Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Peculiar light

A rain storm has just blown up out of nowhere. The clear blue sky that greeted us at dawn this morning has given way to a grey drizzly day that wouldn't be out of place in Scotland ,although I have to add the rider that its much , much warmer here. One of the things that tells me I'm no longer in the north of the continent is the quality of the light . Somehow after a downpour the whole landscape seems to glow with a purple tint in a way that is quite alien to those of us from less sun blessed regions.

The local farmers have taught me two things this morning that I didn't know. The Barn Owls that live in the drainage pipes in the courtyard have evolved feathers with a velvety coating so that when they fly at night they make no noise whatsoever. This stealthiness enables them to catch their prey unawares.They must be succesful if the growing piles of shrew and vole bones beneath their nests is any indication. The second thing I've learnt is that the dandelions that have suddenly sprung up in the fields are known here in Umbria as hawkweed. I wonder if hawkweed is the formal name for dandelion?

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