Ready to rock?

Thank the Lord! The rain has stopped, the sun has come out and the soggy land is slowly soaking up all that excess water. The cows are back in the fields and some farmers have even managed to get the tractor into the mud and get the ploughing done. It finally feels like that wonderful inter-season: Spring to Summer. Nothing tells you that the winter is finally over like the rich fudge brown furrows of a freshly ploughed field. 

And not a moment too soon. We had almost given up. March 2024 was one of the wettest on record. According to Met Eireann we suffered over twenty days of rainfall, with County Cork getting eight days that they call “very wet days”. FYI: A wet day is a day with more than 1.0 mm of rainfall. A dull day is a day with less than 0.5 hours of sunshine. A very wet day is a day with over 10mm of rainfall. (So now you know, You’re welcome.) March 2024 was a very wet, very dull month with a few wet, dull days in between the downpours. 

I must confess that, like many others, we abandoned the sodden Aul’ sod as soon as March was out and took off to sunnier climes. In our case, we went to Florence and Pisa for some R&R and Art, but mostly for some sun and heat. And food. And wine. I won’t gloat. It was wonderful. Suffice it to say that when we landed in Cork to grey skies and eight degrees Celsius, it was hard not to turn around and join the queue waiting to board the flight back to Pisa. Thankfully only a few days after our return the rain stopped and the sunshine pushed the clouds away, finally letting the blue skies back in over our heads. When we ventured outside the buds and flowers were getting going, the soggy ground out the back had stopped looking like a swamp and we could have a bit of a wander round. As always at this time of year, the land was full of surprises – like new bunches of primroses and extensive white bells; and promise – like the sea of bluebell leaves and the double row of foxgloves in the wee woods which is going to be a delight in a few months.

This is the most hopeful time of the year. It is a time I love. The bullocks racing around, kicking up their heels in the delight of getting outside. The pale green light that diffuses everything with a magical filter. And, of course, all the flowers and buds, leaves and ferns. All of it holds anticipation and hope. Summer is on the way and we’re getting ready to rock. Naysayers beware. I refuse to contemplate anything but a beautiful, sunny, hot Summer 2024. 

Speaking of flowers – so far, it’s been an extraordinary year. You may have missed it if you live in town, but the yellow primroses (cowslips) have been amazing. I have never seen such abundance. They are usually shy flowers, hiding in the shadows, peeping out from the grass. Not this year. This year the tiny flowers got together in a chorus line of flashy flounces that have covered entire grass banks.  Encountering a wall or hedgerow covered in dainty pale-yellow flowers is a balm for the heart on the greyest of wet, grey days. In the sunshine they take on that Disneyesque look that we call “silly pretty”. You can easily imagine a cartoon rabbit lounging in the sun. (Sometimes there is a real one. Or a fox from central casting.) Judging from the swathes of bright green leaves along the roads, we’re in for a similar treat from the bluebells. The white bells (or three-cornered leek) are already blooming. Soon the blue and the white will combine with the pale unfurling ferns to provide a floral display that would cost you an arm and a leg in any European capital. West Cork is beautiful any time of year, but May has got to be in the top slot. In fact, if you do live in town, get out and about on a back road. You won’t regret it.

I trust that by the time you read this we will have enjoyed some sunny days. Met Eireann is predicting a mini heatwave. It’s only 18 degrees, but it will have to do. We’ve taken out the garden furniture and put it out the back. We even had drinks before dinner out there last night. Granted I was wearing two jumpers and a big woollen shawl, but the light was lovely, the birds were singing and for about a half an hour we could feel summer in the sir. Then we went inside because it was getting a bit nippy…

Tina Pisco

Tina Pisco is a best-selling author, who has lived in West Cork, Ireland for the past twenty years.

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