These sunny April days have slipped by, full of busy-ness: gardening, shifting pebbles for the cottage parking area, painting the kitchen up at the house, choosing tiling.
We snatch moments on the terrace outside the cottage, tea mugs in hand, faces to the sun and listen to the news about the Icelandic volcano and wonder about friends who have trips planned or are expecting guests in their gîtes. The fig tree by the terrace has woken up and is covered in translucent green leaves and new small fruit pointing up towards our empty blue skies.
The days merge and we struggle to remember the day of the week. Our lives increasingly move to different rhythms. We notice Monsieur F is a predictor of weather change - if he's out with his tractor there's a good chance of rain later. The swallows are back and these warmer days are filled with bird and frog song. The frogs continue long after dark but the nights are still too cool for the nightingales.
Somehow last year's geraniums have survived neglect and dust from all the building works and are now trimmed and repotted, bursting with fresh greenery. I may even get some new plants from the trimmings.
The small shrubs I planted early in the year alongside the steps up from the cottage terrace peer out from under a covering of rampant weeds and grass. Reluctantly I admit I need a roll of black ground cover fabric so beloved of French gardeners. It's the only way my precious shrubs will stand a chance.
The lawn above the cottage is a mass of thistles. Dandelions thrive in the lawn by the swimming pool. Tod swings his (very necessary) new toy - a mulching lawnmower - across the lot with gusto.
The pool, with its new salt water system, is clean, clear and inviting. Still much too cold for swimming, one evening I sit with my feet dangling in the icey water, soothing an ankle sprained when shifting pebbles.
The garden is heavy with perfume from the lilac and wisteria, barely noticed this year tucked away behind builders' rubble and scaffolding. I'll take some of the suckers from the lilac to help fill the acres of bare earth now cleared by the builders, where Vita stalks moles like a cat, one paw raised, quivering in anticipation. The dug up stumps from the buddleias lie discarded, but I've lopped their branches and stuck them in odd corners on the banks in the hope that they strike.
Today is the first day it's rained in what feels like weeks. We're off to Agen to buy a beautiful chandelier for what will be our new entrance hall.
Our furniture is coming out of store mid-May. Not long now.
Baby fig and new leaves