An elderly bearded fellow got out and proceeded to let his two English setters out of the back. This was a relief. He'd forgotten, however, to set the brake, and the car began to roll back into him -- he pushed it back, shouting, surprisingly in English, "Stop, car! STOP, car!" and then, "STOP, dogs!" -- as the leashed dogs were excitedly tangling in his legs.
At any rate, he got to talking to us and was, in fact, English -- and very entertaining, as he circumlocutiously recommended routes for us to take en route to Naples. What was he doing there? He was there to birdwatch. As we finally departed he gave us his number in case we headed back that way. And we were to, in a week's time...
His name was Nick, and he and his Australian/Italian wife Fauste and their 17-year-old daughter Flora welcomed us heartily on our return trip north. Flora aside, they have been living in Italy for 26 years, so we got quite a colorful history of the region and the Italian foibles regarding such things as property acquisition and improvement. A lesson in bureaucracy. Nick is perhaps the only person I've ever met who exemplifies the term "gnomic" -- in looks, humor, and temperament, as he is given to sudden loud outbursts of varying seriousness. A retired biology teacher, he is an avid birder and the following day took us to his favorite haunt, where we had first run into him. And there we spotted numerous waterbirds including (unbelievably) two varieties of flamingo. He gave me a look through his scope, and here's what I saw.
This post follows this week's Sepia Saturday theme... do venture there for more telescopic matters!