Monday, 15 December 2008

London and Italy

Cob on patrol

Most of the territorial battles between the rival mute swan pairs seem to take place in the early morning. This cob only stopped briefly for his wheat 'fix' before heading back to the main stretch of the river to see off any opponents foolish enough to head in his direction.

A frosty start for the rowers

We've had some fabulous sunny mornings and the river looks beautiful in the early golden mists. This particular morning about 7 or 8 crews took to the water for training.

Parakeet waiting for its turn at the peanuts

During these chilly mornings the parakeets have arrived in force to warm up in the sunlight and grab some nutritious peanuts and sunflower hearts for breakfast. They often squabble and are quite vicious with each other but they are no match for a visiting greater spotted woodpecker. When he's there they have to wait their turn!

One of the more colourful sunsets of late

These bright, cold days are so beautiful. I'd far rather have chilly nights and mornings accompanied by brilliant sunshine and clear blue skies throughout the day. The heavy grey overcast skies are so gloomy.

A view from the Foresta Umbra in Puglia

We've deserted the daily dose of doom and gloom that greets us every morning on the Radio 4 Today programme and every evening on BBC TV and Channel 4 TV news. We're also tired of seeing Christmas items which have been on the shelves in the UK supermarkets since September. So we've decided to spend a while in Italy where, we hope, Christmas may be less commercial. We left a very sunny England only to encounter driving snow for two and a half days before we were far enough south for the snow to turn to rain. The storms have now passed and we're enjoying sunshine, warmer temperatures, wonderfully fresh food bought daily, and the friendliness of the lovely Italian people.


A view of the lovely town of Peschici, where we are staying, which is on the Gargano Peninsular.
The people are very kind and friendly here and the house where we are staying is lovely, with wonderful views down over the marina. At this time of year all is 'tranquilo' but I should imagine that summers here will be chaotically busy. The beaches are beautiful and it's lovely to walk in the warm sunshine along the sandy bays and listen to the soothing sound of the sea lapping the shoreline.

A trabucco

This is one of the old structures from which fishing nets are lowered into the sea. There are plenty of them along this long stretch of coastline although not all are in use these days.

Fishing boat in late afternoon sunshine

Yessterday was a beautifully sunny day so we drove out to a nearby lagoon which is a haven for wildlife. From a distance we saw what looked like little grebes, and there were plenty of cormorants and gulls. The lagoon is supposed to attract flamingoes in winter but we haven't seen any so it may be too early in the season.