Swift Swallows and the Lizard in the Bin

There’s so much activity outside at the moment, the skies are full of swallows and swifts that dart and zigzag as they catch insects, today I looked up and there must have been around twenty of them skirting around the house. They’re so quick it’s impossible to get a photograph, they even defy video capture.

The hedgerows are full of tiny greenfinches, so small are these lovely birds that they’re able to grip onto the slenderest of grasses as they pick out the seeds. They are usually in charms of three, five or seven, never an even number. (The collective noun for finches is a charm).


In the evenings the first fireflies are emerging and the dusk is lit by the glowing insects as they search for a mate, this in turn attracts the bats who gobble up the insects by the dozen.

With all this activity it’s easier to see how life explodes into animation as the warm weather arrives. Lizards and snakes are making their presence felt and we’ve also seen an emergence of grasshoppers. No doubt the dreaded mosquito will make an appearance very soon.

On a sad note, I went to put out the recycling bin tonight and when I opened the lid there was a small lizard inside, I think it must have climbed on top and fallen inside, and sadly it lay there dead, another reminder that living in the countryside is all about the circle of life.

It’s the circle of life…la la la dah dah

Don’t worry, I’m not about to burst into song…besides I’m not a fan of Disney, so wouldn’t know all the lyrics. Smile BTW, the photo is of a mural in town, nothing to do with this topic, but I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s Just You and Me

I feel like crap. It’s 03.45 and I should be asleep. I’ve had a couple of nights of sleeplessness lately. It has nothing to do with weather or alcohol or even too much sleep the previous day, it’s just happened of its own accord. Usually I’ve lain awake looking at the blue light on the light switch; designed to show a somnolent sleepwalker where the switch is and eventually dropped off. Tonight however is different, I’m dog-tired. Normally I’d apologise for the cliché, but I’m too tired to care. I’m desperate to sleep but it evades me.

I get up and wander about in the kitchen, I open and close the fridge looking for something: What that something is I don’t know. I stand outside and look up at the stars, the sky is different here than back in the UK, there are sparkles in the darkness that I cannot name. It’s not like when I was in New Zealand, and every star in the hemisphere was new to me, occasionally I’ll see something I recognise, but tonight I see nothing.

The sounds of the night are all around me, the clacking of bugs in the grass is getting more constant as the summer progresses, back in April there was hardly a click in the dark, but with the warmth comes the volume. A late firefly flashes and I despair for him, the season has passed so his chance of finding a mate now has seriously diminished. There’s the almost silent sound of a bat as it circles Domenico’s ruin and something scurries across my bare foot. In the light cast from the kitchen door I see a scorpion on my foot, my first reaction is to shake my foot, but I’m too tired, so watch it as it crawls off me. “It’s just you and me,” i say as it waggles its pincers in the air and scuttles away for the safety of the dark spaces.

I return to the kitchen and spend a few minutes checking emails and deleting spam, there’s no new notifications on Facebook; why would there be, with the exception of a few people in Australia, all my FB friends will be tucked up in bed. Nocturnal envy is not a good thing. I try to read, but my eyes hurt and my brain cannot process the words, so there’s nothing for it but to write this blog entry. Obviously heavily edited once my faculties kick in again. Will writing help me to sleep?100_6468-crop

Not a chance, as the words spill from my fingers I start to think about a feature I need to complete, an idea for my novel pops up and some new article ideas bounce around between my ears. This writing during my insomniac moment is not a good idea, as now my brain is whirring; clicking like the bugs in the long grass, all I need is an old fashioned typewriter bell to ping every sixteen or so words. I put the laptop away and crawl back into bed where the OH makes those noises of contented slumber, Should I aim a dig to the ribs in one of those selfish, ‘if I’m awake you should be’ moments? I decide not to and lie looking at the blue light again, waiting.

06.06, and I can bear it no more so I climb out of bed and put the kettle on and open the front door, the pizza eating cat is already here waiting for the off chance some human will toss it a morsel. I give it the bones from last nights lamb chops and it noisily crunches at them as the kettle boils and the OH stumbles into the room saying, “I had such a good sleep last night.” Inside my head I’m screaming, “You did did you. Well guess what!”

The only plus to this tale of an Englishman in Italy who was unable to sleep, is the welcoming clouds the following day.