Whilst there are some debates about the extent of global warming (listen to a rather interesting Radio 4 programme on the politics of climate change here), it's a little hard to deny that there has been a gradual change occuring to the seasonal cycle. There's even statistics to support it and the Woodland Trust is undertaking a survey on the arrival of spring (not that statistics are ever without question). And then there's experience.
I'm happy to put the memories of 'proper' winters in the 1970s down to the unreliability of childhood. This photo, however, shows part of my camellia and was taken on 17th January 2004. It's very pretty, in a rather blowsy way, and was brazenly looking straight into my kitchen window yesterday morning. There's one reason why this is mildly alarming: according to my gardening books, camilleas don't bloom in the UK (even in the relatively warm south west) until early March. The Guardian has reported early spring all over the UK this year and it's possible it's just a result of the very mild winter so far. But the trend for spring to be earlier each year in the UK suggests a longer term change in climate.