my spring garden in Norfolk, sadly abandoned for a month, just at the point when the first flush of bloom is taking place, and the first flush of weed growth, and the grass too, both needing attention.
in fact everything is about a month late; primroses are dotted about, still in their early stage with many flowers still rolled up tight,
the blackthorn has delayed until the day I leave, and of course it’s the best show of blossom since I planted them. I hope there are enough insects for pollination and I get some sloes this autumn.
the banksii rose on one of the pot shed veranda columns has suddenly put on a blaze of little red-tinged leaves, and under it there is a big cowslip.
we leave for the channel shuttle on a beautiful sunny morning, and  the fine weather continues all the way through France and into Spain. on the second day I start sneezing – tree pollen – take an anti-histamine and have to stop for a nap in one of the splendid “Aires” on the péage, St Leger, a way past the Loire Valley.
I wake up to find we are sitting next to a tiny but idyllic patch of naturalised woodland
starred with drifts of huge wood anemones, primroses, celandines and a few bluebells
the road between Le Mans and Bordeaux is very beautiful, swooping valleys between rounded hills patched with trees, picturesque old houses and barns, tall woodland everywhere spotted with balls of green mistletoe like some strange decoration on the bare branches.
after Bordeaux the road through Gascony and Les Landes is flat and dreary, mostly pine forest near the  invisible dune coastline of the Atlantic, with the trees all damaged and broken next to the road. then the last edge of the Pyrenees and the Basque country looms up, misty and green with new leaf, up and down the rounded foothills. as soon as you cross the mountains into Spain proper the climate is dry and cold, spring lags behind and the trees are all bare.
Extremadura is dry this April; spring has come early, aromatic cistus is strong in the air on the autopista and after seven weeks with no rain the spring flowers are sparse. yellow broom is out all over the sierra and scents the air with a sour pea smell.
the white broom is almost finished; I must get hold of some seed pods and spread them around the finca. the big patch of it near the choza has been decimated by the activities of the builders, but it will come back next year. tasselled hyacinths are all over the place, intense blue exotic looking flowers.
bushes of rock roses smother the damper parts, their fried egg coloured flowers are a most welcome decoration. on the roadsides and on our camino there are bushes of wild lavender flowering everywhere.
I would like to entice some onto my land but they are fussy plants and difficult to transplant.
the pool is almost done; it needs a few more loads of water and then the shallow planting can be done, of irises and rushes. there is a problem with the solar power; the pump is not the right kind for my system, it sucks almost as much power out as the panels can absorb, so I hope that can be put to rights. At the moment it is oxygenating the water, a job the plants will take over when they get going.


tomorrow morning the solar engineer is coming to check the system out, as there seems not to be much charge coming in. the mysteries of making one’s own electricity are endless. despite constant sunshine I am spending evenings in candlelight.