If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.

These are the wise words of Thumper the rabbit which might on first glance read as clear messaging, with little room for interpretation.

However, if you go back to the original script of Bambi, you’ll see that he then quietly mumbles about how in exceptional circumstances you can follow your own instincts, rather than the rules, when it comes to commenting on senior government advisors.

Like many, I have been exasperated at the revelations about how Dominic Cummings drove not only to Durham, but also straight through the spirit of the lockdown rules the rest of us have kept, often with huge personal and tragic consequences. In Animal Farm terms, we have reached the point in the plot where all animals are equal, but some are allowed to visit Barnard Castle to test their eyesight more than others.

The one tangential crumb of credibility in all of this, ironically, was in the claim that Cummings was spotted walking in Houghall Woods, commenting to passers-by on how ‘lovely’ the bluebells were. Because whether or not Cummings was in this wood on that particular day, it is beyond argument that the bluebells have been lovely this year – as indeed has been the floral display that spring has had to offer more generally.

There’s been quite a lot of coverage of how one of the side effects of the pandemic has been nature beginning to reassert itself, from increased birdsong to lonely goat herds wandering the streets of Llandundo.

How much factors like reduced traffic have made on the blossoming and blooming of flowers and plantlife is less clear cut. Better air quality can’t hurt the cause, of course. But there are also other non-pandemic factors in play, such as the ongoing run of good weather we have enjoyed the last couple of months.

I also wonder whether, more generally, we have simply noticed the passing of the seasons a bit more as life has slowed with lockdown.

There’s a classic psychology experiment called The Invisible Gorilla, where viewers are asked to count the number of passes in a basketball match. In the background, a man dressed as a gorilla walks across the back of the screen: the majority of people watching are so focused on counting they don’t see the gorilla.

The same thing I suspect has happened here: with all the distractions of daily life, we don’t notice the simple beauty of nature around us.

That might be a lesson to remember once this is all over, and we move into the new normal – to aim for a little less of the ‘cummings’ and goings, and a bit more pausing and appreciating instead.