Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Green shoots and leaves: Monitoring rising sap

Van demand: Dealers around Britain are saying that there is a surge in demand for used vans, according to the industry website honestjohn.co.uk. And who could possibly doubt a source like that?

Flowers: Tête-à-têtes blooming (Manchester, Lancashire); grape hyacinths (Essex); catkins out (Yorkshire); leaf buds on clematis and roses (Hereford); buds on wisteria (Bucks); azalea almost in flower (Staffs); peonies and delphiniums breaking ground (Hants); snowdrops (everywhere); winter aconites (Cumbira) wood violets (Lincolnshire); celandines, redcurrant and wild garlic (Cornwall).

Poundland sales: Business at Poundland, the über-bargain store group, is up 24.3 per cent on a year ago, with 11 per cent of customers now coming from the A/B social groups.

Animals: Hares boxing (Kent); red squirrels mating (Surrey); toad on doorstep (Kent); frog spawn (Crewe, Herts, Gwent, Renfrewshire, Devon, Exmoor, Cumbria and many other places); pipistrelle bat (Angus).

Property prices: Reports of a 15 per cent rise in the number of people registering with estate agents in Fife. Word, too, that foreign buyers are beginning to move in on Edinburgh.

Insects: Bumble bees (West Sussex, London, Gloucestershire); clouded yellow butterfly (Surrey); first clouds of midges (Cleveland); peacock butterfly (Essex).

Birds: Skylarks singing (Berwickshire, Durham); goosanders wooing (Yorks); wood pigeons frisky (Hartlepool); woodpeckers drumming (Angus, Notts, East Sussex); grebes attempting to mate (London Docklands); Egyptian geese hatching nine chicks (Surrey).