Once again we have flung open the shutters on the house, switched the hot water on, filled the fridge & checked the tyres on the bikes.
Over the last year (and it really is nearly a year since we bought the house) it feels as if we have been here in Provence more than we’ve been back in the UK. Sadly for a lot of the time we have found ourselves here on our own, conducting a long-distance relationship via Skype – in fact I don’t know what we would have done without it – but we always knew that would be the case as we were always determined to really use the house as much as possible. We just long for the days when (all being well) we can be here together with (or probably soon) without the boys and spend our days doing the things that we love.
The area is also under our sons’ skin – so much so that our eldest is looking to spend a year here before heading back to University – although I have a feeling that when the time to return actually comes we’ll be having to prise his fingers from the doorframe to get him there, but a year is a long time & a lot may change! Although at the moment he is looking at the possibility of setting up a small business here to enable him to stay!
We know that we’re very lucky, but it’s just lovely to be able to use the house as we do & we find that just one of us being able to be here gives us both a dose of Provence and that by sharing photos & chatting about the changes that are taking place as the seasons change we both have a sense of actually living the dream – albeit one of us is always at a distance.
Andy arrived home 10 days ago & I returned yesterday to spend Easter here with our eldest, whilst our youngest does his Ten Tors training, buries his heads in his books & heads into school for GCSE revision sessions, with the light relief of regular Mountain Biking with Andy in between. Then I’ll be back with him during the exam period, whilst Andy is out here, before we all collapse here in a heap for the long summer break.
It may only be 6 weeks since I was last at the house, but so much has changed in that time. To say that Spring has arrived is an understatement as the trees are all now bursting into leaf in a range of shades of ‘new-green’ and the hedgerows & fields are yellow with buttercups & cowslips.
The Judas Trees are turning a wonderful vivid shade of purple & the Wisteria is in full flower on the terrace.
Then of course there are the vines, which are starting to show their new leaves, a far cry from the scene a few weeks ago when they were simply wizened & twisted trunks showing no sign of life at all.
The most dramatic change though is the Cherry trees, which are covered in blossom, with petals drifting to the floor of the orchards like snow. I drove back from Carpentras Brocante market today via the pretty hilltop village of Venasque, which looked as if it was floating above a cloud created by the blossom of the huge orchards that sit below it. It was an incredibly beautiful sight, so apologies in advance for the photo that certainly doesn’t do it justice!
The Farmers’ Market at Coustellet is open again & the stalls are filled with local produce including stacks of tender green & white Asparagus and of course the flavour-packed strawberries from Carpentras, which both made an appearance in tonight’s supper.
I must admit that it’s great to be back & this last year has made us realise that it would take an inordinate amount of time for us to feel jaded with the area – in fact we still feel that we’ve only just scratched the surface so we’re not sure that we ever would.
One thing is certain though – that we’ll be out here as much as possible just to see!