It's been raining on and off over the last couple of days (for the first time in about six weeks) and somehow all sounds are sharper and louder.
This morning I've been putting in the last of the new shrubs between the (now) stumps of mallow. Close up, bees and flies buzz backwards and forwards along the bank where I'm working, looking for early flowers among the dead nettle and groundsel.
Just behind me chaffinches and tits squabble in the honeysuckle which smothers our abandoned well. Across the garden a wren scolds.
Down in the valley by the stream, the frogs are beginning to tune up for their spring chorus, with a sound more like a duck's quack than a croak.
On the ridge behind us a new house is going up - all concrete and sharp pink brick - and the builders are chatting and laughing.
Two farms away, along the valley, a cockerel is crowing.
Suddenly there's a low rumble and the French air force jet - black dart, half a mile ahead of its own sound - skims past, so low above the ridge it looks as if it will touch the new house.
Earlier, I heard the wild cry of the cranes high above me. I've imagined the noise several times over the last few days, but this time it was real. A small skein of about 20 were heading north.
I've posted my sighting to the migration website: http://champagne-ardenne.lpo.fr/grues/point_sur_la_migration.htm Spring is nearly here.