After several months away from the garden I'm pleased to be back on familiar terre.
However, I chose to return from the UK on a weekend when France was being battered by severe Atlantic storms causing extensive damage up and down the west coast. Before leaving the UK, I had seen mention of the storms on national TV news but it was only once I was in France and able to pick up the French TV news services that I realised the true extent of the damage with some parts of the west coast being completely flooded out. One of my favourite areas, and, I think, one of the most beautiful parts of France, the Vendee, was looking very sad as mile after mile was awash with the results of the storm.
However, closer to home, here in the Kitchen Garden in France, most things seem to have survived the awful weather and I was even able to pick some leaves to eat for dinner on my first day back
The plastic tunnel I had put over a few things for the winter was however blown to pieces and there was quite a bit of tree damage, particularly in the old walnut trees, which had shed some large old branches. But there again, that's what Walnut trees do in winter!
Broad beans usually over winter here but this year, the repeated swings in temperature have proved too much for the ones I planted back in November
I've had to spend the rest of the week, mostly, working in and around the house trying to bring back to life the property which has lain empty for just about four months. In particular, the local field mouse population seems to have found doors in to the property that I never knew existed and have been having quite a party.
Still, at least on this trip away, the mice seem to have been kept out of the few seeds I had left.
And finally, I'm pleased to see all the signs of spring bursting out around me. M. Gary, a local farmer, tends a small field I own, and he was out preparing the land for planting... The forsythia is in bud and I expect that by next week it will be a bright yellow splash of colour which is my true indicator that spring really has arrived.