Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades

Our much-esteemed friend and neighbour Hector has set up an infra-red camera in a bamboo clearing on his land. All the local fauna*, rabbits, martens, jennets, wild boar, tigers, drop in from time to time, drawn there by scatterings of maize or fresh bones nailed to a convenient branch in camera range.

The other night another visitor made his presence known, although I doubt if he was much interested in pecking at shreds of meat. Here he is:

Nightingale (mp3)

There wasn't much to see on Hector's film. He - the bird - far from appearing as colourful as his song, looks like a dun-coloured dicky bird, a little bigger than a robin. Now that the summer heat has set in and his brood has flown the nest, he'll be flying back to Africa.

It's very considerate of him and his all-nite singing pals - you can hear them in the background - to vanish just as hot nights oblige us to sleep with windows wide open. If only those carousing Belgian holidaymakers up the lane would follow their example . . .

I'm glad to have a permanent record of nightingale song. A piece of music I'm writing just now ends with a nocturne featuring 'nightingale' song high up on solo violin. (Ottorino Respighi did the same with one movement of his suite The Pines of Rome, but he specifies a recording rather than an imitation.) Nightingale song is surprisingly percussive and I may find myself asking the player to tap with a fingernail on the finger-board or even on the body of the violin to produce the desired effect.

I understand Hector once played the violin, but I assure you the recording above is 100% genuine.

*spot the odd one out


Dave said...

Is it rabbits? I know they were introduced to Britain by the Romans. Or was that snails?

Christopher said...

Close, Dave, tho' I have to say this scene is set in S. France. You've got 5 more goes. Good luck!

Vicus Scurra said...

Do Martin and Janet like being classed with the wild animals? What is it about their behaviour that led you to classify them thus?

Z said...

A jennet is a horse, isn't it? - or so I seem to remember from a youthful reading of historical novels. Are they really attracted by scattered maize or the nailing of bones?

Lovely recording. Thank you.

Rosie said...

Yes, tigers can be a real pain on this side of the mountains too. But having listened to your beautiful nightingale my computer is now ringing like an old fashioned alarm clock...????? No really! What the heck???

Christopher said...

Maarten (sp) and Janet are notorious Belgian noise- and holiday-makers, forever on the scrounge. I'm sorry if I didn't make that entirely clear, Tiger.

Rosie said...

And the roar of the leopards? My computer is still ringing...?

moreidlethoughts said...

Um...? Gosh! This is even more harder than what was in my quiz about metaphors.
It can't be tigers, cos Mr. Blake spelled them with a Y.
I know! I know! It's bamboo!That's not native to France.

Christopher said...

Z: Erm...genet. Sorry. A kind of wild cat, something like a civet.

Rosie: Goodness. I'll come back, just as soon as I've found out who it was that went about with pet leopards on leads.

MIT: Ha. Bamboozled.

Z said...

Ah. What a difference a g makes.

Christopher said...

Rosie: Could this,r:1,s:31&tx=122&ty=53

be one of your self-images?

Z said...

A gee rather than a gee gee.

Took me all morning to think of that.

Rosie said...

I'm much taller.

Rog said...

A Night in Ale without the "g"

I got there eventually.

Mike and Ann said...

We have nightingales along our river. In fact this must be one of the few towns where nightingales can be heard from the High Street of a May night. But the season for their singing is over now. Do they really sing in France in July?

P.s. Fauna - odd one out- tiger?

letouttoplay said...

I think it's that thing that goes clonk at the beginning - some kind of alien moth hitting the microphone? Somebody with a baguette trying to get the nightingale started?
Oh of course!
It's a clockwork nightingale being wound up!
Lovely to hear the real one anyway. Thank you.

Christopher said...

Z: A morning well spent, if you ask me.

Rosie: Ah. Then it must be this:,r:0,s:0

Ro: There you o, playin silly buers aain.

M 'n' A: They've more or less stopped now. And yes, 'tiger' was indeed the odd one out. I thought of putting 'kangaroo' as the red herring, but thought it might be too simple, and I do like to stretch my readers.

Mig: If ever I have a pet nightingale I shall call it Clonk. You have such an acumen for names.

Rosie said...

Not even close.

Christopher said...

Well, you're not easy to please. This is absolutely your last chance:,r:8,s:316



(and I still haven't found the image I was looking for, a goddess-figure - Diana or Juno - with a couple of leopards/tigers/panthers on chains/leads, by some late Victorian like Lord Leighton or J.W.Waterhouse.)