Le Printemps est arrivé (Spring is here)

Even though the thermometer told me it was 22 degrees I still elected to wear walking boots, Levis and a heavy long-sleeved T shirt to walk along the voie verte today. I regretted these ill-advised sartorial decisions pretty quickly as I struck along the river bank path before joining the disused railway line. Phew, it was warm in the sun!

Il fait beau aujourd'hui (it's a beautiful day)”, beamed Juliette as she tottered over the bridge.

I have to say she was rather more sensibly attired than myself in lightweight loose clothes, a white cloth hat of the type beloved by umpire Dickie Bird and sunglasses. She continued to chat non-stop about the upcoming season of village festivities while I gently wilted in the blazing heat. I was soon wondering if it's too early to start using facial moisturiser with a built-in sun protection of at least factor 40 and exactly which box my shorts might be in. It's time to hunt down the spring/summer wardrobe I think.

Having eventually made it to the shade of the footpath I was struck by the quantity of wild flowers. I was crouched down photographing the abundant wood anenomes when 3 lycra-clad cyclists passed me, cheerily nodding “Bonjour” and observing that “il fait chaud (it's hot!)”.

Anenomes peeping through last year's leaf fall. I saw a range of colours from pure white, to pink and white striped, to pale blue and dark purple.

Ah well, an hour of sweaty (or should that be mildly glowing?) discomfort was made worthwhile by the huge array of wild flowers and blossom I saw.

Tree blossom is in full bloom today

It's still too early for orchids but there are large drifts of anenomes and celandines. Occasionally I spot the bright yellow trumpets of narcissi and intermittant clumps of pulmonaria (lungworts). The rather impressive large hellebores, which first appeared in January, are still going strong. I also spied wild grape hyacinths growing from rocky wall crevices.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinths) growing in a crevice in a wall

I also spied an unmistakeable sign that Spring is rapidly advancing: along the outer wall of the Abbaye Chateau de Camon a few purple flag irises are about to fully open. Surely Summer isn't far away now?

One of the uses of orris root, which is derived from the rhizomes of irises, is in the flavouring of Bombay Sapphire gin. Once again I'm quite tempted to take up home brewing...