Saturday, 19 November 2011

A close shave

all cut back
The weather here continues to be exceptionally mild. For the last week or more we've had partly cloudy or brilliantly sunny days. Temperatures have hovered around 17C and on the south side of the house the chaux has been warm to the touch from the sun. Before that we had days and days of grisaille colored skies. No sun, very dull and faintly depressing, but not cold or even really chilly. We've even had the sun roof open on the odd occasion! 

Not so when we went out to do some grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. Turning into the left-hand fork of the chemin which leads to our lieu-dit when we came home we ran into one of the chaps from the village who does greenery & maintenance around the village. The guys do a great job with the flowerbeds and planters as well as keeping the streets tidy. Earlier in this week they'd changed the all the bedding plants and the village now has a nice display of winter pansies. 

wall clearly visible again
Yesterday, the chemin which leads to our lieu-dit, as well as 2 others, was obviously on the 'to do' list. The chap was manning the tractor with the claw-like arm which does the fauchage [verging & hedging]. It's done twice a year to keep the ditches and hedges along the public roads in order. Now it may be hard to believe, given the state of the track [to be resurfaced in the spring we've been told] but our chemin is actually a public road - right up until the point where it dead ends and our drive starts.

fauchage scarring on oak tree
Anyway he'd done most of the chemin and bits and pieces of wood littered the road and the verges. All the vegetation at the sides had been given a very rigorous "shave". Last year and this spring they had only cut the grass verges. This time they chopped back the hedges and trees too. Just compare with last month's walkies. Right now it looks ugly and you can clearly see the marks of where the bushes and trees have been cut.  However, nature is very persistent and tough; soon the scars will fade.

lizard enjoying the November sun
While out taking some snaps of the "close shave" the foliage had received we enjoyed the warmth of the sun. The little drystone wall along the chemin faces south and, like the wall of our house, was warm. We even saw a lizard basking on an oak tree at the point where the wall ends. 
 
What a contrast with last year! Then we'd already had the heating on for several weeks. The weather was cold, the soil claggy underfoot and frost glittered in the mornings.

9 comments:

Perpetua said...

Glad you're enjoying the mild weather too. Even here in the far north of Scotland the flowers are still blooming and the grass is still growing. During our summers in Normandy we normally see the fauchage done at the end of July, but this year only the verges were cut, not the hedges. As you describe so well, it's lovely to see both the village flowerbeds and the country lanes so well cared-for.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - Sis-in-law was saying the same about Edinburgh. Our hollyhocks still have the last odd flower. As for the grass! ... almost empted to run the mower over it again[but not quite ;-)]

Niall & Antoinette said...

ermmm that should have been 'tempted'

ladybird said...

Is that the "Kleine, kokette Katinka" I see in the first photo?

PS. I don't know whether you have lived in Holland long enough to know this popular 1960-ties song. Try googling it; it's fun! Martine

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - yes ;-) you have no idea how camera aware she is!!
Didn't know the song but my aunt who stayed with us this summer told us about it. Must give it a listen on youtube.

the fly in the web said...

A lizard in November!
Mother tells me she has daffs coming up in Southampton...

Niall & Antoinette said...

@fly - Yup! Despite the fact that it's been unseasonably mild we were still pretty surprised.
Daffs!! Poor nature is definitely confused right now....

SP said...

This weather is a real bonus...our neighbour's roses are flowering again.

SP

Niall & Antoinette said...

@SP - isn't it just! According to our weather forecast it is set to continue this week as well.