A tongue-in-cheek look at the arrival of Spring from the Editor.
I’m not sure which is the most uplifting sight, the first blossom or the first sound of the grus. They usually appear around mid-March but the mild winter saw the first flight over my house on 2 February, mind you sometimes the early cranes turn back if they hit colder weather. It’s incredible to think they fly at up to 90km/h by day and night in their lust to reach their breeding grounds. Many cross France in a day, dropping down from their flying altitude to circle and regroup, creating an amazing photo-op. I rush out but even with my portable’s zoom lens, these huge birds always finish up looking like sparrows on my screen. I really should find my “proper camera” and have it to hand. Mind you the end result wouldn’t be any better, I spend so much time figuring it out, they’ll have passed overhead and vanished! Maybe I ought to adopt the wildlife cameraman position and camp in the garden, zoom lens locked and loaded?
The arrival of Spring and, especially, April brings another fascination: Easter and the exquisite displays in the chocolatiers. Finely painted eggs with mirror-like finishes, decorated fish and rabbits, and bags of brightly coloured tiny eggs for hiding in the garden. They remind me of when we created our own “designs” – not always successful but always fun with that gooey chocolate going everywhere but in the mould. It was the same with the Easter Simnel cake until a miracle happened! Yes, cake decorating pens came onto the market and the “blobs with long bits” became more like the rabbits they were supposed to be, with cute smiles, bright pink noses and wispy whiskers.
Talking of eggs, I’m toying with the idea of keeping a few chickens but what about their safety? My fear stems from when we had peacocks. Vinda and Loo (well, they were an Indian variety) were very happy roaming free until a fox started visiting at night. They let us know loud and clear from the safety of trees but chickens aren’t great at flying! Even with an enclosure, knowing me I’ll have to set up CCTV (Chicken Caretaker TV) – now there’s a marketing idea!
Have you noticed all the bill-boards for markets and brocantes? I really must sort out my grange! Here’s a tip, if you haven’t sold all your stall items, find one of the regular stall holders and offer them your left-overs. One year, instead of a trip to the déchetterie, I made an extra €250! The plant and flower markets are great for bringing instant colour into the garden. At least that’s the plan. No sooner is a plant potted up than whoosh, it’s off for a run around the garden with one of my dogs. So now it’s a bit like setting up for “Chelsea” in that they’re guarded until she has forgotten about her new “playthings”. On a final, somewhat prickly subject, our adopted cat isn’t being left out either, she spent an interesting half an hour with a hedgehog, curiosity didn’t do what it threatens in the saying, and they both got along very well I’m delighted to say.
Enjoy the spring!
First published in the March and April 2020 issue of The Local Buzz