The Colours of Winter in Provence
So far, the colours of winter in Provence are a mishmash of rusty browns, reddish browns and various shades of green. Plus a generous dollop of cobalt blue.
It’s the middle of December and I am standing in this Provençal vineyard to photograph and show you what it’s like there in winter. And would you believe it – I’m still in T-shirt and jeans. That’s not to tell you how scruffy I look but that the weather here is still sunny and warm. Granted it’s close to mid-day but, let’s face it, what a treat.
It is the most wondrous of things. Cold chilly mornings when scarves and woolly jumpers are ‘de rigour’ when walking my two doggies (or doglets as my friend Tessa likes to call them) only to be, two hours later, basking in warm sunshine. While the sky isn’t always its usual (and dare I say stunning) pristine blue, it is blue and for me that’s pure magic. Feeling the sun’s warmth on my back is priceless.
Talking of Tessa, I wanted to share her latest water colour with you. She painted it in the vineyards at Château les Crostes near to Lorgues. Just as she was finishing Tessa said workers arrived in the field and began pruning all the vines. I love how she’s captured the amazing autumn colours of the vine leaves. A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about Paint Provence with Tess and her painting holidays. You may like to read it again.
But the mantle of autumn colours has gone and the winter colours of Provence are upon us. Dark splashes of green from ever-present fir trees and silvery green tones from olive trees now blend with brown.
Hunting Dogs and Wild Boars
Oddly, I think it’s in winter when you notice how many Beech trees there are in Provence. In summer their green leafy heads merge into the landscape. But come winter they make an impressive sight with their rusty brown leaves. Interspersed amongst them are ancient holm oaks in ageing colours of yellow, brown and russet. It will take the harsh winds of late winter to remove every last leaf. But gone now are the dainty vine leaves painted by Tessa. Only rows upon rows of gnarled old brown stumps are left, pruned to within an inch of their life and made ready for next year’s wine harvest.
As I cast my eye across the stony fields, it all feels rather sad and forlorn, even with the sun shining. But I’m cheered by the sight of Muffin and Filou (the doglets…). They’ve picked up the scent of some wild boars and are hot on their trail. Watching two little Chihuahuas pretending to be hunting dogs is comical. I pack up my gear, call them over and we walk back to my car. Time to head home. My hunting dogs are tired and flop on the back seat. I can hear Muffin’s gentle snoring.
Taking the A8 motorway we leave the colours of winter in Provence behind us. In front of us awaits the Alpes-Maritimes and the Côte d’Azur. Adorned with glorious palm trees and multitudes of exotic plants we enter a different world.