Christmas is coming; the nights are closing in,
Big coats are neededâ€¦
And gloves, hats, scarves and things.
Itâ€™s probably fair to say that we wonâ€™t make a fortune writing verses for greetings cards – but while early December has brought a wintry chill to the air that has us dreaming of a cosy Christmas in front of a warm and crackling log fire at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, it also has made us a little nostalgic for the feel of the warm spring sun on our faces.
The chĂ˘teau welcomes guests for horse riding holidays from the end of April – and those who are lucky enough to be able to arrive early in the season are treated to nature reawakening in the hidden Garden of Eden that is our little corner of southwest France.
By the time the first guests of the year arrive, wild daffodils envelope the surrounding fields in their cheery gold and white hues, and the trees are bursting with blossom.
Along the sides of the roads around the chĂ˘teau and in the fields purple orchids start to bloom in May, to be replaced in by swathes of pyramidals as the month progresses; while the pretty, delicate cowslip is everywhere.
Riders enjoying one of the morning hacks with Tanya in May will often spot wild deer or boar along the trails, while red squirrels – so rare these days in the UK – are a delightful and common sight.
Meanwhile, bird watchers will have a field day.
The wonderful hoopoes return in May from their winter migration and are usually nesting by May, and we normally have half a dozen nightingales serenading us in ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨reâ€™s gardens.
Ornithologists will be delighted to discover that theyâ€™re not the only birds to make their home in the chateau. A pair of barn owls nest here every year, while redstarts – which are as common as sparrows – compete with swallows for bird real estate in the stables.
Believe us when we tell you – location, location, location is just as important in the bird world…
In the fields surrounding the chateau throughout the summer from May, we often see cattle egrets, with their distinctive white plumage making them easy to spot in among the cows and grass – and buzzards, black and red kites, sparrow hawks, honey buzzards and kestrels patrol the skies looking for prey.
Thereâ€™s no wonder weâ€™ve gone a little whimsical about May right now. You are, of course, welcome to join us next spring to enjoy the natural wonder.
Remember: if you book your 2015 horse riding holiday, whether itâ€™s in May or any other time, before December 31, 2014, you can look forward to a wonderful and relaxing luxury equestrian break in France next year at this year’s prices.