The days are very short here in Scotland at this time of year, but we comfort ourselves with the thought that in another couple of weeks they'll start to get longer. And by the end of January, they'll be noticeably longer!
Which is not to say that I want to skip Christmas, because I love everything about it. Always have. But all the same, it's cheering when the spring bulbs start to come through.
This is an old terracotta pot of white, scented narcissus bulbs I planted earlier this year, and hid away on a cool, dark shelf at the back of my office. Now, it's downstairs and they're growing and greening up on such light as is available. There's a pot of hyacinths as well, although they're a little way behind.
With a bit of luck, they'll be flowering not long after the Christmas decorations are put away for another year. I don't buy forced hyacinths at Christmas time, but I do buy them soon afterwards, if I haven't had the foresight to grow my own. I love to clean up and then bring springtime into the house in the shape of bulbs and - quite soon, here in the west - bunches of snowdrops and catkins.
I much prefer February to November. In November things are still sliding. In February and even earlier, you can feel the whole garden and the countryside beyond drawing breath, getting ready for spring. My favourite time of year.
It may be even earlier than usual, this year, since, after a cold spell that drove all the outdoor bulbs back underground, it has been incredibly warm for a few days. 'A pretty decent Scottish summer temperature' as my husband remarked! I gather it's due to get colder again pretty soon. Maybe in time for Christmas.