Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The return

We finally arrived back at Pissou yesterday afternoon after a looooong journey which started at dawn Sunday morning when we left Dorset to catch the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe. Both vehicles were fully laden with items that we have kept from the house in Sheffield and miscellaneous other bits and pieces that it is impossible to take back when flying. Fortunately, the weather for the drive back was perfect and the overnight stopover with one of my hosts in central France facilitated a battery recharge before the final 5 hour push down to the Pyrenees - jeez, it's a long trip! We arrived back to clear blue skies and rapidly melting snow - hard to believe that a week ago, the ground was covered with over 50cms of the white stuff!

The house was cold, very cold, which was to be expected after a month of lying empty. But the woodburner downstairs and the petrol heater upstairs quickly brought us some welcome warmth - a year ago, before we renovated the ground floor, it would have taken days to warm the house because of the awful damp that penetrated every room. But today, a comfortable temperature was quickly reached.

Today has been a full-on day of post-holiday catching up, sorting through the mountain of Stuff that we have brought back with us, getting 2 loads of washing on the line etc. But more importantly, I have tackled Potager Matters. I am very conscious of the unstoppable march of time and of the fact that, as yet, I have not sown any seeds for the summer's produce. So, in my new heated propagator, I have sown three varieties of tomato, some chillis and some beetroot. I have also sown two varieties of squash and some baby sweetcorn. By the weekend, temperatures are due to reach 20 degrees so I shouldn't have any problem with germination this year. This afternoon, I also lifted the remaining parsnips which amounted to a fair few kilos!
I have stored the majority in a jute sack in the barn but also have half a dozen stored in the fridge and will also be freezing a couple. Later in the week, I must have a potager day and get the French beans and early carrots sown, keeping a cloche or two handy to protect the sowings in case temperatures dip again in April. But I am hoping, just hoping (yeah, I know, the eternal optimist!) that Spring is now knocking at the door.

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