, they are instead a signal to the end, the final whistle to the summer game.

More than birdsong in the evening, is the birdsong in the morning at dawn, my favourite time of the day. Getting home after a night out as the sun opens its eyes and peeps over the horizon to start a new day, and hearing the birds sing as you turn the key in the door is like a bedtime story for me - as I get in to my bed and I hear them in the tree and rooftops outside sends me off nicely. Especially on a Saturday night Sunday morning.

Then once the birds have settled amongst us for the warmer seasons, it is then time to be graced with the smell of freshly cut grass. I close my eyes. I smile.


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