Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Annoying Incidence(s) of the Dog in the Night

You know what it is like. You go to sleep like a baby and then suddenly you are awake. At first you don’t know what it is that woke you, but asleep you are most definitely not. You try to get back to your lovely sleep. Then you hear it. A small but distinct noise, which is being repeated, and repeated. You are waiting for it to stop and when it does, you are wide awake waiting and listening harder than you have ever listened before, for it to start and to hear it again. This may be a dripping tap, the slight repeated coming together of the shutters in a susurrous breeze, or, an infuriating little mongrel (there are no proper dogs where we live) somewhere over the valley who starts up with this incredibly annoying yap in the early hours, about 1, 2 or 3 0’clock. We cannot close the windows otherwise in the morning, we would just end up as two damp spots on the bed at this time of the year.
“What is he barking at?” we ask each other rhetorically, bleary eyed in the morning. “How the hell would I know!” we reply dreadfully sleep-deprived. It is probably the wild pigs (cinghiale) that have disturbed her (or him, I don’t mean to be sexist). But then again, if it was my dog, just outside my home, I doubt he would have done it more than a few times before he was despatched to the great canine creator in the sky, and to hell with the pigs. It has been going on for some time now and honestly, we are knackered when we get up in the morning. In fact, the Duchessa is having quite a job getting up to get l’uomo chi fa a cup of tea. It’s monstrous. It must end soon, for I fear for our sanity.

Phonetically speaking (well almost), what has Damon Albarn got in common with us?

A Grillo
Gorillaz or Grillos – the last one is really an Anglicised Italian word as I have added an “s”, because the plural of Grillo is Grilli. Here endeth the Italian lesson for the day.

It really is the sound of a summer holiday on the continent, in France, Spain, Italy or other Mediterranean countries. Sitting in the evening with the little fellas rubbing their legs together to give this wonderful and memorable noise.
We’ve got some big fellas here for sure, and they don’t just start whatever they do in the early evening, they are at it all day.
One starts up and then another joins in and soon there are loads of them.
I have yet to see one in the throes of his leg-rubbing antics. They sit, mainly in the Olive trees. I can pinpoint roughly where the noise is coming from in the tree. Stealthily I move forward to try and locate the noise generator and suddenly, it stops – I wish it was a certain dog. No matter how hard I look, I just cannot see it. Then I gently retreat and the bug starts up again. It’s as though they are having a jolly good laugh at a human's expense.

The nest is empty

I went and had a look at the nest a couple of days ago and it was empty. I saw the bird on the nest Sunday week ago. I cannot believe the birds would have fledged in such a little time, but you never know.
I must say I was looking forward to seeing the fledglings, so I am a bit disappointed. I just hope everything was all right and they did not receive an untimely end. We have a good number of Magpies and their cousins, Jays, here. They are noisy too, come to think of it.

Skimpy Bikinis

The Duchessa and I have been popping over to the coast one day in the week because the weather is so lovely for that sort of activity – we make up the weekday at the weekend if there is anything we need to do. Right now there is a good amount of space there and it is easy to park. The sea is gloriously warm and lovely to swim and muck about in. At weekends in July it would be pretty chocker. Of course, next month, it will be heaving everyday for the whole month. Trying to visit the beach in August is not for the faint-hearted. Fortunately there is a public open air pool about 15 minutes walk from us which is open all August. I think we well give up the beach for a stroll down the road next month.
Anyway, back to the seaside. I carry the Duchessa’s play thing in to the water – a Frisbee or a tennis ball – walking about two steps behind in due deference. We splash about for a bit. The Duchessa goes for a proper swim out to the rocks while I slink out and get her towel ready on the beach. Then we do a bit of reading and soak up the sun for a bit.
The Italians, male and female, do a lot of walking to and fro along the beach. They do love the sunshine and it is a good way to get a tan. As for us, we do see some sights as we are lying down to get our tan.
Nearly all Italian men over the age when they really should know better, seem to have shares in Speedo. And then of course, there are the women. The latest bikini bottoms seem to only cover the top half of the bottom, leaving the bottom half – there are a lot of bottoms in this sentence – free to wave to all and sundry as they pass by, which unfortunately they seem to do, even if you do not wish to be waved to. But hey, good fortune to them. They don’t seem to care. They like the sun and what they are wearing, so if anyone has a fashion issue/age/size problem with it, it certainly isn’t theirs.
The Duchessa and I exchange meaningful glances and smirk like naughty schoolchildren behind teachers back. I’m pretty glad I never saw any of my female teachers in anything like these new bikinis. It would have put me off the delicious school dinners, as well as my lessons.
I wanted to put a picture here of what I mean, but the editorial team, i.e. the Duchessa, vetoed it. What does she think this is, the UN Security Council?

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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