It’s the first day of spring, but you wouldn’t know it – a high of 8 Celsius in protected areas – and we don’t have any protected areas. (It’s 13 in Villefranche.) The normal harbingers of spring have yet to be seen or heard: no gentle hum of shears or mowers, not a lamb in sight except for the 'frozen meats' section, and only the odd hardy daffodil wanders lonely as a cloud, looking embarrassed at having stuck his neck out so early.
But there is one reliable vernal herald: the Frustrating High Street Card Quest – for this is also wife’s birthday, and I never like any of the cards I see. It's especially important this year because it is a special number. (I will not say what it is but you could divide it by ten or twelve and get no remainder – and she isn’t 120.) But the cards! They get more nauseous every year. I imagine the sales director of the evocatively-named Clinton’s looking at his figures and being content. But that’s not because his cards are good - it's because cards are a necessity, with specific deadlines, so people across the land do what I’ve done and after weeks of searching settle for the least worst. Thankfully there are fewer puke-invoking rhymes these days, but there still seems to be nothing (with the exception of those laughingly classified as ‘humorous’) between the glutinously sentimental and the ostentatious (the ones which say in effect, ‘I know it’s ghastly, but feel the price’). And if you do find one with anything remotely approaching an appropriate text, it has a picture of a kitten on the front.
So happy birthday babe, thanks for another wonderful year and have a great day – and sorry about the card.