My resolve to make a collage of photos for each month that passes foundered for March, once again, no heart for it. March, whatever the weather does at it's beginning and end, can often seem to be either lion or lamb; if it is sunny and warm with good hopes and prospects, it can be a the merriest and and loveliest of months. The March before we left to come to live here, I remember, there was a heat wave, I walked in the Dorset countryside in my lunch hours from the office job I was doing, met Tom sometimes for picnics, we planned our decampment and everything was as bright as a daisy. One year when I was about twelve, after a school production of Christopher Fry's The Boy with the Cart, my mother woke me up early one March Saturday and said we were going to Steyning to see St Cuthman's church; she and my sister Alison and I got on a train to London and then one to Brighton, and then on a bus to Steyning. The church was no longer there, since it was a wooden Saxon one and long since gone, but there were stained glass windows in the existing one with scenes from the life of the saint, and we lay down in a field on our coats and dozed in the afternoon sun, it was that warm.
In other years March can be savage, harsh and mean and Lenten, ready to tear and claw you. And it was never so leonine as this year.
Even so, I looked through the photos I had taken, and there were moments, so belatedly I put together twelve of them:
- the magnolia tree outside the church in Dinan, a very famous specimen planted some 150 years ago, it has a brother in Rennes and another... somewhere else in Brittany, Quimper perhaps? I always mean to get to Dinan at the right moment to photograph it, and by chance we made a trip in the winter holidays early in the month, though it wasn't quite in full bloom yet.
- also in Dinan, and kind of in the Lenten theme, a shop window full of colourfully packaged tinned fish.
- the magnolia again
- out of the garden, over-wintering marigolds and daisies from the remains of last years 'flower meadow'
- beach walking
- the mirabelle hedge in blossom
- yellowhammer ' a little bit of bread and NO cheese!' (also Lenten)
- Moncontour and its magnolia
- château through bare branches
- mirabelle blossom
- goldfinch, my favourite finch. They seem to be abundant this year, perhaps it's all the dandelions
- Marcelle's bluebells, big fat Spanish ones
- Nuccio's pearl camellia, a late bloomer and just outrageously beautiful and abundant
- crab apple blossom
- broad beans plants, now about ten inches high
- mint in a pot
- Marcel's daisies (half the people in our village are called Marcel or Marcelle)
- a cotton asymmetric shawl, knitted with a crochet picot edge. I was fed up with winter wool and craved cotton, though it's dry and inelastic to work with. It was for VR, who now has it, so I can show it here.
- veg garden, broad beans in foreground, parsley and artichokes over-wintered, it's not been cold, just miserable.
- garden from the terrace.
Both collages uploaded full-size, so they should enlarge if desired.
A late happy May Day, rest well from your labours and may friendship and the scent of muguet sweeten your days.