One of their great writers, Jean de La Fontaine, produced French versions of fables, in verse and with illustrations. There are twelve volumes, with stories such as The Ant and the Grasshopper, told with elegance, wit and verve, in simple French which is usually easy to understand today. Each teaches a lesson about our relationships with society.

Nettles are local, they are fresh, they are free – and they are particularly rich in vitamin C and iron. In medieval times, they were used to treat pain in joints, and as a diuretic.

April is the month when things in the garden really begin to grow. In February and March there seemed to be plenty of time: in April as the ground warms up, the garden comes along in a rush. So it is time to catch up with your jobs.

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