Archive for April, 2008

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Son sus campanas azules Españolas o Inglesas?
It’s bluebell time and, for the first time ever, I’ve been able to get some to grow in a pot. What’s more they have flowered prolifically. I love coming down in the morning and seeing my little blue treasures glowing in the sunshine all fresh and hopeful. The scent is divine too and does strange things to my mood (positive) when I snort deeply. Aromatherapy does work, I’m sure of it. However, recent reading has revealed that all is not as I thought in the bignjuicy garden of love n spiritual refreshment. The extensive collection of bluebells I discovered in January are mainly alien interlopers it transpires [ in all three senses of that word ]. Do you know how to tell if your bluebells are english, spanish or hyrbrid [ these being the most common kinds hereabouts – yes, I know there are others ]?

English Spanish Hybrid
Flower stems nod to one side. Flower stems stand upright. Flower stems nod slightly to one side.
Strong scent. Slight scent. Some scent.

Event though most of mine appear to be hybrids I’m going to keep them as replacing them all with English ones would a.cost a bomb and b.involve digging up vast swathes of my estate. Ninguna manera Joe.


Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

All quiet please – blogger sleeping…

Thursday, April 17th, 2008


“Recently the public have begun to believe that the Government is arrogant and unresponsive. Staying in touch with people can be difficult for politicians. I have always tried to be approachable, and to follow what is really going on, but Westminster can make us seem remote, and our electors are more likely to see us on the news, than in person. We come to rely on the media to tell us what citizens think and feel, rather than finding out for ourselves and I think it is not quite right.”
Gwyneth Dunwoody MP. 1930-2008
If only there were more like her.

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Onwards to victory and low-cost consumer durables.

Creeping terror

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Saturday saw me finally tackling the deathwatch ivy that I wrote about back in January. About fifteen years ago I was working in London. Every day, on my way to work, I used to pass a house that had the most spectcular ivy clad-wall out front. Big, saucer sized, variagated leaves of cream and grey-green created a stunning year-round display that I’d long admired. One day as I was passing I noticed a spare stem left lying on the pavement after the owner of the house had been pruning. I picked it up, wrapped it and took it home. The ten inch stem was planted next to my, slightly crumbly, garden wall with the tentative hope that, one day, the ugly neighbours house would be obscured from view by my own personal verdant living screen. Fast forward fifteen years and the ugly neighbour has long since departed. I now have that screen and more. In fact I have what I seems to be the most successful plantation of Hedera Canariensis this side of the Islas Canarias. How this can be, without the sub-tropical climate, I know not. What I do know is that the ten inch stem has become a series of ten foot trees, complete with fruiting canopies, that have entwined, interpenetrated and engulfed my crumbling garden masonry. So much so that it has finally begun to disintegrate. Drastic action is required. At the weekend I began to disinter the brickwork from it’s viny cloak. Snip by snip, hack by hack I removed acres of foliage; gradually exposing to the light after many years the beautifully weathered victorian brick. Six inch thick hairy arsed stems were sawn and torn from their sticky embrace of the wall. As I worked it became obvious that serious repairs would be required. Ancient mortar had crumbled to dust and the inexorable forces of so much clambering vegetation had begun to shift the brickwork in several directions it had never been intended to go. After two hours work I’d managed to remove about 60% of the problem. As I began to hack into the next thicket of stems I noticed something caught up in the intertwined thicket ahead of me. Careful secateur action began to reveal what I soon realised was the skeleton of some unfortunate creature that appeared to have perished some time ago. At first, given the apparent size, I thought it may have been a rat. Shuddering at the thought of verminous goings-on so close to one’s abode I began to feel a bit icky. Was there any of the flesh left? Gradually, as more was revealed, a sickening realisation dawned. There was more than one skeleton. I have to admit that my queasiness threshold had been passed at this point. In fact I freaked, dropped the secateurs and ran back to the house for a breather and restorative cup of tea. Thoughts of ‘what was out there’ swirled in my head. I’ve not been back since. Call me a wimp, but something about the whole scenario is not quite right. I’m really not sure what to do next.