Spring really is coming: but it reaches Italy ahead of us northerners, so here to cheer you are paeonies photographed in Easter Week in Florence - in the Botanic Gardens, just north of San Marco.
That was some Easter! Seven days in Florence, assisting Fr Lawrence MacLean at the Chaplaincy of St Mark in Via Maggio. Fr Lawrence is an old boy of Worksop College, so the school choir supported the music over Easter, singing both at the Vigil Mass, when there was a confirmation, and also on Easter morning.
There were Trumpets also (and Shawms, I daresay, though I did not see any) and the whole festival was a very happy experience. On Easter morning, it looked as though the building might burst it was so full, with visitors and regular worshippers from all over the globe.
Above the entrace to the Palazzo which houses the church stands a challenging image of St Mark; on the right, its sculptor, Jason, an American who worked for a year producing this wonderful image which stands so firmly in the tradition of the great Florentine artists.
They have had a cold wet winter in Italy, and Easter was still chilly, but the last couple of days have been wonderful. I thought a few pictures might cheer you up, and help you decide that if you've not yet been to Florence you much get there; and if you have been before that you will renew the acquaintance.
On the left, a glimpse of Brunelleschi's great Dome on the Cathedral; and on the right, some azaleas in the botanic gardens.