Gazette letters: Springtime in Hackney, landlords’ merger and hold police to account

The Arctic Sunrise at anchor. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

The Arctic Sunrise at anchor. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

Daffodil shoots are up, sharp points rising a few inches out of the hard wintery soil, writes Will McCallum, works for Greenpeace, Newington Green.

I planted them by stealth, in protest at my housemates’ disdain for the flowers they call tacky and glib (how can a flower be glib?). A sign that spring is every closer.

I will miss spring’s arrival this year, and am writing NatureWatch from the Antarctic Peninsula instead, where I am leading a five-week expedition on-board Greenpeace’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise.

Our aim? To create the largest protected area on earth, an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

I will miss the slow spread of colour through the parks and city canopy. Buds will become leaves and shoots will rise into flowers while I am gone. The entire city will lose its petrol-based winter aroma and the city air will feel cleaned by the new leaves adorning bare branches. I will miss the wild flower meadows of London Fields and Gillespie Park begin to bloom, and I will only hear second-hand about the first bluebells of the year appearing on the north side of Clissold Park.

My garden, ugly after its first winter, will once again be filled with the birds that nest in King Henry’s Walk Garden, and a new lawn of grass I hope will cover up the large patches of mud that grew in late autumn under the rotting leaves. But I look forward most to hearing about the yellow daffodils in my front garden, planted in secret last year in the hope that the sudden surprise of bright yellow in front of our windows might change the mood of my housemates towards spring’s finest flower.