Again. With temperatures predicted to drop to -6°C (21°F). Just when I'd started crowing that we'd turned the corner and spring was on its way. But it was. Temperatures were up around 16°C (61°F), the new spring grass was bursting through, the magnolia was in bud, and I'd even seen the first Forsythia in flower.
Then yesterday at 4pm I came out of a seminar, where I'd been all day, and stopped dead in my tracks. There was bright, bright sunshine and a clear blue sky - but the temperature had plummeted to 2°C.
It's the same today, with the forecasts predicting snow between tomorrow and Tuesday.
Snow in March doesn't happen every year here, but neither is it particularly rare. I've found records from 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2005. It doesn't usually last long - there's even a saying Neve marzolina dura dalla sera alla mattina which translates as March snow lasts from the evening to the morning It loses a lot in the translation as you miss the rhythm and the rhyme. Maybe : In March it snows in the evening then goes. Read as da DA, da DA, da da DA da, da DA. But back to the plot ..
I've spent the past few weekends clearing up after the winter and starting to get seeds in. The front balcony is now looking pristine if a bit bare. But that will soon change. The corner by the living room doors is already full with the pansies and primroses I wrote about before, and wallflowers and bulbs which are coming on nicely.
A lot of the bulbs are from my London garden - they're just a selection of stuff that I dug up when I was clearing up last summer. As I didn't recognise them, I brought some back to plant here - to see what I'd get. Still not sure what's in the first pot here. The long leaves are possibly Snowflakes and in the middle there are some hyacinths. Very small though - I'm not expecting them to flower. The blue pot at the back has crocuses in front, which are now starting to bloom. All white so far - I wonder if that's chance or whether I've now got a London garden full of white crocuses? I hope to be there next week, so should find out. I don't know what the larger ones at the back are yet -we'll see.
This weekend should be dedicated to the back balcony - which is still in a dreadful mess, partially because my main method of clearing up the front was to shift all the rubbish to the back. But with temperatures at only 2°C, the idea of getting out there looks somewhat less attractive.
My seeds are all safe from the low temperatures as they're sitting happily indoors in their propagators. This is the time of year when my long-suffering husband starts to mutter that normal people have a bedroom, so why is it only us that have to sleep in a greenhouse? Most of them only went in last Sunday, but a few have already started to sprout. Here come the Morning Glory that Briana sent me when Bilbo came to stay.
The only advantage of the current weather is that we can see the Alps - unusual in Milan as the heavy smog generally obscures them, despite the fact that they're only about 30 miles away.
Heavy rain last week must have cleaned the air sufficiently to make them visible. The photos were taken from the roof of our building this morning.