After a grey March and early April, spring is most definitely upon us. Actually, you have to take care to enjoy spring here because now summer seems to bulldoze it out of the way almost as soon as it is become established. Already the supermarkets are full of swimwear, barbecue kit and supplies for your swimming pool. The clouds have vanished to the extent that one imagines that shops stocking artists’ supplies must be getting special deliveries of blue paint.
It’s not really spring in the British sense though. We now realise that April-May-June is a season of its own here; a brief interval of pleasant temperatures before the high, hot and sweaty season of July and August. This has all sorts of implications. In contrast to the UK, now is the time to urgently do the gardening before the ground turns to the texture of brick and you risk sunstroke or dehydration just from doing the weeding. And given that it’s almost impossible to convene a meeting from mid-July to the first week of September because everybody is on holiday, now is the time for committee meetings, AGMs and that visit to the dentist that you’ve been putting off so long. It is also of course the time for everybody to get fit so that they look their best on the beach. Roads seem to be full of lines of cyclists and fervent sweaty joggers.
It is though a delightful season with lots of new arrivals.
The vineyards, rather sombre and barren in winter, are suddenly sprouting new life.
Poppies, sometimes in vast numbers, leap out at you from fields.
The migrant birds are arriving. Swallows and swifts are here and some of the more exotic species are turning up. It’s not easy to write this without sounding unbearably smug but the fact is ‘we have hoopoes in the vineyard next to us’.
Mind you, if the poppies are out and the hoopoes are here then the mosquitoes can’t be far behind. Now where did we put the repellent?