Lunch in the sunshine on our little terrace in early April.
I love the way you can plot the progress of the year through the appearance of flowers.
Snowdrops come first in the year. I’m not that fond of snowdrops. They are pretty and cheerful but they only come when we are still in the throes of winter and the worst is not yet over.
Next come the daffodils. I love daffodils. I sometimes cheat and buy them in the shops in January, just to kid myself that spring is not far off. But when I see them in our garden and by the roadsides it really cheers me up. When the daffodils are here you know that spring is definitely just around the corner.
We usually make our first trip to France at Easter and by then we have missed most of the daffodils.
My favourite flower of all is the tulip. They come in such a myriad of colours, shapes and sizes and, with their stems pointing straight and skywards, it is as if they are shouting out : look at me, spring is here !! When the tulips arrive in our garden we know the winter is definitely over.
Alex and Nicole do a fantastic job of looking after our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny while we’re not there. They keep an eye on the place, solve any problems such as the burst pipes we had last winter, arrange for work to be done such as sweeping the chimney and, most of all they keep the garden in great shape.
They get the house ready for our arrival and it’s such a joy to hop out of the car, turn the key in the lock, find all the shutters open and sun streaming into the house, put the kettle on and step out onto the terrace. Then, if we are lucky with the weather, we sit out with a cup of tea and think “at last, we’re here again”, and see what has come up in the garden since we were last there. It usually takes a couple of chimes of the church bells before we can tear ourselves away from the view over the rooftops and start to settle in.
We also enjoy doing a bit of gardening ourselves when we are chez nous. Planting up our patio pots and moving things around to the position they look their best is so relaxing and enjoyable – not like the crisis gardening we do at home – which often seems to be a race against time and a battle with the weather.
And of course it’s fascinating to see what flowers are in bloom around the village. It’s amazing how much things can change in a few short weeks between our visits.
Lulu, on the other hand, probably doesn’t notice the tulips but looks forward to the variety of different animals that appear each visit. Chasing lizards is a favourite summer pastime but of course they were not out and about much at Easter.
One night she became very excited when we strolled up to the château for her bedtime “constitutional”. The cause of the excitement was a hedgehog in the courtyard. He was there several nights in a row – I’m absolutely sure she will remember the minute she jumps out of the car when we arrive and start searching for him.
Tulips and hedgehogs. I wonder what we will find next time. Only five more sleeps…….