Yesterday saw summer planting in our courtyard garden. Since escaping the lawns and fruit trees of our first house in France, we now enjoy the pleasure of not mowing lawns and of not collecting fallen fruit, both of which I’m sure people enjoy, but then again some people enjoy running a marathon. Gravel, terracotta, stone and wood make up the new canvas with a few beds of lavender, rosemary, thyme and hydrangeas. Our olive trees, which we have grown over the last ten years, flourish and produce good olives. They seem to produce fruit in turn and, having produced the fruit, lose their leaves at the beginning of the following year. The cure is hard pruning and a spraying with “Bouillie Bordelaise” which seems to have the same effect as the magic sponge on a rugby player’s injuries. Herbs have been pruned and put into new pots – the basics of parsley, mint, tarragon, sage, rosemary, thyme and bayleaf are ready to hand outside the back door, whilst pots of basil are already on the kitchen worktop. Geraniums were bought yesterday and the afternoon was spent filling big terracotta pots with these fantastic plants. Lobelia and campanula fill smaller pots to contrast with the grey/green of the lavender and herbs. The pool has been uncovered and sun is shining which signifies the true start of summer. We still light a log fire in the evening, an event that carries on until the weather makes it too uncomfortable to bear the heat of the fire which is as unimaginable now as the return of winter will be in six months time.