Spring forward as seasons March along

IT might not have yet sprung completely but spring is springing. At the weekend the clocks go forward and today is the vernal equinox.

IT might not have yet sprung completely but spring is springing.

At the weekend the clocks go forward and today is the vernal equinox.

Feature writer JAMES MARSTON takes a closer look at the changing season.

WINTER'S rages are nearly behind us and the brighter days of the new season are coming - at last.


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The depressing dark nights are getting lighter and the sun is getting stronger.

Ken Blowers, Evening Star weather man said: “Spring began officially at seven minutes past midnight today.

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“The sun moved north to cross the equator at 0011 hours, heralding the end of winter and the start of the spring season.”

Contrary to popular belief, the spring (or vernal) equinox does not always fall on March 21. The date varies by a day or two and in 2052, for example spring will begin on March 19.

Ken said: “Climatologists and weather forecasters regard spring as the months of March, April and May. “This divides the year most easily for record keeping and summer is regarded as June, July and August.

“Long ago country dwellers counted February as a spring month because the first green shoots often appeared in their gardens.”

A late-March event, looked on with eagerness by many people, is the date on which British Summer Time begins. Clocks are then put forward by one hour. This year BST begins on March 25 and ends on October 28.

“During the Second World War and again in 1947, double summer was in force. Clocks were then two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in summer and one hour ahead throughout the winter,” Ken added.

But do not be surprised if the beginning of spring is far from spring like. The weather at the beginning of spring isn't always calm and peaceful.

Ken said: “In 2004, on March 20, there was a 50mph south-westerly gale in Suffolk. At Wattisham the top gust was 65 mph.

“Last year the vernal equinox on March 20 saw dull and depressing weather with a bitterly cold north-easterly wind. Top temperature was a mere 43F (6C) and it felt like a mid-winter day. And in some years the spring equinox had snow showers in all areas so don't put the woollies away just yet.

“On the other hand March 1948 gave a remarkable heatwave. In East Anglia temperatures soared to 73F (23C) - more typical of mid-July.”

Spring is one of the four seasons of temperate zones, and describes the transition from winter into summer.

Astronomically, some Western countries consider spring to begin with the vernal equinox - around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere - and ends with the summer solstice on about June 21.

In the Irish Calendar Spring is counted as the whole months of February, March and April.

In meteorology, Spring is counted as the whole months of March, April, and May in the Northern Hemisphere and September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.

As in Summer, the axial tilt of the Earth is toward the Sun, and daylight hours are greater than or equal to 12 hours and rapidly increasing.

The hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to spring forth, giving the season its name.

Most flowering plants bloom this time of year, in a long succession beginning even when snow is still on the ground, and continuing into early summer.

In normally snowless areas, "spring" may begin as early as February during warmer years, with subtropical areas having very subtle differences, and tropical ones none at all.

Subarctic areas may not see "spring" at all until May or even June, or December in the outer Antarctic.

Severe weather most often occurs during the spring, when warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes while cold air is still pushing from the polar regions.

Flooding is also most common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year due to snowmelt, many times accelerated by warm rains.

Springtime is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life (both plant and animal) being born, and of the cycle of life once again starting. It is also used more generally as the start of better times, as in 'Prague Spring'.

Source en.wikipedia.org

Spring is when the garden and the veg patch burst back into life.

And next month the first strawberries of the year should be finding their ways to the supermarket shelves and the market place.

In the mean time March has some treats of it own.

Early rhubarb

A vegetable but prepared as a fruit, early rhubarb has long, pale, pink stems with small leaves that don't look enticing but have all the freshness and flavour needed to make delicious pies, fools, sorbet or ice cream.

Radishes

The common red varieties are eaten and enjoyed as a salad vegetable. When choosing radishes, look for bright green leaves, which indicate freshness and promise a crisp texture and peppery flavour. Radishes are excellent when eaten raw or marinated in vinaigrette.

Parsley

One of the few herbs to stand the chilly air of early spring, parsley comes in two main varieties: flatleaf and curly. Whichever you choose, use parsley abundantly to lift other savoury flavours and enhance dishes such as soups, casseroles, sauces and salads.

Also in season - sardines, carrots, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, lobster, sorrel, beetroot, mint.

FLOWERS are blooming, the birds are serenading, but the house still feels like it's stuck with winter blues.

Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get a head start on the hectic seasons of spring and summer.

Spring cleaning at one time involved a complete top to bottom cleaning of every square inch of a home. To complete the process families would often spend an entire week removing, cleaning, and replacing everything in the home to create that spring-fresh feeling. Today's spring cleaning may not be as involved, but there are a few tasks that need to be performed seasonally in your home. Here are the top chores that need to be done this spring.

Storing Seasonal Clothing

Storing seasonal clothing is easy to do safely if you follow a few simple rules. Making sure that the storage containers and areas follow the rules of clean, cool, dark, and dry will keep clothing in good shape for next winter.

Check Appliances

Each spring take the time to inspect your major appliances for wear and tear. The coils of the refrigerator should be vacuumed, and the drain pan should be cleaned out. Accumulated lint needs to be cleaned from the dryer vents. Clean out accumulated gunk from your oven and refrigerator. Clean dishwashers, disposals, and washing machines. Heating and cooling units need maintenance as well.

Clutter Control

Spring is the perfect time to remove clutter and excess from the home. Try the 4 container clutter method to help figure out items that need to be kept, sold, given away, or trashed.

Garage Storage

Whether you need to organize a garage cleanup day or just need to remove a few items to be used in a garage sale, it makes sense to pay a little attention to your garage this spring. Try some new organizational tools or techniques to store sports equipment, christmas decorations, or whatever your family hides in your garage space.

Outdoor Areas

Spring is a great time to get the outdoors ready for entertaining. Clean the patio and outdoor furniture. Do some basic landscaping repairs on the lawn, shrubbery, and plants. The exterior doors and windows of the home may need some attention. Check for fence and exterior repairs. Lawn maintenance or pest prevention may need to be performed as well.

Source housekeeping.about.com

A possible origin of spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time holiday of Passover.

Antony Strand, of Christchurch Street, Ipswich

“The weather is marvellous and outstanding for the time of year, I like the flowers and birds of spring, particularly the flowers.”

Christopher Bailey, of Plover Road, Ipswich

“Its lovely weather today, it's about time we had some good weather. I don't mind the sun but I burn easily in it.”

Simone W, of Plover Road, Ipswich

“I like the sun shine and I'm glad the sun has finally come. I like the summer best though.”

Brenda Walker, of Rectory Road, Hollesley

“I like the spring because it's a promise of summer to come, and summer brings Wimbledon which I love.”

Marion Blount, of Coucy Close, Framlingham

“I think the spring's wonderful and the older you get the more you appreciate it.”

Ben Bullock, of Coucy Close, Framlingham

“Were enjoying sitting in the sun of the springtime and watching the world go by.”

Ivan Fennessey, of Silent Street, Ipswich

“The sun is beautiful you have to grab it while you get the chance. In Los Angeles, California where I come from the sun is out all year round, it can never get too hot for me.”

Barrie Brackenbury, of The Old School, Grundisburgh

“I think the spring weather is great, I like the sun. I like all the seasons especially spring and summer.”

Robert Harvey, of Lambeth Street, Eye

“I like the spring weather and the spring flowers. I particularly like the light nights which spring brings.”

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