What a difference a week of sunshine makes! On returning home yesterday after our walking holiday in Wales, the first thing I notice is that my front garden seems to have exploded.
In a good way, I mean. Having suddenly appeared from nowhere is a deep pink curtain of flowering currant blossom, theatrically suspended above the front wall from a bush that seemed so much smaller when its branches were bare. Behind the wall, what had before my departure been bare soil is now festooned with a tangle of deliciously bright lime-green leaves. This blanket of ground cover is dotted with the violet starbursts of periwinkle flowers.
In the back garden what first catches my eye is a triffid-like mass of rhubarb that I swear wasn’t there last week. A mini forest of thick deep stems, marbled green and pink, underpin a volcanic eruption of sturdy curling leaves which look far more healthy and vibrant than should be allowed for something so notoriously poisonous. Closer to hand, the grassy bank immediately behind the house is peppered with yellow and russet primroses, little joyous bursts of colour, random as sparks from fireworks. Nearby, ancient plum, chestnut and apple trees that looked quite dead just a week ago now bear thick buds, their fruit apparently under starters’ orders.
Forget the holiday laundry, I think to myself, abandoning on the utility room floor the armfuls of clothes that I’ve just brought in from the camper van. We’d better get straight out into that garden and take charge, before it gets the wrong idea of who’s in control here. There’s clearly not a moment to lose.
I stride back through the house to call my husband who is busy detaching the bikes from the back of the van. The sun is sending beams as strong as spotlights through the flowering currant and into the living room, and I suddenly realise that it’s not only the plants that have multiplied at logarithmic rate while we’ve been away. I run my finger along the top of the piano. Yes, the same has happened to the dust.
Oh well, at least I had a rest on holiday.