For three successive mornings we have woken to sun pouring in through the windows. But winter habits being hard to shake off, ask any monk, on my way back from buying bread, I stopped at Claude’s house to order some more firewood to be delivered next week. For the Vendéen farmers, frosts don’t stop until April 13, and I’ve found that to be true. In contrast to that, the door to the garden is wide open, for the first time since last autumn, allowing the fresh, warm air to circulate through the house. The feel of the sun and the colour of the sky affect my palate as much as any other of my senses. My morning toast was rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, anchovies and capers. It was my first taste of this summer and was, happily, not a mirage.