On the other hand, I was watching the moon rise in breathless anticipation for at least 45 minutes the other night, as it first radiated gently from behind the hill and then in imperceptible steps and with ever greater joy flooded the sky and then at last appeared as a tight, bright curl of silver energy which spilled over the edge and had me entirely oblivious of the cold night air.
The almond blossom in all it’s stages from teeny bud to honey-fragrant shyly open flower.
The awesome light and thunder storm which seemed to rumble on overhead for hours in the night… blinding flashes of red and white with ear-splitting cracks and the rumble of giants moving pianos upstairs… actually I think they were hurling them around if you ask me…. and bringing back an instant memory of being 4 years old keeping my mother and our panting, terrified golden retriever company in the downstairs loo… the red flag floor the only safe place and my mother’s long nylon drawers at her ankles while I sat on her goose bumpy knees. Another dressing gown memory!
The season with all its wonderful array of colours and moods, while Rome is under several feet of snow, temperatures of -25 in Poland and the awful news of Greece in flames and the distress of riots. While I have been romantically cocooned away in nature, I wonder if the two subway sleepers in Lehel Ter (Hungary) have frozen to death or been put in prison for the crime of being homeless? I hope the latter, where at least they will have a roof over their heads.
I am back from the peace of the valley and in Noto town now, and yesterday rode up a few miles and then steeply down to the hermitage of St.Corado. While I sat painting in the lovely chapel, a group of pilgrims clattered in and took part in a wonderfully noisy liturgy. In the upstairs museum are loads of slightly gory reliquié, ( hair, teeth and fragments of bone from the martyrs and saints) and an equally gruesome but encouraging display of cast-off calipers …. evidence of the ‘take up thy bed and walk’ healing that has performed so many miracles over the years.
In the grotto beneath the chapel was a fabulous scene of Bethlehem, which was a masterpiece of tiny figures in illuminated windows and stables, all with moving arms and heads and donkeys nodding. A young dog enthusiastically followed me back up to the main road where it proceeded to defy death by playing chase with the oncoming traffic. I defied death by chasing it back down the side road!! It was unbearable!
To compensate for lack of romantic involvement I have treated myself to some iTune downloads by my favourite composers, including the time honoured Dark Side of the Moon, Jan Gabarek, John Surman, some Martinou, Dutilleux and, of course, Beethoven…. his cello sonata in A major in a performance by Barenboim and the enigmatic Jaqueline Duprès.
I figure that should keep me out of mischief! What a treat. Funnily enough, in these months of travel, I have not felt the need for very much music listening, preferring quiet.
Lastly, it would appear that although my front wheel is now true (a very small boy stuck a large stick through my front wheel a few days ago and thanks to expert coaching from afar, I have triumphed with my spoke wrench) my nipples have not twizzled quite independently. Going uphill produced a succession of pings, as you rightly forecast, Ben. It’s just that nipples and clothes pegs don’t immediately make me think BIKE!
I have been promised some tassels for my ballooning assets. Too much pizza, pasta, fennel and so on I suppose..