Now that I have been retired for (ahem) nearly eleven years, I have a tendency to treat every day as a holiday. Well, one does when one doesn't have to get out of bed at the crack of sparrow fart to catch a train to London. But it does mean that I tend to get just a little blasé about those days that meant so much to me during my working life. In fact, I get so blasé that the wretched days have a habit of sneaking up behind me and taking me unawares. Like last Wednesday. I told you the other day that 1st May, May Day, is a public holiday in France. There are people who say that France today is rather like England was 50 years ago. They have a point, as shops in France stay resolutely shut on Sundays (except the boulangeries) and all shops are closed on public holidays. Even though my favourite boulangerie had for several days been displaying a notice advising their esteemed clientele (or something like that) of the forthcoming holiday on which the shop would be shut, it sort of drifted over or past me and it was only on the morning we were leaving - May Day - that I remembered. So we were unable to do our usual shopping for essentials like wine.
(I must apologise to those of you who are regular readers and who are therefore fully cognisant of the foregoing. But stick with it; this does have a bearing on what follows.)
My local library is open on just three days each week: Monday, Thursday and Saturday. I had borrowed a couple of books which I read while in France and although they were not due back for another week, I wanted to exchange them. But Thursday passed in a blur of catching up, so I had to wait until Saturday. The day dawned promisingly and I got up early to walk the dog before hieing me to my duty at the Lions book fair. Then lunch, walk the dog again, check emails etc - and blow me down! The library is closed now. Oh well, there's always Monday. Except that today is a bank holiday so the library isn't open. Another sneaky holiday has crept up behind me! And not only is the library closed - there's no post collection either, which means my brother's birthday card will be late arriving.
Saturday may well have dawned fine, but it didn't last. Which was a shame as that was the first day of the Brighton Festival, the biggest arts festival in England. The Festival always opens on Saturday morning with the children's parade through the town. This year, unfortunately, they would have got a bit wet as it was damping - and not very warm. The weather improved in the afternoon and I was quite happy to walk the dog in Stanmer Great Wood. I wanted to check how the bluebells were doing. Many were in bloom, and there was a delightful scent, but they won't be at their best for a few days yet. Not like those in Withdean Park, very few of which have progressed even as far as the bud stage.
Withdean Park is the venue for Brighton Lions' contribution to the Festival. The Lilac Lark, which we organise in conjunction with the Friends of Withdean Park, is part of the Festival Fringe. The fair is to held next Sunday but I noticed yesterday how very few of the lilacs are anywhere near blooming. Given that the posters for the Lilac Lark carry the strap line "all this and the scent of the lilacs too" that will be rather a shame. We must just hope for warm, sunny weather this week to bring the blooms on fast.
Looking across the fields to the château de Tressé in Pouancé.