Monday Portrait meets Post from the Past

With what joy we greeted the lizards we encountered on our recent Balkan Journey! How we miss the companions who shared our daily life in France, during the summer months, at least.

Here‘s what I wrote about them, ten whole years ago:

Summer’s arrived: well, this week anyway.  So from before breakfast until long after the evening meal we’re spending as much time as we can out in the garden.  And we have plenty of company.  Lizards.  Common wall lizards, podarcis muralis.  They are indeed spectacularly common here.  We have no idea exactly where they live, but there are plenty who call our garden ‘home’.  We’re beginning to get to know a few.

Easily the most identifiable is Ms. Forktail, she of the two tails.  She’s the only one we’ve been able to sex conclusively as well, because we caught her ‘in flagrante’ with Mr. Big behind the gas bottles recently.  And then the next day she was making eyes at a younger, lither specimen, and the day after that it was someone else.  She’s lowering the moral tone of our back yard.

Then there’s Longstump, who’s lost a tiny portion of tail, and Mr. Stumpy, who hasn’t got one at all, though it seems not to bother him.  Redthroat has a patch of crimson under her chin.  There are several youngsters who zip around with enthusiasm and incredible speed.


In fact they all divide their time between sitting motionless for many minutes on end, and suddenly accelerating, at top speed and usually for no apparent reason, from one end of the garden to the other, or vertically up the wall that supports our young wisteria. On hot days like this  (36 degrees and counting) they’ll seem to be waving at us.  Really they’re just cooling a foot, sizzled on the hot wood or concrete.  Sometimes you’ll see them chomping their way through some insect they’ve hunted, but often they’ll step carelessly and without interest over an ant or other miniature creepy-crawly in their path.

‘Our’ lizards on their personal sun-loungers

Mainly they ignore one another, but sometimes there are tussles.  These may end with an uneasy standoff, or with the two concerned knotted briefly together in what could scarcely be described as an act of love.

Happy hour for Longstump

We could spend hours watching them, and sometimes we do.  But there is still a bathroom to build, a workroom to fit out, and a pergola to design.  The kings and queens of the yard have no such worries.  They can do anything: they choose not to.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

44 thoughts on “Monday Portrait meets Post from the Past”

  1. I could do with a few in my garden to deal with the slimy molluscs! What I missed most when I returned from South Africa was the noise of the cicadas. It just seemed odd not to have that sound in the evenings.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It does. Trust me. I don’t choose to believe I am the dreadful hag who stares out at me from any camera shots of me that somehow happen. My mother was the same. Totally unphotogenic. But I looked OK as a child and young adult.

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  2. I always love seeing lizards when we travel. Trying to photograph them too, so I recognise your description of them sitting still for ages and then rushing off – often just as I’ve focused my camera on them 😆


  3. I have seen a lizard here and there where I live. They’re not as common as they were I lived in Texas or the iguanas that I encountered when we lived in Venezuela.

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  4. My parents lived in Alabama and regularly had these guys running back and forth on their deck. Mom had one at her office (an old house on a university campus) too. He mostly lived on the drapes behind her typewriter. I don’t know if she named any of them, but we all enjoyed watching them run around.

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  5. A brilliant post – I learned something new about lizards (polar is muralis). You have the best stories and follow-up discussion, Margaret. I LOVE our conversations.

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  6. A lovely bit of observation, Margaret. You spin words quite beautifully. We have just one- or maybe it’s two? I’m not as observant as you – hiding in our barbecue. A jolly safe place to live because it’s never lit.

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  7. What a fun post this week Margaret. Your little friends remind me of our anoles and geckos. I’ve never been a fan but will have to rethink that after reading your post!

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    1. That’s the second time I’ve seen anoles mentioned this week. I’d never heard of them. I love lizards. Every time we see them abroad, I wonder how I could smuggle a small colony home. So endearing!

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  8. So we were both thinking of lizards this week. Yours are very pretty with their bluish shimmer. We have lots of them (in Mississippi) too. One anole with a very long tail accidentally came in the truck garden to the garage to have two new tyres put on. We spotted him on one of the bottle tree sconces when we were about to go home.

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    1. You didn’t need to qualify your statement about having lots of them. I’d have been flabbergasted if you’d said you have them in Lancashire!


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