May 18 2004

Heatwave in May

Apple blossom
Suddenly we are catapulted into an early summer. The temperature is soaring and it’s still only May! What will follow I wonder. Apple blossom gleams against the blue sky and the wild spring flowers bake in the sun. Maybe the unusual heat will set the seeds wonderfully for next year.

I am finding it very hard to share Evelyne’s enthusiasm for stinging nettles (see Letter from Brittany, May 2004 ) having been stung so ferociously over the last few days as I tried to stop them over running the valley. I’m not even inclined to do them the honour of cooking them! Delicious though I know they are!

Chilean Fire Bush
The garden is bursting into colour, the first rose has opened and the Embothrium coccineum (Chilean Fire Bush) fires its scarlet spikes into the sky. We have breakfast, lunch and supper outside. baconBacon and mushrooms for breakfast with good fresh coffee. Then at lunchtime it’s the perfect weather for salami, olives, French cheese, crusty bread and a glass or two of wine! Supper must be barbecued in case the weather returns to our traditional cool, damp summer.

lunch1Bread and olives for lunch
The sprinkler sprinkles and the poly tunnel bakes. This can’t be England in May! The tomatoes are racing away and the “yard long” beans begin the long climb up their wigwam. Cucumbers, peppers and aubergine have been given their own space this year in the little glass house. I hope they won’t fry before they get going!

The herb garden is buzzing
Courgettes and runner beans are in the open ground now. Dahlias surround the sweet peas. The majestic Cavolo Laciniato beg me to let them leave the polytunnel and get going on their own in the vegetable garden. The broad beans are in flower and the peas are in bud. Tiny potato leaves are pushing their way through the soil even though I planted them out so late. And the herb garden smells of honey in the sun. Bees are in heaven already! The activity is quite giddying!

Next week I am to be up at 4am to visit one of the busiest fish markets in Britain…….

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