Lombardy across the lake is obscured with a strange pearly kind of mist stained peach when the sun came up.
In the absence of nocturnal noise created by my sleeping family combined with the running of the streams and the odd owl outside, the presence in the house of creatures other than cats and chicks has become apparent. In the depths of the dark I came awake in a cold sweat. What was it that woke me? Being unused to being alone in this enormous stone shack, my ears have become ultrasensitive. There it is again. Scrabbling, skittering, scratching, capering and general careening. Here. Over there. Now there. Now right - above - my - head.
The culprit? Not altogether sure. It could, though, be this little fellow - a ghiro. Or rather, by the sounds of things, several of them. Rather unlike communities of mutant terrors hiding uderground in fantasy fiction novels, these supremely cute squirrel-ish creatures nest under the floorboards and in the spaces between the stone roof and the rafters (you know - where the insulation should be). I can sometimes hear them in the kitchen, but when I dash upstairs to AJ's vacant (sigh) winter quarters there's nothing to be seen. Rather like McCavity the Mystery Cat, they're just not there. Very unnerving.
In Germany they're called siebenschlaefer - seven (months) sleepers - because in theory they sleep for seven months in winter (wouldn't it be great if that's what the kids did...). If it's them making all this noise, global warming is doing terrible things to their body clocks.
In Italy there is a popular simile, 'ho dormito come un ghiro' - I slept like a ghiro - i.e. ultra soundly. Well, not in this house, and not this winter. The ghiri aren't sleeping soundly and neither am I!
It could be rats, of course, and that would be a different story...
Reference : Image fromwww.girovagandointrentino.it