The dress with the extreme skirt is my favourite dress in the universe . . . the ninety-seven yards of skirt on my dress
Oh, pictures please? Pretty please! Even if it has moth holes, I’d still love to see your favorite dress, especially if it has ninety-seven yards of skirt!
I realise I should post photos of me in it and I’m sure there are some but the only one I can lay my hands on easily is a lot better of me than the dress.* Peter won’t touch my current camera because it has too many buttons** and I am not going to race upstairs and put the dress back on the next time a non-camera-phobic friend drops round. So this will have to do. It’s a very very fine wool—you’d need like .00001 needles if you were knitting it—and the bodice fits snugly and then the skirt drapes and swirls from the seam, including that fabulous deep V in the front, which is what really makes it. ALSO THE SLEEVES ARE LONG ENOUGH.
Because I am a silly person I’ve left it sitting on the sofa. It’s very like having a friend visiting, even if she can’t take a photo of herself. Although I’ll have to put her away soon because in this weather the indoor greenhouse’s need is greater.
. . . but you were so busy talking about the champagne that you forgot to tell us what you ate!
Not exactly forgot. One gets a trifle shuffly-footed about what one puts on a public blog: menus are like holiday photos, most people groan. I had chicken liver pate because I always have foie gras or chicken liver pate any time it’s on offer, cod with lentils, and petit pois with bacon. And a chocolate pudding. Peter had onion soup and swordfish—yes and red wine: the sommelier produced something that could cope—and wilted spinach, and then he sat there drinking coffee while I ate my pudding, although he helped me with the ice cream since I shouldn’t really eat any ice cream.
. . . And that was supposed to have a paragraph suggesting that accessorizing the Doc Martens with painted roses and rhinestones might make it perfect for the dress. DUH.
I totally understood that! No need to explain! And I’m sure ANY regular reader of this forum ALSO understood immediately! We’re a highly intuitive bunch!***
Diane in MN
I think it’s perfectly okay to be slow after a birthday celebration, especially one that included several glasses of champagne, which I find quite stealthy in producing its effects: a big red wine is up front about its alcohol content, but champagne seems so innocent until it isn’t. Hurtling hellhounds in heels must have had a few interesting moments.
Yes about champagne: it’s all jolly and effervescent and it slides down so easily,† it can’t possibly hurt you. Um. Oh, and heavens, I changed my shoes before I took critters out—!!!
* * *
* Yes, it is from quite a few years ago.
** He’s right about this.
*** Also we’re mostly girls. Girls make sideways leaps of topic, logic and network-iness with grace and aplomb. Well . . . maybe not always grace and aplomb. But we do it, and we think it’s normal.
† Especially when it’s very cold. That was the other problem about Peter’s free glass: you want to drink it while it’s still cold. I won’t say I chugged two glasses of champagne on a nearly empty stomach, but they did go down pretty briskly.^
^ It’s probably just as well I didn’t get Astarte out and try to type anything. Did I tell you we printed out, to have another look at, the beginning of GHOST WOLVES from . . . I forget, some restaurant celebration of yore.+ It foundered because we had no idea where we were going, and while Peter has written most of his books that way++ I tend to like to have some vague idea of what’s ahead, and this ridiculous attitude was holding up progress. And I know some people collaborate easily but Peter and I each suffer from Minds of Our Own.+++ However we’ve now got a workable plot-idea, so all we have to do is . . . go out to eat a lot++++ and the typist must not have champagne.
++ I would have sworn I’d told you the story that goes with the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YELLOW ROOM CONSPIRACY but I’m not finding it from ‘search’. Here is the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YRC:
The point is that this was the first Peter Dickinson book I read from the beginning of the beginning. I must have told you this story . . . oh, maybe it’s back on lj. Well, I’m not going there. But when Peter and I decided to get married, I was in the final edit of DEERSKIN and I really REALLY wanted to get it finished before I blew up my life, and my ability to concentrate, by frelling packing everything up and frelling moving to England. This ended up meaning that Peter lived in Blue Hill with me for about two months, and after he put up shelves and redesigned my garden# he needed something to do, so he borrowed my ancient manual portable typewriter and started YRC. After a bit he gave me the first chapter. I read it, gasped, and said, What happens next?
He replied: I haven’t the least idea.
# Garden cough cough garden. I didn’t start gardening till I moved over here and married a gardener.
+++ Yes, each of us has several minds of his/her own.
++++ Way too distracting, trying to do it over dinner at the mews. Place is full of critters. Also there’s a piano. And books, some of them unread.
* * *
PS: Yes, I know the caption is a misquote. But it’s a misquote that has entered the language, and the original doesn’t work (say I). And this ought to be a footnote, but I was already here in the WordPress admin window when I put the caption in, and I can’t face changing all the headings with WordPress having the screaming meemies, which it would.
. . . It’s that communication problem again. . . . I thought the comment about engineering texts was funny. But I did feel dumb about my shock over the empty dish. Of course I knew the hob was there. . . .
It must have been good writing.
YES. DEFINITELY. IT WAS DEFINITELY THE GOOD WRITING. Also may I say you’re reading it in the spirit in which it was intended. If you give a story its head and let it run away with you, you will be surprised at the things the story wants you to be surprised about. It doesn’t have to be a big surprised. Just a little ‘you’re the boss’ surprised. When you close the book (or the ereader-of-choice case) you think, why was I surprised about that? Of course the villain was going to tie the hopelessly wet heroine-facsimile to the railroad tracks. And of course her dishy true love is going to arrive in time and untie her . . . and whap the villain up longside the head while she’s at it, and then order her hopelessly wet girlfriend to take those frelling self-defense classes. Of course. You’d have seen it a mile away, if you hadn’t been letting the story have its way with you. Which is a very nice thing in a reader. Just by the way.
As for ‘seventy is the new fifty,’ a cousin blithely emailed that to me. A much younger cousin. I growled back at him, via email. I’ve spent seventy years growing up. I’ve left a number of difficulties behind and collected more that I’ll never leave behind. I want to now say, “I’m 70, I can’t/don’t want to/won’t do that anymore.” Don’t tell me now I have to wait another twenty years.
YES. I COULDN’T AGREE MORE.* Granted I’m only sixty (-one) but the principle has been manifesting itself in my life for some time. I’m not crazy about the wrinkles and the horrible squidgy sagging skin—I’m especially not crazy about the skin, but I’ve had awful skin all my life**, why should it change for the better now—and the memory that makes a snapped rubber band look like the much-desired steel trap, and the stealthily accumulating assortment of aches and pains. But they absolutely beat being young and clueless and having all those frelling mistakes yet to make. Granted some people make fewer mistakes than others . . . some of us make LOTS AND LOTS MORE than others . . . but everybody makes some. And I made a few that it’s worth being thirty or forty years older to be thirty or forty years away from. And a lot of that thirty or forty years has been pretty interesting in its own right.
When I have ‘What the?’ moments, I just think, why SHOULD I expect to understand everything?
Everything? I don’t want to understand everything because then I’d be God and I have enough trouble being responsible for three hellcritters. I wouldn’t like reigning over all of creation at all. But it would be nice to understand one or two things occasionally. And I feel the labelling and signposting system could be expanded a good deal.
. . . BTW- are there publishing rules on having the same exact title as another author?
Ah yet another query about my life’s work that I can’t answer. Generally speaking, however, no. I imagine that if you named your book Qzhhgorgum because it was about a race of creatures called qzhhgorgum which you invented, you’d have some kind of copyright protection against someone else calling their book Qzhhgorgum: the Doodah, or possibly even Qzzhhgorgim: the Semi-Original, as well as the line of merchandise including the fuzzy earmuffs (qzhhgorgum have four ears) in a range of exciting decorator colours and the frying-pans with the specially adapted handles (qzhhgorgum have four fingers and four thumbs) and . . .
. . . Ahem. But—still generally speaking—you’re going to avoid, if at all possible, having the same title as somebody’s else book for all the obvious sales and marketing reasons. It happened to me once: ROSE DAUGHTER started life as ROSE COTTAGE. And then Mary Stewart came along in the same frelling year and from the same frelling publishing house. I grant you that ROSE DAUGHTER is a much better title for my book*** than ROSE COTTAGE would have been, but at the time I was not at all happy when my publisher told me I had to change it.
. . . I feel I need to stand up for linoleum. It is not anything to do with vinyl, but a wonderful floor covering made from naturally occurring substances. (The lino bit of the name is from linseed oil.)
I actually knew that about linseed oil. But I didn’t google it first, and would have said if I were asked that it was probably one of those things that originally had linseed oil in it and the name was still being used, like ‘knitting wool’ may in fact be acrylic. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if the linseed oil part was an urban myth and people who knew better fell down laughing if you said there was a floor covering with linseed oil in it.
Its trendy new name is marmoleum.
. . . And I did not know it still existed. I do know that my floor-installers got very huffy when I said lino, and insisted that theirs was the much superior . . . um, vinyl.
Vinyl is a much easier material to install and is waterproof, but all the eco credentials are with lino.
Yes. Sadly the vinyl pongs. I want to believe that you stop smelling it not because human noses aren’t very good but because it stops off-gassing SOON after it fulfils its purpose and becomes a floor.
To find out more, can I recommend the fabulous linoleum museum at Kirkcaldy. (If you are not a lino fan, it also has an amazing collection of Scottish colourist paintings.)
Okay, now I am going to fall down laughing. A small Scottish museum specialising in . . . lino and the Scottish Colourists. I wonder if there’s a B&B in the area that takes hellcritters. Several hellcritters.
But I don’t like eating in a group and I resent being forced to do so…
Ah, my mistake. I misconstrued the problem. Preferring not to eat in groups is totally a different deal than dietary requirements. I can’t say for sure how I would deal with it, since we’ve always been upfront that dinner is part of what we do and I assume that people who don’t like to eat in groups join a group that is a better fit for them. . . .
It’s the Curse of the Talking Fingers thing again I think: if we’d been speaking face to face we’d’ve had this sorted before we knew there was anything to sort. I’ve never been a happy social eater but I’ve grown worse about eating in groups as I’ve got older and have less slack for making bad guesses about food—both what’s in it and if I’ll get away with eating it. And I used to do a lot of cooking ESPECIALLY BAKING and I used to like feeding people, a select few at a time. Any more, eh, well, putting together one of my gigantic mixing-bowl-ful lunch salads takes a surprising amount of time, even after Peter washes the lettuce. Before I sound too pathetic, I miss communal food philosophically more than literally: my life abhors a vacuum at least as passionately as Mother Nature ever did, and time that I might once have filled with baking brownies tends to silt up with other activities.†
There’s another thing to keep in mind: I’m not at my best and brightest at (usually) mmph o’clock in the morning when I’m writing this thing and I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum. It’s a blog. It’s only a blog. So we’re all going to misstate ourselves from not being awake yet/enough or because our minds are on the funny noise upstairs/the funny noise from the dog bed/whether or not to ask the cute cop for his phone number/whether or not to ask the cute cop for her phone number/etc. It happens. I hope we’ll all live. Especially me, since odds are overwhelmingly that I screw up the most.
* * *
* Except about the good writing. I agree even more about the good writing.
** Although if anyone had ever heard of dairy allergies forty-eight years ago I might have been able to miss out both the pizza-faced stage and a lot of by-the-time-I-figured-it-out, lifetime-established digestive mayhem, and focussed on the stunning variety of rogue rashes. Yes I know I’m oversimplifying.
*** Thank you Peter
† Handbells, perhaps. It was to laugh, tonight. Gemma had brought her husband, who claims for some inexplicable reason to want to learn to ring handbells. There were FIVE of us which was pretty amazing—especially wedged into my tiny cottage sitting-room—and trying to get five people properly rung in takes a while. Niall finally had to leave in something of a hurry to go be ringing-master at the tower and didn’t have a chance to do his Diary Trick and browbeat all of us into another meeting. The four of us remaining all sat around chatting^ instead of dutifully going along to tower practise. . . . hee hee hee hee hee.
^ And eating brownies. Just by the way.
Niall so has your number.
Yep. I expect the insinuating texts to start up any minute.
It has not been a good day. I overslept—which at least has the advantage that I got some sleep—but I was racing around tripping over a puppy very anxious to be helpful trying to catch up with myself and failing, of course, does anyone ever catch up?*, and one of my split-second decisions was to leave the GIGANTIC HOUSE SPIDER perched precariously on a skirting board near the front door—he was too big and he didn’t fit, and was having to extend some of his supernumerary limbs around the corner and grasp the front of the bookcase—and finish throwing the last six animals and twenty-two knapsacks in Wolfgang and get down to the mews before sunset.
Which means he’s still at the cottage. Somewhere. Waiting for me. Unless of course he’s found his beloved and they are experiencing marital bliss . . . somewhere. You don’t seem to find pairs of spiders so I’m ASSUMING I don’t have to worry about the happy couple(s) once they are. But it’s now definitively nighttime and by the time we all** get back to the cottage I’ll be tired and . . . I know it looks like a really dumb decision. But there’s the additional factoid that neither of my spider catchers are actually up to the job of autumn-sized house spiders, the ones that are as big as your hand. That Godzilla I posted photos of a couple of years ago is still a personal worst, but this time of year there are always several jolly little pony-sized arachnids that, like the cockroaches outside Charlie’s Coffeehouse, you can hear as they clatter across the lino’d*** floor. Ugggh. But I wonder what spider-catcher-inventors are thinking about when they design something big and strong enough to tackle a somewhat undernourished daddy-long-legs? I have never used the box one on anything bigger than my thumbnail because I dislike cutting legs off, even of spiders . . . and I’m probably not going to bother with a spider that small anyway—I’m a sort of mutable arachnophobe—and the box-catcher, while it was sold to me for spiders, is useful for wasps and Other Things That Sting.
I have been put off forever using the bristle-brush catcher, where you plop the business end of this bushy broom thing over your spider and then run the handle down toward it so the bristles close over it, TRAPPING IT SECURELY. Yes. Indeed. An autumn-sized spider says ‘hmm, indoor hedgerow, don’t like it’, bursts through the plastic bristles without breaking a sweat AND RUNS UP THE HANDLE TOWARD MY ARM. Exit screaming.† I may have told you this story before. The memory lingers.
. . . I thought this early story-arc of the hob was dead obvious. Dead obvious isn’t necessarily bad—see previous response: OF COURSE I’m going to feed a friendly hob—but it’s usually, erm, obvious. You must read too many engineering texts or something and your eye has got out for fiction.
Well, yes, looking back, it was obvious. **defensively** I’d just turned 70 the day before. I was rather shaken by the idea that my extended middle age is over. 70 is undeniably old.
I seem to have left a piece of my brain behind. But, hey, I’m 70; I have an excuse. Right?
I’m sorry! ::Grovels:: I meant to be teasing you. —It goes on being a problem, this communication thing, even after 1,000,000,000,000,000 years of evolution from space dust or sea-bottom slime or whatever††, and email and the internet have just super-extended it into eleventy-seven new dimensions. You get so used to talking with your fingers that you forget how many of the traditional social cues you’re not picking up.
Er . . . happy birthday? I had a friend commenting when she turned seventy several years ago that everyone was telling her that ‘seventy is the new fifty’. No it isn’t, she said. That would make sixty the new forty, and I can vouch that sixty is not forty, new or otherwise.
. . . Best insomnia cure for Christians: Read Leviticus.
::Shudder:: Not for me. Leviticus is too full of horrors. You’re supposed to do what because of what? Noooooooo. Not to mention killing all those poor critters and splashing their blood around.†††
I cook for my home group regularly, and we have some people with very restrictive diets. I would always rather know as much as possible as soon as possible (within limits of what they are comfortable telling me, of course). For me, hospitality is a big deal. So if someone does have a limitation and they don’t tell me, I always feel bad that I wasn’t allowed to provide them what I provided everyone else with (or at least the equivalent). It makes my hospitality feel incomplete. I would say I do feel like you would be ministering to me by telling me because it would relieve me of the guilt I would feel for being inconsiderate of someone else’s needs, even if it was unintentional. . . .
Sure. And I have emailed the organiser. But I don’t like eating in a group and I resent being forced to do so. I wouldn’t join a home group that required me to accept the food hospitality of the organizer as part of the regular meetings: if this Alpha course began every meeting, instead of just the first one, with a group meal, I wouldn’t sign up. Hospitality, and providing for your guests, is your big deal. What if one of your guests has a big deal of being able to eat in private without someone’s need to be hospitable looming over them?
Diane in MN
. . . hellhounds are, erm, undesirably reactive to rabbit and venison and they won’t eat any of the other within-my-price-range options.
If you haven’t already tried it, you might look at turkey as an alternative to chicken. The taste is similar but the proteins are different (I was allergic to chicken, but not to turkey), and if it’s a new food they might not be sensitive to it. That’s assuming turkey is as commonplace in your markets as it is here, of course.
Turkey is available over here at Christmas, at £1,000,000,000 per carat. If there are other turkey options I haven’t found them, although I admit my google-fu is poor. I’ve had other Americans suggest turkey—and duck, which is nearly as expensive although available most of the year in case anyone wins the lottery—and I’ve tried the dog-food turkey and duck, either 100% or at least grain-free, and hellhounds, of course, won’t touch it. Fortunately Pav will so all those frelling tins aren’t going to be wasted.
. . . I adore Bendicks Bittermints, they are not thin and squidgy but thick and solid with a really intense mint hit.
Yes, I remember those. Before I discovered G&B, and before I was clobbered by the ME, I got through a lot of Bendicks Bittermints which are, as you say, excellent. But the ME comes with a lorryload of chemical/environmental sensitivities/intolerances as well as the straightforward food issues and I’m pretty paranoid about organic. And Bendicks, unfortunately, is not organic. I admit that I wonder what kind of corners G&B may be cutting behind their behemoth corporate front, now they’re no longer independent. And do things like disguise inferior new product in a superior old product’s packaging.
Yeah, I’ve been VERY lactose intolerant for about a year now, and the thing that I hate most is how difficult it makes communal food (especially dessert). My church is making efforts to be better about labeling . . . but mostly in the direction of being accommodating to people with gluten sensitivities. . . .
Food allergies and intolerances are so common now—and commonly known about—it amazes me, not in a good way, how slow how many providers of public or communal food, including restaurants, are to respond in any useful way. One of the things that used to make me crazy when I first moved over here is that any vegetarian option WAS UP TO ITS ARMPITS IN CHEESE. It’s like the entire country had got stuck in the early Moosewood Cookbook stage. It’s better now, but it’s still not uncommon to find the one ::trumpet fanfare:: vegetarian option on a restaurant menu to be three kinds of LOCALLY SOURCED!!!! cheese artfully woven through some risotto rice. And if you’re dairy- tomato/potato/eggplant/etc- and gluten-intolerant HAVE A NICE LIFE. Somewhere else. If you can. Fortunately I do—and can—eat meat‡, or I’d’ve starved to death years ago.
Restaurants are fun, too. Last night, for example, I found myself dragged along to an Italian place. And it’s not that I don’t like Italian food. But ALL ITALIAN FOOD IS BETTER WITH CHEESE. . . . If anyone has suggestions for what Italian food I should be ordering that would still be interesting without cheese or milk, I’m open to ideas.
Okay, I may be able to help here. Back in the days when I was only lactose intolerant I discovered harlot’s sauce. Most Italian restaurants have it and I never had a bad one—famous last words I daresay. I can’t immediately find my recipe since it’s been retired and while I’m used to being dairy-free I still suffer lingering sulkiness about being tomato-free, but this one looks like the right stuff:
* * *
* Don’t answer that
** The thirty-seven animals and ninety-eight knapsacks
*** We’re not supposed to call it lino any more. Lino is scruffy and low-class. I think it’s now vinyl. I have a very nice floor, whatever it calls itself, except for the muddy spider footprints. The hellcritters and I all wipe our feet carefully. Yes.
† Pav is extremely fond of the bristle-brush spider-catcher, although not for the use for which it was intended.
†† And the hand of God, but in one of his obscurer moments. Although on a bad day I think the entire Bible is one long, gruesomely over-extended obscurer moment.
††† Definitely an obscurer moment.
‡ AND LOTS AND LOTS OF (mostly raw) VEGETABLES AND FRUIT. I’m so Paleo. I’m probably healthy as **** and will live forever.^
^ Well, if I am healthy as **** it’s nice idea. . . .
I’m not sure what the libel laws are. But here’s the truth. You will remember that my life was ending because G&B was stopping making the mint fondant dark chocolate that is my reason for getting through the days. It was becoming less and less available although I never saw any puffery about its disappearance and the (in advertising-speak) fabulous new improved mint chocolate that it was going to be replaced with. Well, I already knew that I wasn’t going to love and delight in the new mint chocolate because I think peppermint oil in the chocolate is a waste of time, with or without vaunted crunchy bits, as described by the store that had to tell us they couldn’t order the old peppermint fondant chocolate any more.
And then recently—still without any noticeable promotion, and while there may have been some somewhere they certainly haven’t been plastering the walls of the internet with the news, I may be dozy and clueless but I’m very interested in chocolate—I’ve seen G&B mint for sale again. Well hallelujah—miserable fool that I am, I hoped that they’d changed their minds and put the fondant chocolate back into production. Because IT LOOKED JUST LIKE THE MINT CHOCOLATE I’VE BEEN EATING FOR YEARS. And therefore I ordered some. In fact, I ordered a lot, thinking that alternatively this might be some kind of final warehouse clearout. Now, I freely grant you that I’m a fool but hey. Listen to me carefully now.
They haven’t changed the packaging for the new, peppermint oil and crunchy bits version. They haven’t changed the packaging at all.
If you were buying it in a store you might notice that the new bar is thinner. I finally twigged because the box containing FIFTEEN new bars—that a box of G&B is fifteen bars hasn’t changed—is thinner. What? you think, turning it around in your hands in a puzzled sort of way. Oh. Um. And then the truth sinks in. Sh*****t. . . . But looking at the new bar on line? Do you have a prayer of noticing anything has changed? Well—depending on how good your praying is, maybe. Mine isn’t that good. And something else? The organic on-line grocer we use still has the photo of the old bar up. It doesn’t just LOOK like the old bar, it is a PHOTO of the old bar. Because when you finally, despairingly, look closer, the old one says ‘filled with a peppermint fondant’ . . . whiiiiiiiiiine . . . and the new one says ‘infused with peppermint oil for an intense mint taste’. A close-up of the photo on that grocer’s site says ‘filled with a peppermint fondant’—and you don’t have to click through for more info to order a box of them. If you do click through, the text is correct for the new one. But I didn’t see that till today. After this week’s order arrived. Including a box of G&B’s mint chocolate. And just by the way . . . the new one is 60% cocoa. The old one is 70%. I don’t have to annotate this, do I?
I don’t think I’ll be eating Green & Black’s chocolate very much longer. I will certainly be eating it for a while longer because I have kind of a lot of the new [expletive] bars to grind through, even with Peter (who isn’t that keen on mint) gallantly helping me. Did G&B’s think we weren’t going to notice the changeover? Or that we weren’t going to care? WHAT?
But am I having a bad day? I’m having a bad day*. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh.
* * *
* Although both hellhounds ate both lunch and dinner. In Chaos’ case, eventually, but eating is eating, when you’re dealing with hellhounds.^
^ Did I tell you about my attempt to get them off chicken, earlier this year? I had several people point out, or re-point out, that chicken too is a potential allergen, just like rice, of the old base-line bland diet, chicken and rice, which is, on the contrary, a guaranteed disaster with critters allergic to all cereal grains.+ I tried becoming a chicken-free hellhound owner once before, years ago, and I don’t remember the details except that it was not a success. When I tried again recently. . . . hellhounds are, erm, undesirably reactive to rabbit and venison++ and they won’t eat any of the other within-my-price-range options. Arrrrgh. Hello chicken, my old friend.
Next time I start wanting new domestic wildlife I’m going for the dead parrot. I believe you get a certified guarantee of no food intolerances with a dead parrot.
+ Since food intolerances are an ever-mutable and mutating poisonous swamp, and I should know because I’m stuck floundering in it myself#, it may not be that they are precisely allergic to all cereal grains. But any contact with cereal grains PROVOKES CALAMITY and that’s a good enough practical definition.
# Have I told you I’m starting on an Alpha course~ next month? I’m looking forward to it except . . . frelling Christian fellowship. The first meeting starts with you all frelling eating together. I loathe and dread group beanfests: we had one last Saturday for the Street Pastor training. I sat in a corner eating apples and tortilla chips~~ and pretending to be invisible till the initial rush was over and I could mosey on back and have a cup of tea with the rest.~~~ This is not going to work in someone’s home—where this Alpha is happening. I haven’t emailed the organizer yet. I don’t want to have this conversation again.
Mind you, these are fabulous, even if you’re normal
~~~ Maxine asked me later if I’d brought something I could eat. I didn’t want to ask you before, she said, in case it was a bad question.
++ Rather like me, in fact. I don’t like even being in the same room with venison. Although I ate a lot of it when I was a kid in Maine. Speaking of mutable.
Treasure Trove officially added to a (short, so far) list of house-eating roses I NEED.
Excellent choice. I would have had to have her if Peter didn’t. I’m presently trying to decide if I could figure out a flight path for Paul’s Himalayan Musk up at Third House. Rosa banksiae lutea is a house-eater, and, ironically, is getting going comparatively slowly. I hadn’t planned for either Mme Alfred or Mme Gregoire at the cottage to turn into house-eaters—or Ghislaine—they just did. I actually did know I was being silly about Souvenir de la Malmaison. She’s not a house-eater, she’s just PERVERSE AND DANGEROUS.* But the only house-eater at Third House at present is Bobbie James, who is cooperatively climbing the copper beech that hangs over from the cemetery. Hmmm.
I wonder how I would keep the deer from eating them until they were big enough not to mind?
Ahem. Have you read SUNSHINE? Yolande’s peanut-butter-baited electric deer-repelling fence is not only for a world with Others in it. Go google peanut butter deer fence. Nothing works perfectly—and it’s a huge faff to set up and maintain—but it is pretty much your best bet. The problem with all the repellents is that deer get used to them. Oh, yeah, lion dung, big deal, have you seen any lions? No, I haven’t either. –And they’re apparently capable of developing a taste for hot chillis. Electricity goes on working.
My Ghislaine de Feligonde is veryvery pale yellow, aging to white. Even though orange is my least favorite color, I think that Morris is beautiful–does it have a scent? I always try to have an Abraham Darby, even though here it is always a less-than-beautiful beige color because I think it has the most wonderful scent of any rose I have ever grown!
Proof of the whole variable thing. My Ghislaine comes out a deep orange gold and pales to primrose yellow—eventually, sometimes, almost white. William Morris isn’t really orange, more peach, but she looks ORANGE next to the vivid, very lavender-pink James Galway. Yes, she has a good scent. But if Abraham Darby is a dull beige in your area William Morris will probably be grey. One of the best rose photos I’ve ever taken was of my old Abraham Darby back at the old house. She’s another of these gold-peach roses, but with a lot of deep salmon-pink as well. And the flowers are HUGE. This photo of Morris is a particularly romantic one: if you like that style you should go cruise the ‘English roses’ aisles of whatever nursery you bought Abraham Darby from. There are other choices, most of them not orange.
Thanks for the lovely photos…they have me wondering if I couldn’t fit just a few more roses in my yard.
Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Diane in MN
Deer, at least in my neighborhood, are quite used to dogs and not put off by them (or their scent) at all. Especially since they usually do their roaming and devouring when dogs are in the house and asleep.
Yes. Suburban deer get totally blasé about all the usual human things. It’s genuine countryside around here, but English villages are organised on a different pattern—houses tend to be squashed together in a relatively small area surrounded by swathes of farmland. ** There are lots of deer—Roe, around here, mostly—and don’t they just love people’s gardens. And they get so frelling tame you can’t trust them to run away even if they see you shouting and throwing things. Or to not panic and try to self-immolate under your car’s tyres.
Here are some suggestions: original scent Irish Spring soap, hung around the plants (temporary if you get much rain); blood meal-based commercial repellent (kept them out of my hostas for a long time); hot pepper spray (also temporary with rain). I’ve ordered a new repellent based on citrus that gets fairly good reviews; I figure if I put out a variety of stuff, they won’t get too accustomed to any of it.
No repellent ever worked for me or anyone I ever talked to for more than a year, and often less than that. Maybe your MN deer have enough more options to be more amenable to being repelled. One of the few clear benefits of a move into town is we no longer have a deer problem. I’m still kind of half-expecting them to figure out Third House. It’s only one block over from farmland and the fencing is inadequate even for keeping next door’s frelling terrier from crapping in the drive and the entire neighbourhood of cats from crapping everywhere. It wouldn’t slow a hungry deer down for a moment. Arrrrgh.
|If you’re not a rose person, what are you doing on this blog?|
I do wonder that sometimes, especially since I also dislike pink.
Snork. The funny thing to me is that while I like pink I’m not the pink obsessive that the blog persona is. It’s a handy hook to hang silliness on—and it’s true that if the colour choices are black, white and pink—I’ll take pink. This is a rant for some other evening, but I spent most of my life bucking against my inner girlie girl, because when I was a kid and a teenager forty and fifty-plus years ago being a girlie girl—especially with a girl-next-door face like mine—was death to any kind of being taken seriously. I professionally hated pink for decades—and burst out of my parents’ house into jeans, Frye boots and black leather. I revel in pink—and pearls—now partly as a nanny nanny boo boo to all those jerks who tried to make me believe that frilly and trad feminine equals stupid and wet doormat.
I do feel awfully ignorant sometimes when looking at the rose pictures. I’d never guess that some of those flowers were roses. If I were walking through a garden with a rose person, I’d embarrass myself saying, “Oh, look at those peony beds!” And, “Aren’t those great carnations!” I think I referred to the (hydrangeas? I forget) in my yard in front of an expert once as “snowballs”, but the expert never blinked an eye. Someone else later told me what they were, but I then later forgot again…
Well. There are roses bred to look like peonies and peonies bred to look like roses. Ditto carnations. There are begonias and geraniums that look enough like roses that if you aren’t paying attention to the leaves you’ll think they are roses. And there is a perfectly good category of hydrangea called snowball so the expert probably did blink, in appreciation of your terminology.
I know petunias, and crocuses, and daffodils, and tulips, and lilacs, and (my favorite) lilies of the valley, and daisies, and black-eyed susans, and poinsettias, and marigolds, and sunflowers, and forsythias…and that’s probably about it!
There are pink lilies of the valley you know . . . the cottage garden is OVERRUN with them. I like them, but I also rip them up by the bucketfuls. Not my fault, by the way: my predecessor put them in. I also suspect there are petunias, crocuses, daffs, tulips, lilacs, sunflowers and marigolds that you wouldn’t recognize as such, because that’s the way plant breeders are—oooh, they say, let’s see if we can breed something that doesn’t look like what it is. I personally think trailing snapdragons, which usually have weird little turned-up faces that look more like roses than like snapdragons, for example, are a mistake. And black-eyed susans . . . there are a million daisy-ish things that get called black-eyed susans: the rudbeckia family is GINORMOUS.
Oh, yeah, and another favorite: Morning Glories.
Ah yes, bindweed by any other name . . . bindweed has the prettiest little morning-glory flowers. It’s the same family. Here’s another rant for another night: how narrow the line is between fabulously desirable garden plant and migraine-inducing detestable weed.
Gardening. Eh. Another of those pursuits of the mad. . . .
* * *
* It’s been drizzling just enough for frelling Souvenir to say YAAAAAAAAH!!!!! and ball like crazy. No proper RAIN just Souvenir dis-enhancing mist. Note that I am ALREADY sick to death of watering. It is my least favourite garden activity: I like weeding and pruning and tying up and tying down and swearing and all that: I HATE WATERING^. And apparently we’re about to have a hot dry stretch^^ like what the rest of the world calls summer, I can do without it. I like a little light complaining about not having the opportunity to wear my more amusing t shirts, since it kills the purpose if you cover them up with a sweater. And sunlight is nice. But we don’t need it all the time. Grey and miserable! YESSSSSS! That’s what I moved to England for!^^^
^ The woman whose garden is full of pots. Whose pots are full of pots. Whose pots’ pots occasionally have pots in them.
^^ The moment the last of Souvenir’s gigantic midsummer flush has gone GREY-BROWN AND MOULDY.
^^^ Oh, and Peter.
** Although this is changing. Not in a good way.