The only joy to be had on Friday at Powderham Castle as we sat under our gazebo watching the driving rain was seeing the wonderful swallow swoop around a magnificent oak tree in the deer park, where we were located. Six or eight of them spent hours skimming the grass and circling under the tree, although it’s difficult to believe they caught many insects in such foul weather. Their grace is one of the reasons why swallows are one of our best selling lines.

Visitors were also thin on the ground on Friday, and by Saturday the weather had done its worst. The hard surfaced areas were good to visit but down in the deer park, despite straw being put down, the mere sight of a swamp of sticky brown mud was enough to put many people off venturing that far. Well done to the brave ones who did so.

Difficult to believe the swallows decided to leave the warmth of Africa for this. We needed all our thermals and waterproofs.

Perhaps spring will finally have sprung when we get to the Colyton Garden and Food Festival on 12 May. Third time lucky with our weather for shows we hope!