21 March 2012

The awkward season

Yes, it's that time of year. Awkwardness rules. Winter is over, and spring has sprung. We're eager to get out and work the dirt. It would be nice if we could plant our garden, but it's still two months too early. The hyacinths, the jonquils, the saxifrage, and primroses are blooming. That's some consolation.

White hyacinths in the back yard

The weather teases you with a few nice sunny days, and you get a lot of outdoor projects started. Then it turns rainy and windy, and nearly cold. So you take shelter indoors again, and just wait, impatiently and gloomily. Okay, calendar, make up your mind. What season is it, exactly?

Firebugs basking in late winter sunshine

On the first or second day of nice weather, you put all the furniture and plants back out on the terrace. You even get to sit out there, basking like firebugs in the sun for a few hours a day. Then you hear the weather forecast and learn that temperatures will be below freezing tomorrow morning. Do you bring the plants back in? You resent having to ponder the question.

Frosty March mornings

So how do you entertain yourself? The presidential election was getting interesting, at least on some level. And then some guy on a motorbike starts shooting people in Toulouse and Montauban. That's just depressing, and you feel like you'd be better off closing the shutters and staying inside in the dark.

We just put all this out, but some days we wonder
if we didn't get ahead of ourselves.

Or you plan a shopping trip. You look for a change of scenery — not the same old market and supermarket. Let's drive over the Vierzon. It's a place we don't know well. We used to go there to catch the train to Paris, but we found a better route years ago. Maybe we'll be dazzled by Vierzon this time.

Frost in the vineyard

Vierzon is an old railroad town, actually. It's about 35 miles up the Cher River from Saint-Aignan. The drive is pleasant but slow. There's an old walled town — that makes it sound grander than it really is — along the way. The road parallels the disaffected but picturesque Canal de Berry for a good part of the way.

Wild plum trees

And there's a Carrefour store in Vierzon, not to mention a Grand Frais supermarket. Maybe the shopping will be good. And maybe I'll get interested in Vierzon's history. Merovingians, Vikings, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Joan of Arc, the plague, the Nazis, and French communists all played their roles in it.


  1. Holy cow, how could you NOT be interested when Richard the Lionhearted and the Merovingians are part of it! :) Do share!


  2. Would love to see Vierzon!

  3. The event in Toulouse was widely covered on the news here.

    On NPR they had a story that made me think of you. Apparently North and South Carolina are redrawing their boundaries, which were set some 250 years ago by marking trees with cuts.

    Many of these trees, apparently still exist, but as they survey with modern methods, some people are finding themselves now on a different side of the state line than before. This, I guess, has tax and school district consequences.

  4. Thanks, Diogenes. I'll look for that NPR report. My mother was born in South Carolina (ssshhh!) as was her father, just across the border. Maybe there's some hope that they were actually in North Carolina.

  5. I love today's photos, especially the ivy. We are still having snow here in British Columbia. It melts before the day is over, but we are ready for it to be gone for good. More is predicted for tomorrow.
    The only Carrefours I have shopped was in Chiayi, Taiwan, the first time we went to visit Glenn's daughter. She and her husband teach English.

  6. Nice to hear from you, Margaret. But sorry to hear about your continuing snow; our weather is warmer, especially when the sun pokes through. Carrefour is one of the world's biggest retail chains, isn't? Right behind you-know-who.

    Diogenes, I found the NPR report about the NC/SC border, and some info in print as well. Thanks, because I wasn't aware of the border project. And by the way, my mother and grandfather came from the Rock Hill/Fort Mill area, which one article mentions as "disputed" territory.


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