12 April 2008

Plus ça change...

...plus c'est la même chose. More pictures of flowers. More rainy weather. Les mois se suivent et se ressemblent — the months run together and not much changes. February, March, now April. Same weather.

Along the road through the vineyard

We had thunder and lightning yesterday afternoon. That was new. It rained off and on from noon through the rest of the day. That was old. Some of the rain was mixed with ice pellets. Spring, at this point, doesn't seem any different from winter — with the exception of the two really cold weeks we had before Christmas.

Cowslips, 12 April 2008

There are still primroses and cowslips all over the place. Not to mention purple grape hyacinths. These same flowers have been blooming for more than a month now, and in some cases two or three months — I went back and looked at March pictures, so I know it is true.

Saxifrage flowers

And the saxifrage flowers too. They've been up for weeks. I just read that there are 440 species of saxifrage. I don't know which one we have. All I can say is that a lot of people around here have this same variety of saxifrage, with bright pink flower stalks, in their gardens and flowerbeds.

12 April 2008

The white flowers are cherry blossoms. I know this because they are on the tree that produces cherries every spring. In May. Or June. Let's hope it happens again in 2008. May we please have cherries and plums? Thank you. I'm thinking cherry tarts, cherry preserves, and duck with cherry sauce.

Cherry blossoms at La Renaudière

One thing we always seem to have is firebugs: gendarmes, they are called in French. They like to live under tilleuls, linden trees, of which we have a large one in the back yard. And there they are, the gendarmes, warming themselves in the sun at the first opportunity. Just so they don't ask to see my permis de conduire, I'm fine with that.

Gendarmes on the trunk of a tilleul

The one comforting thought in all this is that we are probably having a normal spring. Last year it turned hot in April and we thought we were in for a hot summer. Instead, May, June, July, and August were miserable. Maybe a normal spring will be followed by a normal summer — warm and dry.

Grape hyacinths

This is life in the country, I guess. If we lived in a city, we might notice the weather, but we would be distracted by cars, crowds, and city lights. Colorful shop windows. Animated café terraces. Out here, the only thing we see is the weather and the passing of the seasons. It's beautiful, but sometimes I find myself wishing things would go just a little bit faster.


  1. Theoretically I love a cool spring. But I'm with you, Ken, I am ready for warmth and sunshine. We had it yesterday (gone today) and I'm sending yesterday's weather on to you. I don't know what shape it'll be in by the time it gets there. Come to think of it, if Madrid is at the same latitude as NYC, I'm probably sending it to Portugal.

  2. Maybe we will get a southwesterly flow and that warm air will blow up this way from Lisbon. Hey, it could happen...

    It's been raining steadily here since about 10 this morning. Friends just called from Paris, though, and said it was just partly cloudy there.

  3. Claudia in Toronto13 April, 2008 22:41

    My comment has disappeared in thin air...I'll try again.
    It was fun to see your firebugs. They are so photogenic. As a little girl, I used to watch them for hours. I called them "bibites" which is the Québec word for insects. I'm glad I didn't move them around. I just read that their mating season is April and May. I might have created a problem if I had picked one up!

    I love the changing of the seasons in your garden. Believe me your daily life is more exciting in your village than in any city of the world. I wish you would be in the News instead of what I see at 11 p.m. I'm so grateful that your photos show me another world as real but much more enriching.

  4. Gee, Ken,the same lovely flowers blooming in your garden for months on end? Too bad!


  5. the wildflowers -- cowslips, primroses -- are heavenly. i always thought those little flowers in medieval tapestries were made up. i guess not.


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