Sunday, January 3, 2016

Coming Home

 Back to Le Ripe in Winter

We have been absent, in the southern hemisphere, for some weeks. In the meantime winter has set in and changes have taken place.


The hills are almost bare (the brown, crisp leaves of the quercus pubescens cling to the trees until spring), the landscape is subdued brown, grey, the evergreen of olive and cypress.
Berries are bright on our single, potted holly bush, but generally colour has seeped from the landscape. Yet there are flowers: rosebuds persist on bare branches; the lonicera fragrantissima is doing its thing this early in the year.

It has been a mild winter so far, people say. Sunny days and crisp air. But since we have returned it is as though winter has had second thoughts. No messing around now with mild, sunny days, let's do this properly. Mist, cold drizzle, temperatures below 5 degrees even by day. Snow however is not yet forecast.
Coming home is always a bit of a shock. First one has to check the basics: lighting the furnace is the priority, as our heating system takes several days to kick in fully. This year we are fortunate: our friendly housesitters have taken care of this job, so we find a home which is almost as warm as usual.Bliss.
A survey of the garden reveals the usual suspects. Weeds have made a return thanks to the milder weather, but nothing that a few days' work with a hoe cannot fix. A small lawn sown in the autumn is glossily luxuriant; indeed the grass everywhere is long and thick and crying out for the mower.

The vegetable garden requires tidying and clearing. Feed and other goodies need to be dug in. Shrubs, vines, roses are waiting to be pruned, cared for, cleared away. Some plants are showing signs of 'anaemia'; they need iron.

Winter tasks await but for now a cold drizzle excuses us and we huddle indoors over work and books, waiting for the sun to return.


  1. Beautifully written and illustrated account of a home-coming. Truly heart-warming. I adore 'colour has seeped from the landscape!

  2. Such an interesting account with excellent photographs of the winter Le Ripe at the home-coming.What a contrast from the southern hemisphere summer environment you have so recently left.


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