Saturday, April 09, 2016

Winter art and fun, and a hoopoe


Saw one of these in the garden this morning.

One of the benefits of not having internet at home. I don't spend my mornings staring at the screen any more.

When I was a little kid, someone gave me a beautiful 19th century encyclopaedia of British bird life. I remember quite distinctly that the hoopoe particularly fascinated me. It's mostly African but my bird book says its mating territory is southern Europe, though they range (or did at the time my old book was published,) as far as southern Britain. I never thought I'd see one. It was just pecking about in the newly mown front garden. The books say they eat large insects, mostly, so I was surprised to see it in the garden, where you usually see seed-eaters.

I watched it until I could resist the urge no more and dashed to the front hall to grab my camera, but sure enough, it was nowhere to be seen when I got back. But from now on I'll be looking for them.

It's funny that I recognised it so instantly from a book I haven't looked at in probably 40 years.

It has certainly renewed my determination to build a bird feeder. I usually stand in front of the kitchen window in the mornings while I have my coffee and apple, and love watching the little tweeters coming and going. I'm really not much of a birder, but I can recognise a few species by sight. I wish I had the dough to just keep a camera at every window. But I've got two pairs of binos, and one of them does live on the kitchen windowsill most of the time.

Anyway, sorry about the no pics of the hoopoe thing. But here's a few pics from some of the winter adventures. 


Kitties' first snow day. Bertie got really into it. 







































Henry and Pippin, not so much. 

But Pippy decided that he hates being left out more than he hates having cold feet. 






































Day trip to Spoleto in February to visit the nearest art supply shop,
and hit the Indian for lunch,
then to the cathedral to get some shots of the
frescoes in the apse before the light went. A good day.








Crypt chapel of San Girolamo church in Spoleto. 11th century, but built out of the bits of the old temple of Jupiter that lies under it. 

Some of San. G's 11th century frescoes. Last Supper. 

Lots of climate control equipment on these. But you could walk right up to them. Even touch them, if you don't care. 



The arch built in the time of Tiberius to commemorate his son, Germanicus. At least, I think I remember that's what the sign said.  

The old Roman street. 

Absolutely stunning, riveting fresco inside San Girolamo.
This pic does no credit to its glowing magnificence whatever. 

3 comments:

John said...

Birds. On this very morning I learned - via my twitter feed, no less - that the Irish for Puffin is, for reasons known only to our Irish forebears, éan dearg which is translated literally as red bird. And a baby puffin is a fuipín. And then someone else chimed in that the German for puffin is Papageitaucher . . . literally, diving parrot.

Gervase Crouchback said...

are some of those paintingsin Spoleto done by Giotto?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

They're by Lippi, somewhat later than Giotto.

Wiki:

The paintings of the [apse] were finished in 1467–1469 by Filippo Lippi and his pupils Fra' Diamante and Piermatteo Lauro de' Manfredi da Amelia: they depict scenes from the Life of the Virgin. Lippi is buried in the south arm of the transept.