Spring is sprung

I ventured out on a walk round the village after the recent storms. Spring is well and truly here in Charente Maritime, a third of the way through February. These are just some of the signs:

1. The swifts have arrived and are searching for their old nests

2. The first campervan since last Autumn trundled through

3. Saw the first part-timer Brit (complete with shorts and sandals with socks) looking lost

4.Volets open and lots of windows too, a good airing after the winter shutdown

5. Flowers, wild and garden varieties, growing like crazy

What have you seen to lighten your heart?

I think we are a little further north-west than those who have commented here but we have also had a very mild winter (hope I have not spoken too soon) despite the wild winds of the past couple of days. We have daffodils and crocus in the garden, the camellia is in full bloom and the blue tits are eating us out of house and home. But most amazing is the fact that our geraniums are still blooming since last summer. This is amazing as we have some very hard frosts in this area. I always envied those living further south but I am not so sure now. No floods and no snow here!!!

Two nuthatches on the patio this morning, no black redstarts yet, sparrows and blue tits investigating holes in our gable wall for nesting sites, however it snowed overnight and more is forecast for today, so here in the Jura spring is a while away, hopefully no thaw before the end of the school holidays as our local skiing industry enjoys a short season. It has been a mild winter: I picked raspberries just before Christmas and my parsley plants haven't died back, protected by a layer of snow every time the temperature went below 0. No shorts visible here, or sandals, but fewer layers of jumpers or jackets than I usually see in February.

Swifts are trickling in about eight weeks too early. We have aconites, snowdrops, crocuses, hyacinths, grape hyacinths and Welsh poppies flowering. Cowslips were flowering before Christmas, now primroses, Marigolds have not stopped flowering, peach and plum blossom is opening, my bees have not ceased to be active all winter, we have seen wasps, I have been stung by a hornet but best of all 29 February will soon be here. ? The last day of hunting this season, not that I am against since I help them out, but all the paths will be free for me to roam in the forest. I have seen French people who have worn shorts all winter long, I am guilty on sandals but then I wear them all year round and would have done so even if there had been snow. A fair few Brits around, but many look lost... Camper vans never cease on the nearest main road, stoic Dutch and occasional Germans as a rule.

Autumn merged into spring. Suits me.

Far too early for Swifts isn’t it? If I went south for the winter I’d definitely leave it till April before returning…

It is now hailing Chris. A temperamental and temporary Spring I suppose. The Brit has retreated into his holiday home. One of the swifts just dive bombed our cat!

We are also in Charente Maritime and as you say it’s looking quite springy. Haven’t seen any swifts though, but the blue tits have returned to last years nest under the eaves. We also have Lavender in flower amongst other early arrivals.
If we happened to see a Brit in shorts, sandals and socks it would be quite depressing!