Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Spring is in full swing

Now, the missing photos from the last blog entry... a quick trip back to the Netherlands...

Mesmerising, field after field of tulips in bloom
Before I chatter on about how lovely spring is now at Le Mas Blanc, here are a couple of photos missing from the earlier blog about my marvellous time in the Netherlands during my visit with Conny Steenman-Marcusse  (L) and Sheila McCook (R), my two dear friends who have now become friends together too.

And now, back to life at Le Mas Blanc.

In spite of temperatures that are lower than normal for this time of year, the greening of the countryside is going on apace here, and there's such a busy hum in the air of birds and bees that I swear I can hear the leaves on the trees unfolding and growing. We had a little rain recently -- the south of France, as many other parts of the country and of Europe and Britain as well, has been suffering drought for several months -- and that has made a grand difference. There's some water coming over the dam again, and the grass under the olive trees is bright green instead of dry and brown.  This means, of course, that it is time for the first mowing, and I was lucky to have my nephew Tom Howey (a  typographer- book designer in London, England) come for a brief visit, right at the moment whe he was needed for field work. Well, we had a pretty good time together besides the mowing... and went into Anduze one afternoon for a cuppa at TEAPOTES, where Tom, who is from Yorkshire, got on famously with Aline Rideau, who grew up in that part of England too. They were able to revert to their "local accent"  and understand each other!

here's Tom with the heavy mower
 While my nephew was mowing, I was busy with a few other chores, including the setting up of the orchard scarecrow, this year featuring a broom from the Philippines as his/her head. I'm quite pleased with my labours, I have to say, it is definitely a scary epouvantail...

here's the scarecrow, still nameless... any ideas?
you can see the result of his labours here, a view of the small olive grove and lilacs planted in memory of my goddaughter Carrie Newman whose birthday it would have been this month had she lived.  Sadly, the period of freezing temperatures in February seems to have been harmful for the olive trees -- as well as killing my lemon tree -- but local advice suggests that I just "wait and see", they should eventually recover...
freshly mown

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

back home from the Netherlands

Well, if you're in the habit of checking BLOGS frequently, you'll have seen that I am not yet a dedicated blogger, such as my good friend Beth Kaplan who did try to give me a few lessons while she was here at LE MAS BLANC WRITER'S RETREAT at the end of March... She's got the knack of the every-day discipline to observe and record... I'm still learning the ropes.

Here's Beth, while she was here, at the clothesline... As I say on my website, I don't have an electric clothes dryer but you know, no one ever seems to mind the smell of freshly dried clothes off the line!