Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer

Yesterday I received the loveliest text from my oldest childhood friend who has recently moved to London.

“It’s another beautiful blue eyed day in fair London town :) I’m starting to spot those bumbles! I love those round fluffy beasts – my second one today in fact, is resting on my Juliet balcony catching some rays. Bless the bumbles!”

What a sign of spring if ever there was one, when the first bumblebees appear! It warmed my heart to get such a lovely text first thing on a Sunday morning and to think that even though my friend was in a new urban environment, she was still able to be touched by nature.

Growing up, Holly and I were a bit like the town mouse and the country mouse; I was brought up in a tiny Norfolk village where the local shop was in an old railway carriage and there were only 3 buses a week. She was brought up in Birmingham where we used to sneak out for a day of shopping in the city amongst more people than there were in the whole of Norfolk, then hop on the train that went every 10 minutes almost to her door.

But it goes to show that it doesn’t matter what environment you grew up in, an appreciation of nature and wildlife goes deeper than that. Holly and I spent our childhood together camping in the great outdoors, jumping into rivers to have a splash about, walking through the wheat fields behind my parents’ house and going down to the swings at her local park.

Whenever I think of us as kids it’s always us outdoors and it’s great that our love for all things wild continues to this day.

As for those bumblebees, Holly is right, we should ‘bless the bumbles’ if we are lucky to see any as early as February and keep our fingers crossed that we see many more for the year to come. Bees are something that unite us all – wherever you live you can see them bumbling about and their lazy buzz is synonymous with warmer weather, flowers in bloom and sunshine.

The first time I see bumblebees this year I will think of my friend and smile, and I hope the first time you see those lovely ‘round, fluffy beasts’ it will make you think of childhood friends and the pleasure of being in the great outdoors, even if, like Holly, you are in the middle of the urban jungle.