Monday, 30 April 2012

Blogging backwards... the front of the backlog!

Old olives on the main lawn - sudden shafts of light and
piles of silvery branches strewn about gave the garden
 a strange underwater atmosphere

A procession of ominously titled men have invaded the garden of late. Perhaps I have seen too many horror films, but the annoucement that “‘The Olive Man’ will be with us shortly” sent a shiver down my spine. 

He did the kind of pruning job that we lowly gardeners can only dream about... spend all day up trees in the sunshine, using powered secateurs (hydraulic?), and then waltzed off into the sunset, leaving someone else (i.e. us) to clear up!

It’s an old cliché.. owners ending up looking like their dogs. Well The Olive Man definitely has something of the olive about him... small and round, with bright dark eyes and shiny skin. The Cypress Man  - who comes to trim the huge Italian Cypresses at the front of the house - is accordingly tall and springy. He arrived in a tiny Renault with huge ladders strapped to the roof, doubling its length. And a gorgeous little terrier cross called ‘Beeper’!

everybody say "ahhhh...."

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A splash of colour

Yesterday I woke from my siesta to the sound of wind whistling through the cypress tree that grows just outside my bedroom. I rushed straight out, my thoughts firmly on closing the cold frames, looked up and was astounded.
People often write, mainly in clichés elegant or otherwise, about the ‘intense’ ‘dazzling’ ‘mesmerising’ blue of the sky in Provence. Coming from London where the sky is often just a grey smudge between buildings, I tend not to pay much heed. Yesterday was different. 
Suddenly the normal view of rolling foothills, (the last of the Alps as they crash haphazardly down to the Mediterranean, their feet lost in haze), was gone. Instead, a flattened and sharpened view, almost as if it had suddenly become 2D - hard angles everywhere of jutting cypresses and their deep shadows. The customary smudge of sea fading to sky across the horizon replaced by a hard blue line, Prussian Blue sea to azure sky.
So, ‘this is the Mistral’ I thought. It’s the wind that drove Van Gogh mad - but here, sheltered as we are by the escarpment, we escape its worst effects almost entirely. But I'm still gobsmacked by the way it changes the light and how clear it makes the air. When it was at its height, Corsica appeared in the far distance - which according to Google Earth is over 100 miles away!

Already bright colour suddenly become supersaturated - the whole world looks like it’s been photoshopped. Beautiful wild anemones in shine deep red in the meadows and I made a surprising discovery digging the potager - a turgid little bit of rhubarb sprouting shocking pink underground from a discarded root.