F is the first letter of another of my favourite Romanian words: fluture. I love it because of its resemblance to the English ‘flutterer’ which, in this case, seems particularly apt:
These little guys rarely stay still long enough to have their photograph taken, which is why I have yet to catch one with its wings open. However, they are extremely common in the meadows and grass verges here and hence live up to their name.
This, I think, is a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas):
It’s hard to be sure, because, like their blue cousins, fluttering by is what they seem to like to do best! Again, I’ve seen quite a lot of them on my walks, but not close enough to really study them. As the summer has worn on, with the ground growing ever drier, there have been fewer flowers open for them to feed from.
Interestingly, whilst fluture is thought to be related to the Albanian flutur (butterfly) and the Latin fluito (float), the word ‘flutter’ comes from an Old English word, flote or flota (also meaning float). This, in turn, is related to both Old Norse (flota) and Old High German (flozzan). These similarities suggest to me a common root and last time I looked into this I found an article suggesting that the word originated in the Carpathian Mountains (i.e. Romania), but I cannot say if that is true or not.
In contrast, there seems to be little linguistic agreement on European words for butterfly, but I can’t help feeling that the Romanians win on this one, with their ‘flutter-by’!
My second choice for F moves from faună to floră and floare frumoasă (beautiful/pretty flower):
This is an Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) or Brândușa de Toamnă. We first stumbled upon some near a patch of woodland on one of the hills overlooking Luna de Sus. More recently, I came upon these, also growing wild:
They are very poisonous due to their colchicine content. The symptoms resemble those of arsenic poisoning, although the drug can be used to treat gout.
My third word for F is furtună. The reason for this is that we’ve had quite a few of these in the past few days. On Sunday, western Romania was hit by a particularly fierce one:
As this shows, the winds that accompany these summer storms can be quite scary. Linked to a sudden change in temperature, they seem to come out of nowhere, which is something I find quite unnerving. On Sunday afternoon in Cluj, the temperature was a psaltry 30+ degrees C. Less than an hour later, it had plunged to less than 20. Not weather I was particularly used to in SW England!
We’ve heard and seen quite a bit of thunder, lightning and heavy rain since, the latter being extremely good news. The above article doesn’t mention them, but other reports on Sunday’s storms suggested that the lightning sparked a number of wildfires.