Archive for March, 2013

Nectarine blossom

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment


A fortnight ago the first pink appeared on the nectarine buds.

I’ve been watching ever since as the pink part got bigger and bigger but stayed resolutely closed.

Then suddenly this evening the first flower opened.

In fact it opened as I watched it.

I know because I took a photo, then decided to take another, and already the bloom was almost unrecognisable!


Fully open a few minutes later


Good morning, and four eggs

March 23, 2013 Leave a comment
A little alleyway off Valtopina's main street

A little alleyway off Valtopina’s main street

I was in Valtopina pharmacy this morning and overheard the pharmacist joking with an elderly lady customer.

To her “Buongiorno” (Good morning), she was teaching him to say “E quattro uova” (And four eggs).

Apparently it’s an old country greeting.

I can’t imagine where it could have come from.

The greeting continues something like: “Two for you,” to which the other person replies: “Two to keep”.

Anyway, the lady explained to me that all four eggs end up with the same person!


March 22, 2013 Leave a comment
Mimosa - epitome of yellow

Mimosa – epitome of yellow

You can’t get much yellower than this.

We were treated to this glorious sight when we went to Foligno this morning.

Our first port of call was the Old Hospital, where I had a physiatric appointment for my back.

I discovered they’ve instituted a new system whereby, for reasons of privacy, patients are summoned from the waiting room using a colour which designates the specialist they’re going to see, followed by the time of the appointment.

Thus in my case: Brown, 8.55.

The system was rendered somewhat pointless, however, because often the name of the specialism was called out as well as the colour.

I witnessed an amusing altercation between a nurse and a patient.

The nurse called out “Yellow,” and then various times, none of which elicited any response from among the waiting patients until a very elderly gentleman piped up and said he had an appointment at 9.40.

I’ve already told you,” scolded the nurse, “you’re Black. I’m calling Yellow.”

The gentleman grumbled to his neighbour about how he was being spoken to.

Hands on hips, the nurse vociferated: “I’m being perfectly polite but I’ve told you 3 times. You have an oculist appointment; I’m calling for something else. You’ve got Black written on your appointment paperwork.”

I can’t see to read it.”

You don’t need to because I’ve told you 3 times.

But I can’t remember anything. I’ve got no memory!

I was called by name in the end. So much for ‘Brown’.

Plum blossom

March 21, 2013 Leave a comment
First flowers to open in the orchard

First flowers to open in the orchard

Today was the first dry, sunny day for ages.

The dragon’s blood plum tree took advantage to open a couple of flowers.

It’s even overtaken the nectarine tree which hasn’t quite unfurled any petals yet.


March 20, 2013 Leave a comment
A chafed rose stem

A chafed rose stem

Pruning the roses, I’ve been noticing for the first time what extreme damage can be done by two stems rubbing against each other.

Maybe it’s because we’ve had such particularly ferocious winds or maybe it’s just that I haven’t looked very hard before.

One or both stems may be worn almost all the way through, and yet the sap finds its way past and produces leaves.

Categories: Gardening Tags: , , , , , , , ,


March 19, 2013 3 comments
Fumitory in bud

Fumitory in bud

This photo is only of a fumitory bud.

I say ‘only’ because it’s basically a weed.

It was growing around the rose I was pruning today and I tried to trample it as little as possible.

After I’d photographed it with my diopter lens + 4, I realised just how delicately beautiful it is.

It’s the small and humble things that give the best return on observation, it seems to me.

Coffee grind

March 18, 2013 2 comments
Coffee grinder and bag of beans

Coffee grinder and bag of beans

A kilogram of coffee on special offer? I had to grab it.

But when I opened the bag this morning I found out it wasn’t ground coffee but coffee beans!

Fortunately we have a coffee grinder, which I’d considered an antique more than anything else.

The catchment tray for the grounds had some rather dubious, partly-scratched-off yellow paint on the inside, so I lined it with foil.

Other than that, it worked well and the resulting coffee was very good.

The trouble is, we already have instant rather than filter coffee for speed some mornings – now there’s yet another step to the process!