Hello and welcome to the latest blog on April 30th 2021.
After weeks of hot, dry weather the rains have finally arrived and our dusty valley has been washed clean. There is a sense that we are on the cusp of an explosion of growth: in the newly seeded fields along the valley floor, in the woods and hedgerows where that particular colour of green that you only get in spring is becoming ever more vivid, and in our flower borders and vegetable beds. Michael’s potatoes are almost growing in front of our eyes and we shall have a lovely show of roses soon, as long as the rain doesn’t carry on for too long and rot the petals. Raindrops have collected in the huge, fleshy leaves of our poppies, sitting on the surface like oval beads of glass. And needless to say, the weeds will be growing faster than anything else.
Our pond, which was beginning to look a bit like it did at the end of last summer in terms of low water levels, is on the rise. The iris are coming out and there is much activity in the water.
When it’s not raining we spend an inordinate amount of time sitting by this pond. Morning and afternoon tea-breaks, lunch, and finishing with pre-dinner drinks. As a result, we are getting to know the inhabitants better. The creature that fascinates us the most is called a marbled newt or salamander, native to northern Spain and western France. He’s around eight inches long, black and green, and quite tricky to spot. Can you see him in the photo below?
Moving away from the natural world and into one less natural, we are coming out of lockdown on Monday 3rd May. President Macron is taking a gamble, as figures are still high, but everybody has just had enough of it – us included. It is very much a phased exit, with curfews and various closures still in place for several weeks yet, but they are lifting the 10km travel restriction from Monday which will make a big difference to us.
We have come to the conclusion that we shall not be getting back out on the water as we had hoped this year. Vaccination appointments are scheduled for my second jab in late May, for Michael hopefully in late May /June and then July, as well as trying to sort out appointments for getting the Brexit card and our health care sorted out (a never-ending saga that is enough to send you to the doctor for stress!) It is a 1,200 km trip each way to the marina, not something to be done each month. The result of this is that Michael will go back next week just for a quick trip to check that there are no problems on Olivia. I had hoped to go with him but we are having a few problems with Maddie’s health and she can’t travel, so I shall stay here and be dog-sitter until she gets better. And then there will be no holding us – time to get the campervan on the road for some wild camping trips much closer to home!
One last piece of news is that my new book is almost ready to be published. My wonderful copy editor has ironed out my punctuation foibles, the worst sin being my innate ability to put a hyphen where there shouldn’t be one and not put it in when it should be there. My cover design is finished and I thought you might like a sneak preview.
The manuscript now has to go to be formatted so that the layout is correct on both Kindle and on the paperback version and I hope to publish around mid May. I will put the date on this blog once it is definite.
So that is it for this week. Hope all is well with you.