Posts Tagged ‘golden oriole’

After a rewarding but hands-on week of guests from breakfast to dinner time, we awoke this morning in an empty house.

The only sounds were familiar ones: Beau’s bells and his pleading cries for food–poor starving mite!

The golden Orioles flew hither and thither warbling bonjour. Good to have them back–heralds of the beginning of something–though these days the weather is so changeable you cannot be sure what season it’s trying to be.

The Hoopoes spotted up the road would confirm it’s summer that approaches.

(How amazing that this pair of eccentric-looking birds [or their offspring] return to the same spot each year–how discerning of them to pick our neck of the woods!)

Our neighbor, Serge, called by at 9am with a box of his hens’ very brown and very large eggs–as he had promised to do a couple of weeks back, even before Meredith presented a pot of honey  to him on her diplomatic honey run.

They are extraordinarily brown and made deeply yellow and satisfying omelets for lunch under the greening fig.

The tree’s first fruit crop is fattening fast after so much rain.

These early figs always promise more than they deliver. We have to wait ’til  August for the second crop.

A whiff of donkey dung challenged the senses at lunch under the fig tree and reminded us of the party on Saturday in the courtyard.

It was graced by Sybil, who demonstrated her initial doubts about attending by marking her patch with a pile, almost green as the figs above!

Later, after all the attention lavished upon her, she startled everyone with an enormous HEE–HAW of appreciation, which won her even more pats and plaudits.

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Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”

We are a couple of hours from the Mediterrenean here, so this is no island paradise; but Caliban’s friendly welcome to Ferdinand in Shakespeare’s Tempest flooded into my mind as I set  off on my walk at 7.30 this morning.

The birds had been up betimes–taking over from the cicadas we heard last night.

Cicadas in April..?, we asked ourselves.

The golden oriole scolded me for being late, but the rest were happy talking among themselves, sounding like:

“a thousand twangling instruments–hum{ing} about mine ears!”.

Things get going early here–a few neighbours had dropped by already.

Early callers!

They seemed a little nervous when I appeared and moved on to a quieter part of the meadow.

The pheasant hopped into the undergrowth when he spotted me–his squawk sounding like an steam train on its last journey to the breakers’ yard.

I played Ferdinand  in 1965 at Salisbury Repertory Theatre–my first professional Shakespeare.

I’d been Prospero too, the exiled Duke of Milan, in a school production a few years earlier and seen John Gielgud play it at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The play is an old friend.

Ferdinand is hardly one of the great parts in the repertoire–his main job being to look convincingly awed throughout. Awed by the island, awed by Prospero’s daughter, Miranda–well and truly AWED!

As I descended into the little valley, surrounded by these magical sounds, I felt a touch of Ferdinand’s awe rising unashamedly in me!

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Walking Country by Hope James

I hear a sound  as I set out for my walk at 7.30, I haven’t heard in months—the warble of a golden oriole–(always an early riser).

Watching the walker...

Keen to let me know he’s back, he tracks me as I go–at least that’s how it seems; it’s good to hear him again.

There’s a pheasant in the meadow that we think is courting Madame Arkarti, our eccentric looking hen.

lurking pheasant...

She seems–as yet– oblivious of this. He circles the house, always at a safe distance, squawking his squawk–why else would he do this?

Two hares in a field bound away into the nearest cover when I stop to look–as far as they know, I might have a gun I suppose.

A farmer goes by on a tractor with spraying equipment on the back–off to work a nearby field. The smell as I follow reminds me of lavatory cleaner. It’s a miracle we have as much wild life as we do.

The garlic is growing fast encouraged by the recent rain.

Garlic grows apace

They’ll start to lift it towards the end of June ready for the garlic festival in Lautrec on the first Friday of August. Ten thousand people mill through the narrow streets and there’s free garlic soup at noon.

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