May time in the Dordogne reminds me of a supermarket offer; get three for the price of one. In any one day there can be a cool misty spring morning, a summery afternoon so hot that we can sunbath on the terrace after having a swim in the pool, finishing with a fresh breezy evening.
It’s the same with the flora; spring and summer flowers are blooming happily side by side. Our valley looks very optimistic as the trees awake from their winters sleep and re-grow their leaves in wonderful fresh shades of green and occasional patches of white blossom.
Seasonal restaurants and tourist sites are already open for business. We enjoy the first flower markets and the occasional vide-grenier (loft sale), these bring an enjoyable breath of typical French atmosphere. A walk around the many delightful and interesting local market towns is also very pleasant at this time of year.
For me, the most amazing thing in this month is the birds. ‘Hillside Park’ is filled with love songs from blackbirds, doves, hoopoes, tits, nightingales and many others.
Black redstarts have built a nest under the roof of the swimming pool and they keep trying to distract our attention from their nest. The tits have built several nests in the trees and one couple insist upon returning each year to their favourite place under the beam of the garage roof.
It has been a very mild winter this year and the spring has arrived early which was unfortunate for the Hoopoes because, when they returned to take-up their favourite nesting hole in the big Ash tree behind the house, it had already been commandeered by starlings.
There is usually something bird related happening in May: one year we had to rescue a wagtail from the chimney. Another year blue tits had nested in the gite wall so we stopped the building work while the fledglings ‘found their wings’. Last year a chubby baby owl appeared on the ground behind me, not knowing where it came from, I managed to fix it up with a safe shelter. It was gone in the morning. This spring has been calm; we enjoyed watching black redstart youngsters playing their games and noisy starlings screaming at any sound they hear.
I love those evenings when we are sitting on the terrace overlooking the valley, with a glass of excellent Bordeaux wine, listening to the nightingales and watching the gorgeous sunset.