Thursday, 11 April 2019

A Misty Moisty Morning

Camper vans and sleek cars with strange number plates are beginning to appear in the supermarket car parks. An elegant pair of women - mother and daughter I guess - pick over the fruit in Carrefour. Tall, thin, in taupe and beige cashmere, leopard skin ankle boots and fashionably too short wool trousers, their perfume and demeanour reek "Parisienne".  Incomers arriving for Easter.

If they are hoping for the sunny days of February and March they are in for a disappointment. For those of us who are gardening, however, these subdued early mornings are a delight.  A cuckoo calls across the valley.  A pair of pheasants have made our garden their home and they cluck contentedly as they peck at the driveway. Noises are muted in the damp air and cars driving along the ridge to work sound more distant.

I inch my way along the bank below the house lawn.  Twelve years on and various "make-overs" and it still defeats me. The coarse grasses and brambles barge their way through the bushes I am so carefully nurturing.  A small forsythia and a shrubby cistus planted last year need weeding and there, inches from my nose, are two tiny grey-brown honeycombs, hanging delicately from brown twiglets, barely visible. The bane of my summer gardening - wasps nests!    By high summer this bank will be their domain and I will stay well-away, however much the brambles and the grass need attention. But this early in the day and in this cool dank air, I'm safe. Wasps are late risers.

For the moment, our hoopoes are silent.  They too, as incomers, are happiest later in the day, in the sun, chattering noisily as they play chase across the roof of our cottage.

There's another welcome sound this spring - the buzz of hive bees on the blue flowers of the rosemary that flops over the edge of the terrace flowerbed.  The second summer we were here Serge had planted rape in our neighbouring field and the noise of contented honey bees among the yellow flowers was thunderous.  But over the years since their numbers have dwindled to almost nothing.

The apiary in the woodland across the valley had been cared for by an elderly couple, but it became too much for them and was left to decay.  Now though, a white van is often parked among the trees and a cluster of new hives has appeared.  To our joy the honey bees are returning.  Though not this early in the day, nor on such a misty, moisty morning.


  1. We had an offer on the house and accepted it. I shall miss France and especially our Hoopoes. Lesley

    1. Oh Lesley! What mixed feelings that must provoke. All the very best for your new life. For me, if we ever go back, it would be the cranes I'd miss.