May 23, 2014

Summer is icumen in, continued*



I had planned to post more photos today.  Stuff is rioting out**, most of it several weeks early.  I’ve got a sheaf of photos I haven’t posted yet and I should have taken more photos today except I was buying a potting bench.***  Also, it was raining.

But then I got distracted by footnotes. . . . †

* * *

* Rikke posted to the forum about having to look up this reference.  I sometimes have trouble remembering that not everyone is an American Eng lit major^ of a certain age.  I am generally so awful about quotes and references and cultural benchmarks and so on that I assume that if I know it, everyone knows it.  Apologies for apparently wilful obscurity, yesterday, tomorrow, last week, next year, whenever.^^

^ Ie went to an American uni/college and read/studied English literature

^^ Personally I prefer jokes I can understand.

** Including terrifying numbers of dahlias.  And glads.  Gladioli do not survive winter!^  It’s in the contract!  You get used to buying more, and complaining!  Well, they don’t survive winter except when they do, and when they do they tend to reproduce.  Since I frequently put glads into dahlia pots^^ there’s a certain struggle for supremacy going on.  May the best triffid win.

^ The extra-weird thing is that the books and articles all hammer you with the fact that it’s not frost kills things like glad bulbs and dahlia tubers but wet:  they sit in sodden soil and rot.  Excuse me guys.  We’ve just had the wettest winter since the Palaeolithic.  What gives?

^^ They can all fall down together.  Glads will mostly stand up without staking—mostly—but not when an inadequately-staked dahlia crashes over on one.

*** For Third House.  Atlas has pretty well taken over the shed, including the potting table, and I’ve done the throwing-hands-up-in-despair routine about this and declared that I’m leaving the shed to the boys, and will buy a tiny garden storage doodad and a cheap potting table for me which can all go under the minimal overhang in the corridor between Third House and its neighbour.

This gave Fiona and me the excuse to go look at garden sheds on Tuesday instead of attending to business.   I was pretty well incapable of attending to business on Tuesday.^  And we saw some very nice sheds.  Fiona thought I should buy the climbing frame/slide/sandpit for Pav.  Hahahahahaha you’re so funny.  The littlest cheapest shed will do nicely thank you very much, good grief, people apparently get a little carried away with their back-garden empire building.  The shed I have in mind doesn’t even get to call itself a shed, it’s a ‘garden tidy’.  If you’re a shed you have to have windows, a portcullis and a concierge.  No.  And I don’t want the purple Alice house that I can’t stand up in anyway, Fiona, I’m looking at you.

Today however since I had to blaze into Mauncester for a meeting with a bank official^^ I went via the Extra Large Everything for the Domestic Empire Builder store in one of those industrial estates that make you suspect you’ve wandered into an alternate universe^^^.  Their minimal selection of sheds was nasty—I think you’re supposed to build your own:  you’re letting the side down by buying something that someone else has already cut crooked and drilled the holes in the wrong places—but they did have a cheap potting table that looked possible.

Now here is where I began to think I really had wandered into an alternate universe.  The British are polite.~  They’re vaccinated for it when they’re half an hour old.  Of course you get rude ones but then people who’ve had the vaccination get measles too.  The potting table, even in its inelegant flat pack, is large~~ and I’m neither very little nor very old but I’m a whole lot older and skinnier than the half dozen stalwart young men in store uniforms I went past toting the blasted thing to the tills.  I then went back for a bag of the right-sized gravel~~~ which weighed even more than the flabberjabbing table, and went past a different assortment of stalwart young men in store uniforms . . . and not one of them offered aid to my frail grey-haired= self.==  The woman at the till was obviously not having a good day and when she’d rung me up with a lot of slamming and pinging she snarled, would you like help to the car with that?  Er—no thanks, I said, sidling away clutching my gravel.  When I came back for the potting bench she was immersed in making some other hapless customer’s life a little more miserable.  Feh.

^ Smoke and mirrors update:  I’m not telling you how bad it’s been with the hellhounds lately, or how much sleep I’m not getting or how much morale I’ve lost or how a properly tightened harp/violin/guitar string has nothing on me.  Hellhounds are not having a good time either of course.  The decision to stop being a daily blog probably has less to do with the Samaritans+ than about hellhound management.  I finally talked to the vet again today who has recently cured two hopeless cases of digestive mayhem and wants to try the same protocol on my hellhounds—but it’s a little experimental and I have to sign a release form.  Yes.  Whatever.  Pleeeease.  We reached the end of the line a while back.

+ Which continues to be brilliant even if I feel like the stupidest person on the planet at least three times per training evening.#  We’re halfway through the first module.##  Eeeeeep. 

# Which may have something to do with stress levels and lack of sleep, of course, but the truth is that the idea of being able to do something for someone when you can’t do shitfuck for various members of your own family is very appealing.

## At the end of which is when you start taking duty shifts.  There’s a second (required) module in the autumn but it’s not as intensive.

^^ On whom I walked out after twenty minutes+ sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the waiting area slap next to the entrance which must be a total thrill in cold weather with the wind turning your pages for you every time someone comes through the front door.  Tomorrow I go back to my branch office and ask for the frelling customer complaints address again.

+ Also on the wall opposite the door was a digital gizmo (presumably) displaying today’s date.  It read ‘21 May’.  This was not reassuring.

^^^ But then Atlas’ shed kind of makes me feel that way, which is where we came in.

~ Last night one of our Sams trainers, in discussing dealing with our occasional aggressive male client, made reference to ‘the gentle sex’.  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.  This bloke is probably my age.  I can’t imagine any American under the age of about a hundred and twelve using that phrase.

~~ I had a bad moment when I finally got it out to Wolfgang.  But it went in.  Just.

~~~ The invisible gravel-eating dragon at the cottage is particular about the size of his gravel, and apparently particular invisible gravel-eating dragons are common in this area because it’s hard finding the right size.

= All right, not very grey yet.  But getting there.

== You may be aware that it is one of the laws of the greater universe, not just our small subiverse, that the carts available at Large DIY Stores are made out of tin foil and coat hanger wire and, furthermore, all drive at weird angles so you’re always urgently trying to keep them from ploughing into the two-storey begonia display, and that if you dropped a potting bench flat pack on one, let alone a bag of invisible-dragon fodder, its axles would disintegrate and its wheels explode and the store detective would arrest you for vandalism.

† Also, as mentioned above/below, depending on how you read your footnotes, I’m just a trifle demented from lack of sleep.


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