Yesterday was just glorious - one of those sunny winter days to lift the spirits, the sort of day to let you know the end of winter is not too far away! As we drove out of Puylagarde we had a fabulous view of the snow covered Pyrennees in the distance, the clearest we have ever seen them.
It was a perfect day for a walk and we chose one which involved quite a bit of road walking ( normally we avoid them if we can) as we were concerned about just how muddy everywhere would be because of the recent weather. The "roads" were small and quiet - many hardly more than tracks - and the weather wonderful - temperatures well into double figures, clear skies and no wind.
The highlight of the walk was a small diversion to the abbey at Beaulieu to see the annual snowdrop spectacular. Snowdrops grow in great profusion here, especially along the roadsides in the river valleys and I had heard that Beaulieu was a good place to see more and sure enough the woods behind the Abbey were carpeted. They were certainly a sight to behold especially if you like a bit of photography - we saw one keen lady lying prostrate with some very impressive equipment! My "apparatus" is a little more basic but I got some nice pictures anyway! Here are just a few:
I have always loved the the English country name for snowdrops "fair maids of February". They grew well in my cold wet Stoke on Trent garden but often waited for the beginning of March to appear. Here they are called "perce - neige" ( literally pierce snow) and are a happy and timely reminder to me that the winters are shorter here - even if this year it has seemed to drag on!
Towards the end of our walk we passed a French lady who was single handedly clearing leaves from the drainage ditch on the hill above her house to make sure that the water would stay in check. She cheerfully assured us the "grand hiver" was over though there was plenty more frost to come. Lets hope she was right - we keep reminding ourselves that the really cold snap here was in February last year - we 're really hoping we don't get a repeat of that.
|one more for luck!|