Ciclo dei Mesi - Agosto
Having nearly missed the monthly round-up of small bites, I'd better get straight into it:
A baby siskin flew into the conservatory window and sat, dazed, just outside the door for at least fifteen minutes. This shot is taken through the glass of the door and therefore less clear than it might have been.
The red geranium leaf in the right-hand corner gives you an idea of the tiny size of the fledgling.
Siskins (Carduelis spinus), belong to the finch family; they depend heavily upon the seeds of pines and spruce for food in early summer. Last year we had hardly any in the garden, hard winters take a heavy toll on them; their numbers seem to have recovered a little this summer. This fledgling must have been from a second clutch; the first clutch of pale blue eggs is usually laid in April/May. They hatch within two weeks and stay in the nest for another two.
Siskins are delightful little birds, like flashes of the brightest goldleaf thrown up into the air. The male circles the treetops on slow, deliberate wing-beats, with plumage fluffed up and tail fanned. Both partners take part in a fast-moving display flight, in which the male rises to a considerable height with tail spread and wings quivering rapidly, and the female follows close behind.
Eduardo De Filippo is not a playwright I know much about. He is not performed very often in this country. My programme notes say that : "prior to his funeral in 1984, no fewer than 60.000 people filed past his coffin as it lay in state in Rome and the ceremony was screened live on Italian television."
He was obviously much loved and respected in Italy. "The bastard son of two actors ended his days as a senator of the Italian Republic, adored by audiences and revered by his fellow professionals."
"The Syndicate" is a play is about "Tough Love Mafia Style", with tremendous roles for the three main male characters. I was never quite sure if I was watching a morality play, a comedy with very dark undertones, or a straightforward thriller about the Mafia underworld.
August has been a miserable month weather wise in my corner of the world. Far too dry for the garden, with an almost permanent cloud cover which never kept what it promised, neither rain nor a break to let the sun through. This has been the third non-summer in a row for us.
The Sun may have entered the House of Virgo but it must have missed Friko's Castle at Valley's End.
"The man born under Virgo shall be a good householder, ingenious and solicitous to his work, shamefast and of a great courage, but he will soon be angry. Scarcely shall he be a while with his first wife. He shall be in peril by water, he shall have a wound with iron, and shall live seventy years after nature."
"The woman shall be shamefast, ingenious and painstaking. She ought to be wed at twelve years, but she shall not be long with her first husband. Her life shall be sometime in peril; she shall have dolour at ten years, and if she scape shall live seventy years. She shall bring forth virtuous fruit, and everything shall favour her."
"Man and woman both shall suffer many temptations; they shall delight to live in charity, but they shall suffer much, wheresoever it be."
The Kalendar of Shepheardes 1604