Standing on the terrace, surveying a mowed lawn, a clear swimming pool and a bright blue sky Tod asks: "Are we getting ahead of ourselves?"
February has turned benign. All too often over the years we have huddled indoors until well into March and then rushed round trying to catch up with all the tasks that need doing before any guests arrive in the cottage. Not this year. And hopefully it will stay that way.
The sparrows have been banished from the cottage roof. Over recent years under the tiles has become sparrow Hilton and I've had to explain to each set of arriving guests not to worry about the noise above their heads when they are lying in bed - sparrow feet are amazingly heavy. Not this year - all being well.
A man who knows about roofs has concreted the ends of our curved tiles (so there is no way in underneath) early enough in the year before they start looking for nesting sites. We apologise to the sparrows but point out that there are lots of other places in the garden they can now go, including some nice fat tall leylandii that finally, after sulking for several years, have put on a whole new spurt of growth. We think they have found ways to break down through the sandstone outcrop on which I less than kindly planted them. They were meant to hide the pylon (but don't) in the field that belonged to Philippe who left a lovely strip of uncultivated land down to the stream and now is owned by a young man who farms right to the very edge.
There are two new wooden windows and a door lying in the hall waiting for Tod to oil them. Josh brought them round yesterday minus their double glazing - easier to oil that way. He'll be back in three weeks or so - double glazing company willing - to install them. They will be a great improvement on the draughty single glazed battered windows and door that currently take the full brunt of north and west winds at the back of the house.
It's that wind-blown side of the house that has the wisteria. Ever since we've been here we've been waiting for a moment to repaint the wall before the wisteria comes into bloom and leaf and completely smothers it. Usually we think about it too late, but not this year. We're not doing anything fancy. Just knocking the worst of the old flaking white paint off and slapping a "ton pierre" (more the local vernacular than white) coloured cheap exterior paint on top of the messy bits. The wall is so uneven that any attempt to get a good preparatory surface is pointless. I've said I'll do it - gulp - as Tod wants to do the huge wall that backs our terrace.
We may be ahead of ourselves, but there's still a lot to do!