While I’m working on a post with slightly more substance, I thought I’d send out a few recent diverting glimpses:
A week ago I saw the first peach blossoms of spring, accompanied by a few pussy willows. Some people look for daffodils or primroses, but the peaches do it for me. Seeing them now in this form means I won’t be seeing them later in edible form, but this is definitely a good sign.
For anyone who might have wondered what this sign could have been promoting, it is mostly written in Venetian. (I say “mostly” because the Venetian for “oggi” is “ancuo.”) The Italian equivalent would be: “Cosa bolle oggi in pentola. Zuppa di trippa, pasta e fagioli, musetto caldo.” “What’s boiling in the pot today? Tripe soup, pasta and beans, hot musetto.” Musetto is a thick sausage-like object about 6 inches long which is made of ground pork, specifically the muso, or face, or snout, of the pig. It’s hugely good but only in the winter, when foods involving hot fat exert their fatal appeal.
Who says Carnival is only for walking around in the Piazza San Marco? The cashier at our local supermarket is totally into the spirit.
I spied this pair of unknown birds at low tide (admiring how cleverly their colors blended with the mud). Lino thought they were jackdaws, a species of crow known here as “tacoe” (TAH-kow-eh), or Coloeus monedula. However, a sharp-eyed reader has confirmed them to be hooded crows (cornacchia grigia, in Italian), Corvus cornix. Never seen them before. If I’d been in a motorboat I wouldn’t have seen them this time, either, they’d long since have flown away. Another fine reason to row.
On a small side street there is still someone using the old-fashioned doorbell, as in door + bell, a real bell, which rings upstairs when you pull on the handle so conveniently placed outside. I’m showing the entire door to draw attention also to how high the handle is. No funny games by bored little hands, for sure.
This is a sturdy, businesslike handle that seems to discourage frivolous ringings. The proprietor’s name is incised on the small bronze rectangle, and the floor he or she or they live on. When Lino was a lad, most people had doorbells like this one, but his family didn’t add a name tag.
The wire reaches all the way up to the designated domicile and disappears into the wall (obviously).
A few steps down the street, there is another house with the old doorbell handle, but this one doesn’t completely convince me. There may well be three tenants, but the two modern doorbells make me wonder. I must go check sometime.
This is the bell that rang in Lino’s childhood home, salvaged from an extremely damp (as you see) storage area more or less at canal level. An object something like a nail (he doesn’t remember exactly) was passed through the tightly-wound roll of metal on the right, which held the bell upright against the wall. The wire to be pulled from below was attached just above the bell.
And it makes a spectacular clang. Bronze on bronze makes it impossible to say “Oh, was that you? I didn’t hear anything.”