When I was away from home, even when I lived abroad in France or Belgium, I used to receive a small package from my Mum about now.  Inside I would find a polystyrene meat tray – the sort that chicken joints come on, in supermarkets – folded in half.  Inside the meat tray was a bundle of damp tissue paper.  Inside the tissue paper were some of the first snowdrops of the year, still fresh.