L’Escapade: Episode 15

Note to self: There’s no such thing as a LOW-MAINTENANCE GARDEN.

When I first saw Colin’s garden, back in January, I thought it was going to be no problem to look after. It’s roughly half gravel drive, leading up to the garages at the back, and half flowerbeds, planted-up last year with shrubs. There is no lawn.

Colin's Garden S

Weeds, however, are persistent, perpetual, relentless, incessant, determined, invasive, engulfing, tenacious, little so-and-sos. They think it’s funny to grow on the gravel; love to send deep roots down close to the big stone edgings between the gravel and the flowerbeds; better still, to grow really close to the middle of an established shrub, twist and turn and cling around the bushes. And don’t get me started on ants!

I am not going to moan about the heat, not yet anyway. It’s only May but we’ve had some beautiful weather this month. In the winter we thought this was a very shaded location, as we are surrounded by mountains or hills, but now the sun is so much higher in the sky we find that actually most of the flowerbeds get very little shade. So gardening has to be done in the early morning before it gets too warm.

The positive thing about weeding is the satisfaction of seeing the results. But since I haven’t yet finished after three weeks work, I’m beginning to think it’s going to be a continual task.

All work and no play makes Caroline’s blog rather boring, so we’ve been doing plenty of enjoyable things too. Last Saturday afternoon, the 40th Ronde de L’Isard, (an International Cycle Race for under 23s), was passing through Les Cabannes on the way up to Plateau de Beille. There were 24 teams and 144 cyclists taking part in the 4 day event. John and I walked up the road towards the Château to get the best view. We were really early, of course, so there was a lot of hanging around. Tori came down and joined us for a while, before continuing down to the village. Excitement builds as the “Caravan” (the sponsors’ vans distributing freebie gifts) goes past. A very much smaller affair than the Tour de France we experienced a few years ago. However we received a very welcome sunscreen for the car, a lighter which I gave to Tori, and John had a drinks bottle thrown to him.

Peleton S

After most of the cyclists had gone through we wandered back to the Mairie to find Pam and Tori sitting on the wall watching the last few pass. The four of us adjourned to the terrace in front of the bar for apéros. Shamay was working at the pop-up outside bar and served us. It was a really pleasant atmosphere with so much activity in the square. There was a huge marquee set up for an evening banquet for the race officials and dignitaries. Also a book-signing was taking place in the boulangerie. C’était une après-midi très agréable.