It’s just after seven o’clock on a cool Kabul morning. There’s a lot of cloud around, so we may get rain again today. Apparently it’s been quite a wet spring here, and I’ve noticed the green lawns and the trees already in leaf. There are flooded sections of some roads, as the drainage system cannot cope with the sudden thunderstorms.

I’ve just been down to the exercise room here. For the benefit of regular readers, I’m in a different hotel this time, and this one has a treadmill that works. In fact two (2!!) of them! So I went down and did my half-hour, ignoring the calorie count which tells me that the sweat pouring off my brow equals those gained from half a can of tonic water, and noticed something.

When I start the machine, I go on the low speed setting, just to warm up. It always seems to be going very fast. Then at the end, I go back to that same setting, for a couple of minutes of cool down, and it always seems so slow. And yet it’s the same setting.

This trick works when you’re out for a drive as well. The getting to somewhere always seems to take longer than the getting back, even if you use the same route.

Spring is a bit like that, I think. It always seems to be such a long time in coming. The dead thatch on the lawns, the slimy leaves that have emerged from under snow, the listlessness of grey cloudy days with a promise of rain. And then suddenly the garden is full of flowers – the daffodils and the early tulips, the crocus and the primrose, all the colours of the rainbow. And then they’re gone, and it’s summer.

My garden isn’t really built for summer yet. It has a spring focus. This year I must focus on extending the palette, to incorporate the summer and the fall. More digging, more delving!

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