Archive for August, 2013

Lucky charm

August 17, 2013 Leave a comment
Four-leaf clover

Four-leaf clover

This is the one and only four-leaf clover I’ve ever found in Italy.

Mind you, I don’t really look for them.

I’ve pressed it inside a Latin dictionary underneath a volume of the Shorter (always made me laugh as a child) Oxford English Dictionary.

I hope it comes out very erudite and brings us luck with our writing business.

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This is my last regular post on this site but please follow me to Daily Reflection on our Self-Publisher Website. There’s a sister post already there about the four-leaf clover …

I’m proud to have had your company over the last 2 years!


August 16, 2013 2 comments
Yellow four o'clock flowers (there are pink ones, too, but the pink here is balsam)

Yellow four o’clock flowers (there are pink ones, too, but the pink here is balsam)

Our courtyard has a small section given over to four o’clock flowers.

They insist on growing in the gravel there rather than in the flowerbed above where they were planted.

They also show a very independent spirit about when they open their flowers.

Four o’clock is wildly inaccurate;  these ones don’t open till late evening.

Then they party all through the night and into the next morning.

This post is my 730th since I started posting regularly every day. To complete 2 years, I need one more because 2012 was a leap year! At the precise anniversary, I’ll be moving over lock, stock and barrel to Daily Reflection on our company website, where you’ll already find a duplicate of this photo. Please come and follow me there!

About to jump

August 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Launch pad for a cricket

Launch pad for a cricket

I know this cricket is about to jump because I saw it jump just after I took the photo.

It looks like it’s peering into the abyss, whereas in fact it landed on the next leaf.

Crickets are very vulnerable creatures; you sometimes see them with only one hind leg, leaping valiantly.

They drown almost immediately in the pool. If you rescue them in time, they tend to jump straight back in.

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This is my pen-pen-ultimate regular post on this site.
In fact you’ll already find this same photo, with different text, in Daily Reflections on our Self-Publisher Website.
So please go and follow me there!

Galileo’s pierced nose

August 14, 2013 5 comments
The 'forasacco' from Galileo's nose

The ‘forasacco’ from Galileo’s nose

In the photo is the 5-centimetre-long object extracted from Galileo’s nose under general anaesthetic.

It’s almost unbelievable that such a thing could have gone up one of his tiny nostrils and lodged there – and how uncomfortable!

It was just beginning to cause an infection but we caught it in time.

These seeds, from a type of grass called brome, are everywhere here in summer.

They’re called ‘forasacchi’ in Italian which means ‘sack-piercers’ because they poke through bags of hay.

They’re a great problem for dogs because they can pierce any part of their bodies, and they’re consequently well known to vets.

Common name confusion

August 13, 2013 Leave a comment


I love common names for wild flowers: things like Johnny-go-to-bed-at-noon.

The problem is that they don’t always refer to one plant, but rather to a group of similar plants with a shared characteristic.

More problematic still is when one name is used to refer to completely unrelated plants.

A case in point is centaury. This, to me, is centaury, here on the left.

But what I call knapweed is apparently sometimes referred to as centaury, an aberration insidiously supported by its scientific name being Centaurea.

Long live muddle and confusion in our language.

Knapweed (also known as Centaury)

Knapweed (also known as Centaury)

Grapes at sunset

August 12, 2013 4 comments
Still sour

Still sour

As the sun sets behind the mountains, its last rays shine horizontally into the garden.

Last night they caught these bunches of grapes.

If they’d been quite ripe, as I’d hoped, they wouldn’t have presented such beautiful clusters of varicoloured jewels.

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Please note that from the end of this week I’ll no longer be posting regularly on this site.

From August 18th onwards I’ll be doing a daily post with a photo and comments similar to my usual ones on our Self-Publisher website.

For more news, please follow me on Twitter @anysubjectbooks or Like us on Facebook.

And a partridge in a pear tree

August 11, 2013 Leave a comment
Pear tree

Pear tree

When I was still at school, I did a big crayon drawing of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

They were eating fruit from a tree, quite peacefully.

There was no snake because this was not the Tree of Knowledge – it was one of the ‘safe’ trees.

But try as I might, I couldn’t stop people asking, “Where’s the snake?”

So this time I’m going to say it myself: “Where’s the partridge?”

The answer is: “It’s not Christmas!”

Anyway, this little tree, overburdened as it is, does look as if it belongs on a Christmas card.

I’m adding a note here,  for my much-valued friends and followers, that from the end of this week I’ll no longer be posting regularly on this site.

From August 18th onwards I’ll be doing a daily post with a photo and comments similar to my usual ones on our Self-Publisher website.

For more news, please follow me on Twitter @anysubjectbooks or Like us on Facebook.