My first spring has sprung; almost overnight the fruit trees in the orchard have puffed out in a froth of pink and white blossom. The meadows meandering up the mountainsides are a tapestry of colour with swathes of golden dandelions, pinky-white daisies, creeping buttercups and blue scillas – these are only the flowers I recognise. In my woefully overgrown garden tassels of lavender wisteria trail languidly against the grey stone walls. The air is filled with the hum of insects and in particular the buzz of a particularly busy bumble bee that lives in a wall crevice. From time to time I hear the indignant bleat of lambs up on the hillside as they chase after their mothers who, freshly turned out to graze, are doing their best to hoover up the lush grass at a fair old rate knots.
Would that all was equally delightful within the house as it receives probably only its third makeover in three centuries. The old lady of Petite Rue is getting a rude awakening as drills, saws and hammers attack her leprous plaster and wormy woodwork. By way of revenge she belches out generations of dust from every crack and crevice.
“Don’t worry” Daniel the builder tries to reassure me, “it’ll get worse before it gets better.”
And he’s right. Already, with new plaster and ugly wallpaper stripped off some of the rooms are looking different but it’ll be a long time before I’m lounging in the loggia, a nicely chilled blanquette to hand and a smug grin on my face.