As the snowdrops brighten the garden and the winter pansies push their little faces to the sky, January comes to an end. In France this has been a very wet month, the wettest for a hundred years.  Friends invite us to arrive in wellies as their land is too muddy and the charpentier tells us that a natural spring has emerged in his garden. We resolve to check the height of the water in our well.  The tree surgeon says while it is a good time to do tree cutting, he can’t climb trees in this weather so the programme of works may be delayed. Was it comforting to know that all the rain has been a result of a very dry autumn? “It is nature re-addressing the balance” proffered the Tree Surgeon. It somehow suddenly seems just and fair that we should have such inclement weather in January. We look forward to the sunshine months and then the rain will have all been worthwhile.

The rain has been a boon for our recent planting. The hornbeam hedge is in and we wait with baited breath to discover if it will burst into life in the spring. We have planted some extra too, so if we do have a problem plant we can swiftly swap it around. The driveway where the box hedge once stood is a work in progress as I write. We are widening the driveway and building a wall here, all planned to be completed by the end of April.

Our winter outside sitting spot, has been on the “La Petite Maison” side, formerly called the gite. We have thoroughly enjoyed the view to the north, the clarity of the winter air allows us to see right to the valley of the river Lot. When three Ash trees are pollarded in a few weeks’ time, our view will be widened. A win, win for us, a better view and wood to store for our wood burning stoves. Ash is apparently a great firewood, dense but drying easily. Our new log splitter will come into its own once again!

The box topiary has gone leaving an open view. The pool covered....for a few months yet!

The box topiary has gone leaving an open view. The pool covered....for a few months yet!

Winter pansies.

Winter pansies.

Plenty of indoor time for making pastry.

Plenty of indoor time for making pastry.

Rainy skies.

Rainy skies.

The catkins against the stormy clouds.

The catkins against the stormy clouds.

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