Whisked along horizontally on a biting easterly, snow flurries speed past in face-stinging gusts.

Spring officially began ten days ago but here we are shivering in the coldest March day in twenty seven years.

Despite the latest Arctic blast great tits are busy in the snow perched on nest boxes pecking away at the holes to smooth frayed edges in preparation for nest building.

My garden blackbird, a very jittery bird, fiercely guards the brown bread crumbs I put down, chasing away dunnock, robin and other blackbirds including a female in whom I would have thought he should show some interest.

Following that day comes the coldest night for nearly thirty years. Half an inch of ice covers my pond and I'm worried about the first frogspawn laid two days before, now floating just beneath the ice.

I gently melt the ice and carefully remove the spawn using an old goldfish bowl which I then stand in the shed to protect it from frost.This serves a dual purpose as it prevents dragonfly nymphs and newts, already back in the pond, from burying their snouts in the spawn and gorging on the tiny embryos within.

My garden daffodils bent double during the night as their stems froze and they take time to recover.

Fish stay deep in cold swollen streams and ponds so herons (pictured), and kingfishers don't have an easy time.

So much for so called global warming!