When I came to transfer all my recent photos to my laptop, I found there were over 100 for me to go through! High time for me to play “catch-up” now that the month is (already) over!
Well, for a start, those spring pictures of the garden? With plenty of sunshine and probably just enough rain in April, this year, everything has grown rapidly and a week ago was already looking like this Those paeonies will burst into bloom any day, now, so I’ll be keeping my eye on the gardens at the nearby Carthusian monastery, where there is a wonderful paeony collection, as well as a beautiful rose garden. The masses of columbines we have everywhere will be colouring up any moment, too. In other places we have clouds of perennial forget-me-nots (brunnera) and lilacs that I couldn’t resist bringing in… It was the old Carthusian monastery we visited on Good Friday – Easter was a pretty washed-out affair in this country, but Friday was dry enough for a walk in the woods and a coffee break at the restaurant there. They’d set the lunch tables for their Easter guests very prettily, with the serviettes folded in bunny-ears 🙂 And such simple, pretty flowers on every table, too! The atmosphere in this place is extremely soothing, which is probably why it’s used as a seminar hotel, but you can also buy products made on-site, where those at the edge of society get a chance to be productive, too – organic cheeses, meats, jams, bread, teas…
Just outside the walls of the monastery are vineyards and if you go up here you will find this pretty little chapel, whose simple interior is painted in soothing dark colours with subtle gold decoration that catches the light. If you then turn around, you can look back down on the monastery (it’s no longer active – most were dissolved around 1848 here) –
There is also a view right out over the Thur valley to the mountains, but that will have to wait for a day with better weather conditions!
A lot less pretty but infinitely useful in a climate that CAN get very cold in winter (though it didn’t this year!) is our new gas heating system, replaced after 25 years – so for posterity, a pic of that, too (we use the utility room to store shoes and sports equipment, hence the shelving – as the new system takes up more room than the old one, another round of decluttering has had to happen to fit everything back on the shelves!)… What with the rain setting in, we were glad it would stay warm, and it also meant that activity returned indoors, where spending time with my grandchildren usually means a certain amount of time doing jigsaw puzzles, which they are surprisingly good at! M is only 2 1/2 but already confidently does these 15 piece puzzles, usually 4 or 5, one after the other, so requiring a good concentration span, while her brother easily manages 100 pieces and won’t be 6 till the summer! Though I have to say that, given the chance and decent weather, both are quick to be on their bikes, up in the treehouse or on the trampoline!
We had two jaunts with a useful purpose this month, to represent our respective mothers at meetings, and we would certainly be foolish to refuse the opportunity of a weekend in Lugano in the spring. A very bright sunny day meant we enjoyed the park of the hotel where the meeting took place and subsequently the parks along the lake shore, where the azaleas were particularly abundant and jazzy and the sparkling water with the mountains around made for a really spectacular vista and there was a very pleasant breeze to counteract the quick heat – That’s the San Salvatore seen from the Villa Castagnola …and camellias!
Later that same night, an enormous thunderstorm came up, so that the following morning (with another one in the course of the morning), our view went from this to this… with a good 15°C drop in temperature…We were fortunate to be invited for lunch up at the top of the Verzasca valley, which is at 900 metres above sea level and very quiet, and just as lovely in the rain – on the way up the winding mountain road to get to it, we passed this unusual waterfall (and there are many gushing down in to the Verzasca river!): In the middle of the picture, it is no illusion – the water passes under a slab of stone and then reemerges a couple of metres further down! This area is well known for the bridge at Lavertezzo, though this is an older photo, as well as the geology – and the slate and stone houses which fortunately, don’t lose their charm in the rain!!
The month was also productive on the knitting front – here a little cardigan, Wee Wildflower, by Alana Dakos and using Madeline Tosh Sock in Lotus. I love the scalloped cast-on edging and despite the small needles, it knit up quickly and easily and is a perfect fit! and whereas this was just the beginning this has grown and grown and is about to have the sleeves sewn in for a finished Thermal henley by Laura Chau from Knitty (a free pattern!) in a waffle stitch – the yarn is, once again, Madeline Tosh Sock, this time in colourway Mala, a wonderful mêlée of moss green, sky blue and tinges of pink and lilac… I think it’s very springlike!