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A wake up call to the joys of Spring

Chris Jackson | 14:29 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

I am ending the week full of beans, yet dog-tired at the same time.

In the middle of the night I have had a clandestine rendezvous with Look North weather forecaster Trai Anfield.

Sadly it's not as saucy as it sounds. We are working together on a documentary and this week we had the task of chasing one of the last frosts of the season.

It meant getting up at two in the morning, donning thermal underwear and filling a flask full of hot tea. Not very sexy stuff I'm sure you'll agree.

I seemed to be doing quite well on only four hours sleep, but then there was every reason to feel alive even before the sun crept above the horizon.

A foxAs well as spotting a fox bobbing along a field (is that a foxtrot?) there were the regular gentle hoots from a couple of owls to keep us company.

As their nocturnal call faded away nature continued to provide a musical accompaniment to the rising of the sun. The percussion section struck up next with the tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker. Here I was freezing my bits off and coming over all David Attenborough and Simon Rattle in one fell swoop.

The temperatures only just about got down to freezing, but it felt colder. There was a ground frost and we'd achieved our goal. However the forecast for the following night was even better. So I repeated the whole thing again.

This time, even more tired and yet even more invigorated by nature, I thought I'd spotted an exclusive.

Black cloud drifting over Durham cathedralThere was a strange ribbon of black hanging in the air over Durham Cathedral set against a clear blue morning sky. Had I found the first true evidence of the volcanic ash cloud over the UK?

I grabbed my camera and snapped away. And then I smelled it - not the sulphurous odour of the Icelandic volcano, but the acrid stench of rubber.

A tyre depot on the outskirts of Durham had caught fire the day before, but was still smouldering and it was casting a morning shroud over the city.

No exclusive, but I had recorded a frost of minus 5.5 degrees. To me that low was a real high as it was part of an experiment to demonstrate a peculiar weather phenomenon. All will be revealed when the finished programme hits the airwaves later this year.

In the meantime if you're still suffering from the winter blues can I recommend you set your alarm for the early hours and just get out into the countryside. Spring really will put a spring in your step.

As usual I leave you with something quirky and relevant to this week's blog entry. A video of a fox in the freezing snow doing something quite remarkable.


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