Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Heralds of spring

Since Monday of this week it has been glorious -- we've been gifted a sudden spell of clear blue skies and sun. The temperature went up to a balmy 19C yesterday and today has been the same.

Charnizay:foire/brocante
A bit of a shame that it didn't arrive last weekend as it was Charnizay's annual foire/brocante. It is always a bit of hit and miss weatherwise as it is held so early in the year. Last year there was a very chilly wind and scattered showers. This year it wasn't terribly cold, but the skies were grey, and it wasn't really a day to linger. We popped down briefly to have a look round and ran into a number of people including Eric the chap who farms the big field on the north side of us. He was pretty pleased as his crop hasn't, as far as he can tell, suffered too much damage from the big freeze. He was up yesterday in the field with a hopper spreading fertiliser. He's sown the field with colza and it should start growing like mad now spring has arrived and soon be awash with bright acid yellow flowers.
celandine
On the way home from the brocante we spotted celandine growing in the orchard just on the edge of the village. It wasn't quite out as there was no sun, but a lovely sign of spring all the same.
first plum tree flowers
Around the house the dog violets, cowslips, aconite and grape hyacinths are out, as are late daffs. The wild plum tree has its first flowers too and once the flowers open properly it will be heaving with bees. You can then actually 'hear' the tree well before you get to it.
grape hyacinths peeping out
Taking advantage of the weather, we've been tidying up the fallen branches, some quite large, which had come crashing down during the cold spell. They were all from our pine trees; the weight of the first sticky snow probably did for them.
some of the branches reduced to logs
We've also started sorting out some elderly bushes -- forsythia and lilac -- which haven't been dealt with in years and were long over-due a good prune. The icing on the cake has been the fact that it has been warm enough to get the table and chairs out! In fact it was hard to stop sitting in the sun and get on with things!

NB: As always you can click on the photos to enlarge them

14 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

We went up to 24C today, it is great to have some heat from the sun at last. Just hope that it lasts. Diane

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
It is such a thrill when one sees signs of life stirring at this early part of the year. There is no other season to match it in our book.

It is warming up here too. A false start to spring occurred a few weeks ago but then we were plunged back into icy temperatures. This weekend is set for 20C so spring has definitely sprung here too.

Such a pity that it was not better weather for the Brocante as these occasions are such fun when one can stroll along and linger to chat with neighbours and friends.

MorningAJ said...

It's amazing what a few nice days can do. It's good to see sunshine and flowers again.

The Broad said...

Every day is cool cloudy Southport we look longingly at the 22/23 C temperatures in the Lot. I expect the hillsides are bursting with fruit trees about to blossom... How lovely for you to be able to be at your place at this time of year. Thanks for the pictures!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - superb isn't it? It crept up a little more later on yesterday and today it reached 20C by lunchtime :-) Weekend will be less good :-(

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - a few days of warmth and sun just works wonders in our book.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@AJ - it is as if suddenly everything has woken up and is in a tearing hurry!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@ABroad - I can well imagine that you'd love to teleport yourself straight down to the Lot; it's even a bit warmer there :-)

Perpetua said...

Lovely photos and I do envy you your spring warmth. Here in Mid-Wales we've been shrouded in mist and clouds for the last 4 days and it's still pretty chilly. Is there any reason other than tradition why your foire/brocante is so very early in the year? May or June would be so much nicer...

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - we wondered the same thing. Suspect it is just a case of 'it has always been held at this time' Later in the season would be so much better and more people would come and have a wander.

Jean said...

It's great to see the real signs of spring - we have had some nice days here lately - in fact we ate lunch outdoors last Sunday - when the weather's good we just have to make the most of it as you never know when winter will return to have its last laugh !!

As always, your weather is just that bit warmer and brighter than it is here so we just can't wait for Easter now !!

(Although unfortunately, we have reports that we have burst pipes and the plumber has had to be called......)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - cooler temps and rain are on their way at the weekend :-( but then again we do need the rain...

So sorry to hear you had burst pipes we were very very lucky to escape pretty much scot free.

BTW congrats on the Kreativ blogger award :-) for your blog Baking in Franglais!

the fly in the web said...

Is Eric the one who was out on his tractor at midnight....?

I hope the weather stays warm...friends are returning to France after visiting us here and don't need temperature shocks on arrival.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Helen - no Eric's on the parish council and a good egg. The night owl farms the field to the east. Mostly he just mows it for forage.

Sadly temps are due to drop down to about 13 [it was 23C today]which is normal for now. We're also due rain on Sunday, so your friends will have a bit of a chilly arrival.