April showers bring May flowers. Dark brooding skies seem to clear as quickly as they appeared, a chink of blue will come into sight and then steadily take over, spreading like ink on blotting paper until it fills the entire page.
The week started with a few downpours but since then we haven’t had a drop of rain. The cyclists are out in force, France’s national and much loved sport. We see them all year round, local clubs out for their weekly tour. But with the longer days they are even more evident, after work evening rides are now possible and they are a common sight on the roads, their bright lycra a stark contrast to the surrounding countryside. They also always receive the utmost respect from motorists.
Photos I hasten to add were snapped by Millie who was with me, NOT by me whilst driving!!
It has been a fantastic week for gardening.
And an even better week for eating! A week of sampling new recipes and tasting new food. Izzi is home from uni for a week’s holiday and between her and Roddy I feel like the Queen; I’ve been spoilt rotten. The two of them are both fantastic chefs who love nothing better than to whip up delicious meals. I was going to include some of their recipes this week, and show you some of our delicious finds; my two spring favourites, asparagus and fèves (broad beans). The markets are filling up with fresh ingredients, the season of plenty is just beginning. But it seems I already have too much to say, which is not at all unusual, and besides, Izzi is still here and we have more tasting, more cooking and more stopping at small roadside stands to purchase locally grown fresh produce to do, so I will save my photos, I’ve been snapping away and making notes of what they have cooked and I’ll share it with you on Thursday!
It is such fun having her home and we were amazed to find that I still don’t know every road around here. One day we took a short cut and accidentally took a wrong turn. We found ourselves in completely unknown territory and came across a bunch of hives which I was pleased to see were swarming with bees. Pollinators are a critical link in our food system. More than 85 percent of the earth’s plant species – many of which compose some of the most nutritional parts of our diet – require pollinators to exist.
By the time we had stopped, taken photos and found our way again, our short cut turned into a very long cut!
We’ve been spoilt with days filled with warm spring sun and this weekend is really more like summer, yesterday we reached 28C; it’s bbq weather. We’ve brought the plancha and grill out of their winter hibernation, cushions now adorn the garden furniture, the hammock is back in use and it’s time to move the whole show outdoors once again.
Two thirds of French children are now on their spring holidays. Ours have to wait another week as we are the last rotation. The roads are busy. The coastal towns have come to life once more, shop keepers and restauranteurs are gearing up for the season ahead. I hope for them it is a good one and if the long tail back of traffic heading over the bridge to the Île d’Oléron this morning is anything to go by, then it is certainly starting off well.
The first roses are in bloom and the lavender is in flower.
The fields are awash with vibrant yellow rapeseed, colza, an early crop which allows the farmer to plant a different second crop for the summer months.
I have passed this woody shrub, coronilla, sometimes known as the scorpion vetch, although I have no idea why, out walking on so many occasions, the scent is utterly incredible.
We are overrun with eggs, the girls are laying prolifically and with the warmer weather we have our first broody hen. Now the question is do we let her sit on a few eggs or do we wait another month?
The dogs have had their annual spring haircut, a short back and sides, time to take off the winter layers and spruce them up for the warmer weather!
The house is clothed in blue and purple.
The bluebells snuggle up against many of our walls and the wisteria which seems to never disappoint is putting on its usual spectacular display.
I’ve brought spring into the house with blossom and now with lilac, it really is a time to relish blossom, branches and greenery, anything that is growing in abundance has a little pruning from me so that I can fill vases in every room.
The hallway is holding up, I found the photos of the ‘before’ quite by chance, I knew I had taken them and sure enough I had, but I had clicked away quickly with my iPad, not with my camera! So I’ll be brave and show you how it was and perhaps you will see just why we needed to make the changes we did! Neither the before nor after photos have been styled in any way. This is just how daily life in a busy house with a whole tribe of children is, lots of coats, shoes and sports things.
I’ve also been experimenting with chalk paint. And painted a table we bought for a song in a local brocante. Neither old nor pretty it is none the less as solid as a rock but the base was ugly (so Roddy changed it) and the colour even worse. Unsurprisingly I have never seen chalk paint for sale around here, but that was not going to put me off, at the suggestion of a couple of blogging friends and plenty of encouragement from them, we made our own. It’s terribly simple and it worked!
Mix 1/3rd cup of Plaster of Paris with 1/3rd cup of cool water and stir until it is completely smooth. Then add 1 cup of any water based paint (your own colour choice).
We have blue skies again today and high temperatures. I was out all morning with two of the girls and returned to an amazing brunch prepared by Izzi, you see, I told you I am being spoilt, I could get rather used to this! We’ve decided we are going to the beach this afternoon, just for an hour or two to feel the sand between our toes. Whatever you are doing today, I hope you have a happy, relaxed and peaceful Sunday. xx