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Archive for April, 2013

Sowbread

April 30, 2013 Leave a comment
An individual flower

An individual flower

It’s rather an ugly name for such a pretty flower, which otherwise is called wild cyclamen.

Apparently it used to grow in such abundance that farmers fed the tubers to their pigs.

Sowbread clump

One of many clumps

They’ve appeared all over the ground where our neighbour has been cutting down trees to enable him to build a fence – pink dots wherever you look. I must have never noticed them here before.

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To mow a meadow

April 29, 2013 2 comments
A patch of grass in the orchard

A patch of grass in the orchard

I love the orchard grass before its first cut.

It’s so full of gem-like flowers, and even thistles are still tender and innocuous.

Chokri has already strimmed round each tree but left the grass in between, which is important so that the anemone in the middle of the photo, for example, can set its seed.

But it’s just about time to cut it all down, before the act of strimming becomes too strenuous.

I always find myself mourning a little, but the next growth isn’t long coming through.

Centipede

April 28, 2013 2 comments
Centipede dredged up from the pool

Centipede dredged up from the pool

Wearing my wetsuit, I had a dip in the outside pool today.

At the bottom of a duck-dive I came face-to-face, so to speak, with this monster of the deep.

Of course it’s a terrestrial creature and it had drowned, which was perhaps as well.

I looked up centipedes on the internet and learnt that they can deliver a very painful bite that causes severe swelling and fever although ‘it is unlikely to be fatal’.

Cheers!

Holy water?

April 27, 2013 8 comments
Hurriedly snapped photo of a curiosity

Hurriedly snapped photo

I went for a routine mammography test today in Foligno hospital.

While I waited to be summoned by means of a specially allotted number, I had a look around the waiting room.

As in many Italian shops and public offices, there was a crucifix on the wall.

In this case it was hanging across a Fire Hydrant notice of all things.

Surreptitiously, before I could be told off by the receptionist nurse, I took a photo of it with my phone.

When I told Clive about it, he wanted to know whether this made it holy water!

Taking advantage of Liberation Day

April 26, 2013 5 comments
Softening the outline

Softening the outline

Yesterday was Liberation Day in Italy and Chokri was available.

With the start of the warmer weather, our living room no longer needs to serve as a greenhouse so I decided to do a bit of moving around.

The planters, which have been out all year and harbour a motley population of strawberries, coltsfoot, Virginia stock and goldenrod, we took up to the shed and sat on blocks so that the leaves will soften the box-like outline of the side panel.

The plants which have been indoors – the cacti and the grapefruit tree – we added to other tubs which had been outside all along and arranged them in front of the stone wall in the courtyard, on a new bed of clean gravel to cover the general detritus from the oak tree.

Unfortunately today the rain carried with it fine sand from the Sahara Desert, a not infrequent occurrence in Italy, so that everything was stippled with a light powder.

I gave the grapefruit a squirt with clean water to cheer it up; I have a lot invested in that tree!

All in a row

All in a row

To be or not to be?

April 25, 2013 1 comment
White-spotted rose beetles on Granny Smith apple blossom

White-spotted rose beetles on Granny Smith apple blossom

Basically the question is: do I kill these beetles or do I let them be?

White-spotted rose beetles are my number one ‘bête noire’ in the summer.

They can reduce a beautiful rose to something resembling a piece of chewed-up tissue in an afternoon.

Much as I hate them, their presence on apple blossom is a bit more ambiguous.

I’m really not quite sure what they’re doing there.

If they’re eating the calix and destroying the flower’s potential to make an apple, then they should be forever damned.

However if they’re pollinating the flowers, which I’ve heard they’re capable of, then they have a role to play.

So far I’ve let them live, but of course there’ll be that many more of them to eat the roses where pollination isn’t an issue.

There’s an Italian proverb I’ve just come across: ‘Nel dubbio, astieniti,’ which means ‘When in doubt, don’t.’ Perhaps I’ll follow it on this occasion.

Detour

April 24, 2013 1 comment
A stretch of road on the detour

A stretch of road on the detour

We went to Foligno this morning and found that our usual road was still closed as a result of the landslip which happened on 2nd April.

It seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time to sort it out.

We ordered some proper exterior paint for the window surrounds, bought some fruit and veg, then headed back.

Neither of us remembered the diversion this time so we missed our short cut and were forced onto the ‘standard’ route.

It was a detour of more than half an hour which took us close to the face of towering mountains and down precipitous narrow roads between olive groves, before finally abandoning us to our own devices completely off the beaten track.

If it hadn’t been for Clive following SatNav, and me recognising the site of visits to a previous doctor and a previous vet, I reckon we’d be out there still.

The best idea would then have been to park the car, stretch out in the flowery grass of an olive grove, and eat our fruit.