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It’s a little late but be thankful for small mercies. First day of spring was the 21st of March, ten days ago. It’s desperately dry though, and doesn’t look like being much of a spring. But here’s a picture of an abejorro in the wisteria to cheer you up. Abejorros or ‘Carpenter Bees’ are big and deep blue and beautiful. At this time of year the wisteria is so thick with them that from the first light of day until the sun goes down, you can hardly hear yourself think for their massed buzzing and humming. They certainly do give those wisteria flowers a hammering.

Opinion differs as to whether they sting or not. They look, for all their beauty, like they could give you a humdinger of a sting. Chloé, my daughter found one in her lunchbag once, and put her hand in and fished it out, whereupon it gave an appropriate impression of gratitude, and wobbled off on its delicate wings weighted with cheese and pickle. Heartened by this episode of natural harmony I fished one out of the pool with my hand, whereupon it stung me. I was OK; I survived, and it wasn’t as bad as being stung by a scorpion, like the Wife was, in the scratcher (see ‘Scorpion and Orpington) or, indeed, being mauled by a hippopotamus. I made the most of it though.

Thus Mother Nature: not to be trusted. However our own record vis-à-vis Mother Nature leaves a great deal to be desired. Perhaps I shall expatiate at


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greater length upon this theme when time is more plentiful, but for the moment I shall leave you with another gladdening spring image. This one is the Pêche de Vigne in blossom and hung, for some reason which escapes me, with an artificial bee. A pêche de vigne is a small white peach whose tree used to grow plentifully among the vineyards of France. Nowadays with ever more mechanical harvesting the pêches de vigne are being grubbed out and are in danger of extinction. Our friend Carl, who lives in France and cares deeply about peaches, gave us some seedlings.