I'll stick to photography and will not write about “our first year in Provence”.
And in photography, I'll start like other photographers moving to foreign places:

I start by looking out of my window.

Not that this helps much in avoiding the postcard-trap, but you get an idea about structure and light in your surroundings, and – living in the countryside – it gives you an idea about the seasons and their particularities.

So let us start by looking to the left just outside my office-door. And in the next posting, we look to the right.

You probably think that is a ridiculously narrow point of view, but you will see how much tings change between October and now.
I am curious for your feed-back.


The above image was taken on 22 October, actually later than the following one that looks already much more autumnal.


Collobrières Vignes Vapeur

13 October: Since we live in a valley parallel to the sea, at the foot of the Massif des Maures, the sea does not temper temperature changes here, and it becomes rather cold at night. In the early October mornings, the sun evaporates the dew or even the frost on the vineyards.


Collobrières Vignes dernières feuilles

Between 20 (above) and 25 November (below), all the vine leaves disappear.


Collobrières Vignes dépoulliées


In December and January, I must have looked elsewhere or simply have braved the surprising cold. On clear nights, between early December and end of February, temperatures fell below zero – on every clear night! I had hoped for a mild winter, which it often was – during the day.


Collobrières Vignes pendant la coupe

6 February: The vine is getting pruned rather severely, giving a rather more graphic structure to the formerly straggly vineyards. Very nice!


Collobrières Vignes prunier en fleur

11 March: The plum tree at the top of the vineyard is in blossom, a good three weeks later than the trees closer to the sea or in north-south valleys.


Collobrières Vignes premières feuilles

23 April: The first timid leaves appear on the vine. The plum tree is through its blossom and already covered in new leaves.


Collobrières Vignes feuillage ressorti

7 May: Only two weeks later, the vine has grown amazingly; new branches and lots of leaves. The graphic structure is gradually disappearing.


Collobrières Vignes et laurier

22 June: The vineyard has become an unstructured sea of green, the oleander is in full bloom again (as it was in October), and if the image were larger, you could see a ton of yellow fruit on the plum tree at the top of the vineyard.
Talk about the postcard-trap!

While I write this, I have just finished cleaning up a ton of such small yellow plums – for the second day running – in front of my window in our garden! In my home village we would have made Schnaps from them, but people in the South are not into strong alcohol, and you don't find anyone distilling fruit. We will have to stick to rosé wine.
Not that I complain about rosé! Our niece and her husband's family make a very nice one just across the hills, at the Château Ste. Marguerite

Next week: The view to the right of my window.