I haven’t written a post for a while, feeling unsure during these difficult times about what people might want to read.
Springtime in Provence?
But then I’m not actually there, and like most people can’t even get there…..
Life on the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe?
Perhaps that would sound too idyllic? Living on the ski slopes at Lake Tahoe’s ski resort, Northstar, especially now, has been very special. We’ve felt blessed to be surrounded by such breathtaking winter beauty, able to ski from our front door, but even here, life has been restricted and often lonely…..
Then I thought about comparing life under COVID in Britain, California and Provence? But despite the glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel, would people really want to read any more about COVID?
I started to question why I even write this blog, that perhaps my silence had driven my readers away?
And then I received two comments on posts I’d written several years ago. One about the WWII American Air base at Greenham Common in England (written in 2018) and the other about Changi Gaol in Singapore (written in (2015). Both very personal and both connected to World War II. A reminder that however challenging and for some tragic, this last year has been, we haven’t had to endure the horrific challenges of war ~ the tyranny of occupation, the terror of being bombed or despair of parting with our loved ones leaving to fighting a war no one ever wanted……
That these people had reached out to me also helped me realize why I write; connecting with others, that my ramblings get found and resonate. I often fret that my focus should be about sharing useful information, travel related or otherwise, when in fact the posts which receive the most love are often those about the journey of life, written from the heart. So forgive me, here are some seasonal, heart-felt perspectives about my three special places.
Provence in the spring
I’ve been in Provence in the spring many times and of course it’s beautiful! Like many other places at this time of year the air smells fresh and crisp, the buds and leaves are bursting, Provence’s abundant fruit trees kissed with blossom petals. These cherry blossoms bloom outside our front door, hence the name of our house ~ Maison des Cerises ~House of the Cherry Trees.
All across the region, throughout the sprawling vineyards, the vines’ gnarly fists begin to show the promise of the coming season’s abundance as the leaves of surrounding trees unfurl into a canopy of green.
Spring flowers splash cheer along the roadside heralding new life, brimming their radiance in the market stalls and shops. Lourmarin’s delightful florist ‘Une Fleur M’a Di’ welcoming the season with a whimsical touch.
And in Provence’s markets, bright yellow bouquets of Mimosa take center stage.
El-fresco diners flow onto the cobbled streets where below the clay tiled rooftops and shuttered windows the ambience of this ancient place is so beguiling.
The video art spectacle Carrières de Lumières resumes next month, April 3 2021, one of my favorite places to visit and take our visitors. This year it will be profiling the work of Cezanne and Kandinsky. Even though Carrières de Lumières’ stunning Van Gogh production is now being shown in other cities, including San Francisco, its’ setting at Les Baux-de-Provence in an old bauxite quarry cave, nestled under the crumbling ramparts of a medieval Provencal village perché, is somehow more enticing!!
There’s been some changes in the 13 months since we’ve been in Lourmarin. An impressive new shop for our wonderful bakery ~ Boulangerie de Stéphane Riquier ~an even shorter stroll from our house! And next door Lourmarin has been blessed with the addition of a butcher, Boucherie de Lourmarin ~ Avenue du 8 mai 1945 Route d’Apt 84160 Lourmarin ~ thanks to the wonders of their social media posts I know I’m going to be a regular customer! I so hope later this year we can return to our enchanting Provencal village.
England in the spring
In early March the British Isles become resplendent with spring flowers and blossoms, stunning banks of primroses tumbling throughout the woodlands. My own Home thoughts from Abroad, so aptly written by Robert Browning, years ago, resonate deeply ~ “Oh to be in England now that Spring is here”
Fields of baby lambs.
Normally at this time of year pub gardens get busy, people happy to be able to enjoy a pint and lunch outside. Sadly, this year, during COVID, they’ll have to wait, hopefully only until mid April.
And in spring, English gardens everywhere burst into life.
A tad cooler than Provence, but that same feeling of expectancy, with blossoms sprinkling a confetti of petals across the tree branches.
Lake Tahoe, California
When we first arrived in Lake Tahoe in mid-November, just the highest slopes of The Northstar Ski Resort, where we’ve been living, were dusted with snow.
And then the snow came and the resort sprung to life. Thanks to Northstar’s efficiency and their COVID precautions, the resort has stayed open and we’ve felt safe enjoying skiing in this stunning place.
Those initial days of powder were soon followed by winter storms. The view from our window became a blanket of winter white.
Not without its challenges for those that needed to travel!
But making the magnificent views across the lake from the top of the mountain even more spectacular.
The nearby town of Truckee became carpeted with banks of thick cotton wool.
And we watched in delight and pride as our our 2 year-old granddaughter became competent with her tiny boots and skis for the first time ~ “More Grandpa! More!”
And then there’s Lake Tahoe itself ……….
My three vey special places in the early spring. I hope you are reading this from somewhere you love as much, stay safe, things are getting better!