|Looking back at the hills where we live|
I've been very quiet on the blogging front recently - mainly because I've started writing my new biography of the northern poet Norman Nicholson, which keeps me very well occupied! But everyone needs a day off, and as the weather at the moment is really wonderful - 28 degrees today - we headed off down from the hills without much thought as to where we might find ourselves - we just followed an interesting road to see where it would take us. From our perch on the hillside we can see a mass of water and marsh land just to the south of us. It's Lake Massaciuccoli and that's where the road went to. We had been to the Puccini house at Torre del Lago on the 'tourist' side of the lake, but never to the wild, eastern side where the lake floods out over the plain in reedbeds and marshlands. It was almost deserted and utterly peaceful as we walked out into the marshes. All you could hear was the wind rustling the reeds and the occasional duck.
|The lake from a hide.|
There are wooden walkways out through the reeds, and bird-watching hides. We saw herons and egrets and ducks, but not the falcons that hunt here, or the bitterns that nest in the spring. Bitterns are so rare in the UK, we've made a mental note in the diary to come back here in April or May, just to hear them booming in the reeds.
Massaciuccoli, we discovered, also has some amazing Roman ruins. They are on permanent display, under shelters with wire fencing so that you can see, but not touch! This is a rich man's mosaic floor.
And this is the more everyday variety.
This is one of the most beautiful landscapes we've visited here and we will be going back again and again. We are so lucky to be here. I keep thinking that one day I will wake up and find that it's all been a dream, like the ending of a bad novel!