yet more mythical beasts

golden lion's head

It’s half a lifetime ago that I first left the UK to live abroad, but barely a day goes by when I’m not in touch with someone there, and I still read the British news when I have time.

Usually, my friends and family keep me up to date when there are stories they think I’ll find interesting, so I was disappointed to realise that no one had told me that the hunt was on in Essex for a lion until it was practically all over.

I’ve always been fond of cats of all sizes, so, since the Essex lion has (probably) turned out to be a mythical beast, I thought I’d post some of the lions I have among my photos.
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bonnets and bobbles, Tam o’ Shanters and tassels

Ávila storks & nests 

In Ávila
the church towers all wear
Tam o’ Shanter storks nests

storks nest on domed roof
Actually, it’s not just the churches; any tall roof may sport a heap of sticks at a rakish angle like a French beret or a Scottish tam.

Except, of course, when the whole building roof or dome appears to be the bonnet and the nest is just the toorie – the bobble on the top.
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storks, herons and a crane

construction crane and storks over church tower

As is probably apparent from other posts on the blog, I tend to notice birds. I don’t actually like them very much, but I notice them and they crop up in my writing all the time.

This week I had to go to Ávila, a city that boasts more storks than any other place I’ve ever visited. Every church tower has a nest or two, and everywhere you go the great pterodactyl-like silhouettes wheel slowly overhead.

Here in the village we seldom get cigüeñas, although we have a pair of garzas that are nesting somewhere along the river. I find it odd how easy it is to tell a heron in flight from a stork. There’s the distinctive curve of the neck and something about the heron’s feet that always makes me think of ballet shoes.

Yesterday, though, my attention was caught by storks and a crane silhouetted against the sky. (The pun works rather better in English than in Spanish, where the construction crane is grúa and the bird is grulla.)

dogs, whistles and the dark ages

medieval fair with castle backdrop

I think Ávila always have some kind of Medieval Fair at this time of year, but it’s the first time our village has decided to do the same. So, for a couple of days the castle courtyard and carpark have been given over to tents and stalls and general activity that has about as little to do with the Middle Ages as is possible.
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