Over at Polly-Vous Français, Polly explains the French expression, avoir le cafard, and its relevance to February. As she says,
In my experience, February is normally a month best forgotten: short on
sunlight, the slump of winter, gray despair stretched to the limit. No wonder
the Calendar Guys made it the shortest month. And there is the cruel addition of
an extra 24 hours of February this year, which is une année bissextile -- a leap year.
But, she continues, it's 62 degrees in Paris right now, with blue skies, so it's "impossible to be down in the dumps."
Also in Paris, Geraldine at Café Mode makes the surprising claim that after August, February is her favourite month. Wow! I assumed February was universally reviled, so I read on to find her rationale. She cites the lengthening days, clear, fresh air, magically pleasant days (it's in the 60's, or mid-teens Celsius in Paris right now), and the new spring collections are beginning to arrive in the shops.
Well, I'm far from having Paris's joys to reconcile me to February, but today was one of those magically pleasant days with sunshine, blue skies, and I spotted my first redwinged blackbird of the year (I heard it last week but doubted my ears). And on our little island here, a February treasure par excellence, advertised on one of our island's bulletin boards, shown above. Amongst all that clutter of services offered, goods for sale, and events to mark on the calendar is this charming wee invitation:
The garden we're invited into was designed something over a decade ago by a wonderful old gardener, Phil, whose wife, Noni, struggled to get through winters. Phil was a master plantsman and he put his encyclopedic knowledge together with the green thumb and strong digging limbs of part-time hired hand Jane. Their shared goal was a garden to lift Noni's spirits through the winter with a combination of colour and fragrance. After Phil died several years ago, Noni eventually moved to a retirement home and sold the house (with garden). Fortunately, the new owners, even while they don't live here yet but rent the house out, realized the value of this special garden and continue to hire Jane to care for it. I walked by with my camera the other day to record these cyclamens that border the road -- a much bigger, denser clump is punctuated with snowdrops in the main garden, just below the hamamelis that should begin flowering shortly.
The photo above is my latest entry in Project Spectrum. I know the overall colours are much cooler than you might expect to depict fire, but you can't deny there's pinkness going on, and Project Spectrum's fire incorporates red, orange, and pink.
This last photo shows the mix of catkins (front) and leafings-out (on the Indian plum in the background) that really convinces me that spring has begun its week-by-week progress here and we'll soon be putting the winter coats away.