I am a terrible, horrible, clueless, thoughtless, ungrateful person.
I found the second robins’ nest today. It is in my greenhouse. It’s just in a different place in my greenhouse. And, you may ask, how did I find the new nest? By dropping a new package of pots-made-out-of-compost* on mum robin’s head. Neither of us was happy. She freaked, obviously, and then I freaked, because there was a tiny feathered rocket boomeranging around my (also tiny) greenhouse. Hey, it’s a good thing the glass is so dirty: it means she stopped, rather than slamming into it. As I stood there, feebly twitching my arms like the big dumb schmuck that I am, she got herself trapped between the front corner and the door and stayed there, fluttering up and down—rather like a very small winged cat** on a hot tin roof. I’m so sorry, I kept saying stupidly, like this would mean something to her.
At this interesting juncture the hellhounds erupted indoors, and I went round to see what reckless person was at the door.*** By the time I returned to the greenhouse, the robin had disappeared. AND THEN I DID IT AGAIN. This time she figured out where the door was . . . FRELL.
I was not entirely unhinged. I hadn’t had the presence of mind, the first time, to move the frelling package of pots, and since I can’t see back there, I was afraid that the pots were literally on top of the nest, and she wouldn’t be able to sit on it even if she wanted to. I’m still not sure, although clearly she had returned and was trying. But I did move the pots. And she was back on the nest by the time I went indoors for the last time today—there’s now a strategically arranged crack between ranks of pots where I can just see a bristly slice of nest—and the top of mum’s head. Yaay.
But this is a lousy place for a nest. Several years ago when I had my first robins’ nest in the greenhouse, while it was diabolically inconvenient because it was early in the season and slap next to my stack of plant trays—you never see a nest before it’s too late to rearrange its surroundings so that you can get at the stuff you’re going to need for the next few weeks—it was very attractively arranged in the back of a narrow cardboard box I had absent-mindedly left there. The view was excellent. This year’s first nest, while very unsatisfactory for photos, was pretty good for the show. This one is a ratbag in all categories.
But it’s in my greenhouse. You know I’ve been sulking, because here is this excellent greenhouse, with a roof and everything, and hot and cold running mealworms, and they’ve gone somewhere ELSE for their second nest? Except they haven’t. I don’t think they’ve quite had time to have a second nest, which would make this one the third; and I’ve seen two robins together several times lately, which, if they’re not trying to kill each other, means they’re nesting. But I almost didn’t buy mealworms this week. Fortunately I overcame my bad self and did the right thing. If I’d waited till today, the pet shop would have been sold out.
More baby robins, all being well. Yaaaaay.†
* * *
* These are brilliant, by the way. I use more of them every year. I was trying to find a link, but I can’t remember what they’re called, and there are gazillions of plant pots out there, and gazillions of gardening sites to sell them to you. These are not just biodegradable, they are built to be short-term and to disintegrate quietly after they, with the plants still in them, are put in the ground (or in a bigger, solider pot). The one thing you have to remember, which I never do, is to tear the top rim off when you plant them out—chances are they’ll already be starting to get sort of saggy and squatty and this won’t be difficult—because otherwise you end up with this little hairy commemorative ring around your plant in its final position, which does not contribute to the effect in any way you want. But—no root disturbance! And if you get a little careless about getting your plants put in, these pots will remind you by starting to fall apart.
** There is a large, beautiful and very annoying cat that saunters around the churchyard going ‘mine. Mine.’ Whatever. Now, the churchyard is two gardens over from my cul de sac, and that should be far enough. But apparently it isn’t. The black cat that kept trying to commit suicide under Wolfgang’s wheels used to have yowling and hissing matches under my bedroom window at generally considered unsuitable hours^, with whom I’m not sure, but then he moved, and there was a couple of years’ gap before Phineas brought the hellkitten home. We had occasional feline visitors but since the hellkitten got old enough to stake territory he’s been the only one I’ve seen in the immediate vicinity. Now the sodding churchyard cat has decided to expand his territory. ARRRRRGH. I also feel conflicted because the hellcat, despite being a member of a hated race, is my friend,^^ and it does seem to me that he’s the one with a right to call the cul de sac his domain. Meanwhile . . . catfights at 3 am. My favourite.^^^
^ which is to say that in terms of sleep it wasn’t that big a deal to me, although in terms of stop making that sodblasted noise it was a big deal.
^^ The fact that he doesn’t go out of his way to torment the hellhounds goes a long way with me.
^^^ I’ve been meaning to answer the cat-repellent suggestions. The problem is that while Third House’s garden isn’t big in any absolute sense, it’s a lot bigger than I can keep covered in citrus spray or orange peel. Sure, I can fend them off one stretch of beds, borders, hedges, driveway. . . but they just move to a different stretch. They don’t like tea leaves either, but I started to have visions of changing the pH of my soil till I could only grow rhododendrons. I can’t remember—I think it’s some kind of coleus?—there’s a plant that is sold as a cat fender-off, and yes, they avoid the plant. But it’s boring. It’s not like you want a lot of these plants all over your garden. Stuff like lion dung—which at least used to be sold packaged under a proprietary brand over here—only works temporarily: the cats figure out there’s no lion. I’ve been told by people who’ve tried that mothballs don’t work worth a damn, and that’s something else I don’t want rotting down in quantity in my soil. Sonic discouragers would, I believe, also drive the neighbourhood dogs crazy, and it’s not the dogs’ fault+. And the things that squirt water, well, I don’t want to distress any hedgehogs I might be fortunate to have in my garden despite all the frelling cats. (I assume the sonic scarers would bother hedgehogs too. And what about birds? I don’t know what their hearing range is. Supposing they want to risk the high density feline population.) Aside from the fact that it would be sure to go wrong and someone would take me to small claims court for the price of their++ silk dress.
+ Although I have exactly the same feeling about dog crap in my garden that I do about cat crap: I want to kill the human responsible.
++ Yes, probably ‘her’. But not necessarily.
*** Penelope. Just by the way.
† As it happens I had a big bloated feed-the-birds catalogue fall through the mail slot in my door today. And I was reading it.^ I have been resisting, most of my life, the Bird Feeding Trap, which is One More Thing, expensive, and tends to escalate. But . . . um. I was thinking that since robins and tits and the other little stuff are my favourites, I could get one of those feeders in a wire cage where the gaps are only big enough for the little stuff to get through. But you need a frelling PhD to figure out what to buy. There are 1,000,000,000 kinds of bird food and—I did know this—different birds eat different things. And they eat them differently—so you need like six different kinds of feeders, as well as a clean and cleanable hellhound-free space on the ground. Well, we’re not going to have six different kinds of feeders, we’re going to have like one long skinny hanging feeder in a cage, and some kind of (hanging) fat block in another cage. But my (expensive) penchant for live mealworms calls into doubt the expertise of the Bird Food Pundits: they have these titchy little trays you’re supposed to put your live mealworms in. Are they crazy? Mealworms climb. In this weather they climb like frelling monkeys. I’ve got them in a big flat-bottomed planter to keep them contained—I needed something wide enough that robins could fly in and out but high-sided enough that the mealworms couldn’t stand on each other’s heads and pole vault. And, just by the way, so much for robins being ground feeders: the mealworms have always been on my greenhouse table, which is about waist high.
I wish I knew what was going on with my bats. . . .
^ Anything to avoid working.
IT’S RAINING. Of course it’s raining. It has always rained. It will always rain.* Tomorrow we’re supposed to have gales. I’m so happy. Meanwhile the robins have dispersed. Silly little beggars. They should stay in the greenhouse where there’s a roof. I’ve thought of this a lot in the last ten days or so—at least the baby robins in the greenhouse aren’t melting. There is a good EIGHT INCHES of rain in my buckets. I’ve emptied my two-inch-measure rain gauge several times. Robins were still in the nest yesterday but gone without a trace today. Usually the little-things-in-the-shrubbery start making themselves known immediately—and there’s no way in or out of the cottage garden except by flying** unless I open the greenhouse door, which I haven’t in over a week.*** They’re probably in shock: they hop out of the nest, stumble along the shelf, nose-dive to the ground, yell, YAAY! FREEDOM!, and are instantly smacked to the floor by a large handful of rain.
The double daily serving of mealworms disappeared as normal today however, so something is eating them. The mealworm saucer—also inside the greenhouse, where dinner won’t drown—is on the flight path to the nest and I haven’t seen anything else hanging around, so I prefer to think it’s dad robin. I’ve seen him a few times, looking harassed. If perhaps there’s a break in the gales tomorrow I would quite like to get outdoors and pot up a few little green things (this will involve moving the dish of mealworms, which is on my potting table) and will try to catch dad poking mealworms into little things in the shrubbery.
I rang for a wedding today, in South Desuetude, poor things. I hope the bride’s gown had mud flaps.† But Colin is bonkers.†† We rang some rather good call changes, nice and brisk and crisp. I’ve said this before, that you’re usually so fixated on trying to learn methods that you forget that (mostly) well-struck call changes are pretty cool. Then Colin cast his eye over his band and declared that we would ring bob triples. For pity’s sake. Four of us out of eight knew what we were doing—I can’t remember the last time I was offered the opportunity to have a go at a practise course of bob triples. And we’re ringing it for a wedding??††† Two of us clueless ones were on the treble and the tenor—but I was ringing inside as was Cora, who promptly went wrong on her first dodge. Colin dragged us jovially out of the resulting morass and we continued . . . and then Boadicea went wrong. No fair. You’re one of the ones who knows what she’s doing. I never did figure out who I was making long sevenths over. I know the line on the page, as opposed to in the hurly-burly of ringing, so I just kept counting my line—and Colin kept yanking us on. We came round. I have no idea how. It cleared the churchyard however. . . .
And I went home for a bracing cup of tea.
I do not know about this “warming the cup” part of making tea. Doesn’t the hot water make the cup warm?
Depends how long you want the cup of tea to stay hot. If you want the tea to cool quickly so you can gulp it down before you dash out the door then a cold cup will assist. If you want a leisurely cuppa then warming the cup is “proper”.
::Clutches forehead:: Where were you people RAISED? Is NOTHING SACRED? Have the younger generations been DENIED THE WISDOM OF THE AGES? You warm your vessel for brewing tea—cup or pot—so the tea steeps correctly. ‡ And then there’s the whole commotion about whether you add the milk first or second: but since I don’t use milk I am allowed to give a miss to this embattled controversy.‡‡
Now I am going to SING. Oisin gave me a, you should forgive the term, new thing yesterday, which casts an interesting light on his view of my singing, but I’ll tell you all about it if I manage to learn it. Mwa ha ha ha ha.
* * *
* Except when there’s a drought, of course.
** All right. I admit it. Phineas’ previous cat once made it over his garden-room roof into my garden. I was not amused. He^ received a bucket of water for his pains and I didn’t see him again. Grrrrrr.^^
^ The cat, that is. Not Phineas.
Cat or dog?
Cat! Dog: need need, poop, chew, need, lick, need. Cat: whatev. Meow, yo. Here’s a mouse.
Cat: misses litterbox, plays head games, leaves dismembered corpses on your pillow. Dog: craps outdoors, doesn’t mind admitting is glad to see you, finds sleeping in heaps with chosen goddess sufficient glory and does not keep presenting asshole for admiration when you’re trying to watch a film.
. . . AT WHICH POINT The Cat Anti-Defamation League, or possibly the Joss Whedon for Galactic Supremo Party, nailed me and WORD CRASHED . . . taking, among other things, New Thing with it. Granted I have New Thing backed up liberally but I hadn’t copied today’s ep yet. GAAAAAAAH. Microsoft Recovery seems, in fact, to have recovered . . . this post, anyway, but I’m thinking maybe I’ll start a new file with today’s ep of New Thing, just in case of retrospective accidents. And the four hundred and six empty documents also recovered are making me nervous. What I had been trying to do was copy and paste one other quote from this article which maybe I’ll just type in . . .
How do you relax?
I do not understand your earthworld questionings.
Maybe Whedon should take up bell ringing.
*** I have MILLIONS of little green (mostly) mail-order things waiting to be potted on and/or planted out. MILLIONS. I swear every day Cathy was here there was another frelling delivery of little green things wanting to be potted on. I’M SURE I DIDN’T ORDER ALL OF THIS STUFF. And the day of our expedition, the one that was foiled, we stopped at a garden centre on the way home^ so that I could assuage my lacerated feelings and . . . MILLIONS. I’M TELLING YOU. MILLIONS.
^ I was driving. Cathy couldn’t stop me. She tried.
† Although my sympathy dwindled to negligible when she was half an hour late. I am near as near to finishing my second leg-warmer however. I wonder what horrors I will produce/reveal when I try to seam the frellers up.
†† We knew this, of course. Meanwhile Niall is disloyally going back to Curlyewe on Monday—which is their tower practise night, so it’s easier to organise them to come along early for a slug of handbells first. He promises this will not become a regular event. I’ve never rung at Curlyewe (tower) so I’m jealous . . . and then it turns out Colin’s tower practise this Monday is on his grisly little garage ring—with the flowerpots in the ceiling, and the tenor, the biggest bell, weighs eleven frelling pounds. It’s like trying to cook with a doll’s tea set. ARRRRRGH.
††† Maybe if she hadn’t been half an hour late. . . .
‡ You need half-decent tea for the effect to be noticeable however. Do not speak to me of tea BAGS if you wish to live. And the latest fashion nonsense about triangular-solid-shaped bags that bloom in hot water, frelling spare me. As if anyone who drinks PG Tips cares. Mind you, if all you want/need is a slug of caffeine as rapidly as possible, it’s all good. But a really excellent cup of tea worth lingering over requires finesse. Which includes superior-quality LOOSE tea . . . and warming whatever you’re making it in first.
‡‡ When I did use milk, I added it second. But this was not because of philosophical deliberations or considerations of the physics of creaminess. It was because I wanted to be sure the sixty-four spoons of sugar I put in first dissolved properly.
I’ve just been ordering Christmas presents for me on Peter’s credit card. Mwa hahahahahahaha.
Well, he asked. He says, I don’t have enough Christmas presents for you. Gee that’s really too bad, I say, trying not to slaver too openly. I’m sure (I add hastily) what you have is fine. [Crosses fingers behind back.] * Do you have any suggestions? he says, politely averting his eyes from both the drool and the crossed fingers. Um . . . well, I say, trying to sound bashful, there’s that fabulous new book on ROSES that you found the review for, that I keep not quite committing to buying for myself**, and you know maybe an extreme book of scary origami?***
Do it, he says. My wallet is in my leather jacket.† And then he ambles gently over to the sofa and lies down for a nap.
The power. The power.††
Christmas. Great big feh.††† I’ve spent most of the day‡ hacking my way through excruciatingly slow web sites overburdened with other frantic people doing last-minute Christmas shopping. My memory, not one of my strong points at the best of times, managed to let me down disastrously in a couple of instances—most of the last-minute sites let you order up till Monday but I’d managed to forget that one or two in my mind’s eye aren’t last-minute sites. ‘Five to seven working days’ does not ravish me with joy, ‘five to ten working days’ makes me whimper and ‘out of stock, we will contact you when available’ makes me fling myself on the floor in a transport of I don’t know what, but it looks interesting to the hellhounds.
Meanwhile all these gorblimey physicists going on about the impossibility of everything. How about if they whiffle some of those infinitely complex non-boundaries of the Mandelbrot set into/out of time? I’m sure the answer to the thirty-six hour day is tucked away in there somewhere, if they’d settle down and apply themselves. There’s a Nobel Prize in it for sure. Come on, guys! Function!
* * *
* I’ve tried the ‘if you have an overwhelming desire to help me pay for the new laptop please don’t restrain yourself’^ but he says, no, no, you need something to open. Aw gee. He’s always been like this—for someone who has to overcome deep-rooted repugnance at the very idea of receiving a gift^^, he has a very romantic notion about giving them. And furthermore, he says, with a gleam in his eye, you need something that will look good on the blog.
Hmm. Okay, he has a point.
^ And he did help with the iPad. Although that was before I realised PEG II was an evil fiend from hell/second book in a tr*l*gy and that I wasn’t going to turn it in last August and was therefore about to run out of money instead.+
+ This means that the old laptop will lurch on almost failing for at least another year. If I hadn’t bought the new laptop it would have blown up in a toxic cloud of sticky purple smoke last week, melting the William Morris oilcloth, leaving a very nasty mark on the table, and causing me to run away to sea.~ Yes, this is still the old laptop. I don’t have time to learn a new frelling operating system.
~ I don’t think they take fifty-nine-year-old women as able-bodied sailors, do they? Well that’s out then.
^^ He was unusually well-mannered yesterday.+ I don’t think he ran out of the room even once. And he seems quite pleased with his phone.
+ The big problem with visitors is the absence of leftovers. Like, a glass of soothing champagne tonight.
** I’ve now spent easily its list price in maths and physics books. But then I didn’t already have umpty-gazillion books on maths and physics.
*** No, I have at least twelve thumbs. I also have a slight problem about empty flat surfaces to practise folding on.^ But maths and physics are not enough! Origami is also important in SHADOWS and I need to know something about it too, before I Schrodinger’s-cat^^ it all up for the story! Why couldn’t I write about something easy, like vampires or dragons?
^ Now even worse than usual. I spent most of an hour I didn’t have this evening bringing the jungle indoors. But we’re apparently supposed to have several degrees of frost tonight and . . . I, er, folded. I have lost remarkably little so far and I see all those gallant geraniums pressing themselves against the warm house-wall and shivering and I feel like a murderer. One of the curious aspects of going back to the cottage at, oh, 3 a.m. or so is that you probably know by then if you’re having a frost or not. Ahem. The mews courtyard freezes at least two degrees sooner than I do at the cottage so if I have to claw Wolfgang free of the clutches of the Ice Giants it doesn’t necessarily mean that those faint popping noises you hear are geraniums giving up the ghost back at the cottage. We’ve had two or three frosty nights thus far when I’ve gritted my teeth and gone to bed anyway^^^ but last night caught me out. I didn’t think it was going to freeze and then it did, and pretty smartly too. The geraniums are definitely looking a little crumbly around the edges. ARRRRRGH. So when I went back to the cottage on the second hurtle with crisp-weather-enlivened hellhounds and it was already only about two degrees off freezing I . . . brought everything I could find in the dark . . . indoors. And the best thing about this? The BEST? That my kitchen—and I hope it will only be my kitchen—will be full of revitalised slugs tomorrow morning which were hibernating and believe that spring has come early. . . .
^^ http://www.cafepress.co.uk/+tote_bag,137590655 Hee hee hee hee.
^^^ I don’t have TIIIIIIIIME. Listen, all of you, at approximately 9:30 GMT tomorrow morning, I want any of you who happen to be awake to face in a Hampshire-ward direction and shout, YOU DON’T HAVE TIIIIIIIIME, because that’s when Niall, as we pull our coats on and prepare to descend the ladder after service ring, will tackle me (again) on the subject of handbells with Titus tomorrow evening.
† Last year’s Christmas present, you know.^
^ Last year? Two years ago? I’m too old to be bothered to make fine distinctions between mere years.
†† Sigh. Yes, he does read the blog.
††† I don’t have time for Christmas. And I have to get the frelling Christmas stuff down from my attic at Third House this year. It’s been at the mews before this, so I’ve been able to flounce and sulk at Peter for not hotfooting to accomplish this. Not only do I not get to flounce and sulk at someone else, I have to frelling do something.
‡ Barring bringing the jungle indoors
THIS IS YOUR LAST DAY. THIS IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO BUY A BOOK OR BID ON SOMETHING IN THE BELL-FUND AUCTION/SALE.* The doodle option will stay up another week** but everything else shuts down tomorrow at 2 pm Chicago (Blogmom) time. Step right up, folks, step right up. The bearded lady and the sword-swallower right this way, just as soon as you give me all your money.
I’m uncommonly shattered for some reason. Maybe it was that invasion of berserker cauliflower last night . . . no, wait, I do know what it was: both hellhounds ate supper with almost no fuss whatsoever. What? Chaos has officially given up supper—he submitted the form a good fortnight ago but he’d filled it out wrong so I got to send it back—and Darkness only eats on the nights that having me pry his jaws open to get a remedy powder in is going to be just toooooo boring. You can almost see him considering it when I put the bowl of food in front of him. But I’d barely started my first game of Montezuma 2*** when . . . crunch crunch crunch. Crunch crunch. I had to put Pooka down in the middle of a game.† But the entire experience was such a shock to the system I had to lie down and read for a while.†† And then repelling the attack cauliflower took a while.††† And then there were the cats. And then it was dawn. And then the horrible man‡ across the road went to work.‡‡ The sound his frelling car makes on their gravel driveway is a lot like very large hellhounds eating supper. . . . Sorry, I’m raving.
So. I’ve been doodling. Some madwoman who wants to spread the joy‡‡‡ asked for a heap of sleeping puppies doodle for DEERSKIN. Glarg. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to simplify this into a standard doodle, but here’s a first trial run:
Someone else wants a spider in the corner of a window for SPINDLE’S END:
I may have a go at the spider dangling from a sleeve—my doodle-orderer’s other suggestion—one of these days in my copious spare time, and find out if drawing Ikor’s shiny ribbony sleeve is rather satisfying in an OCD sort of way, as I suspect it may be.
. . . And the medium-large friendly squid wants not to be forgotten.
Now go buy something. Please.
* * *
* And, guys . . . you’re seriously missing out not having a better run at TULKU, or CHUCK AND DANIELLE, or CLOCK MICE. I know this is my blog—and my bells—but I’m recommending them. Highly.
** I don’t know exactly when this will happen, but when Blogmom has recovered from doing all the making-it-work about the bell fund^ I’ve asked her if she can figure out a way to hang a more-or-less permanent^^ doodle-order window down the side of the blog somewhere. We’ll worry about what to do with the money if it turns out there is any.
^ I believe I heard something about ‘Caribbean cruise’.
^^ Or let’s call it indefinite, which is what my visa to stay in England says. Very unsettling, ‘indefinite’ rather than ‘permanent’. I’ll be good, officer! Really I will! —Er. I do get to complain, don’t I?
*** Sigh. You were right. Montezuma 2 is available for iPhone. Why it didn’t appear instantly and say Buy me! when I asked iTunes for it is one of those little mysteries, like why my audible downloads are so easily led astray by bad companions and are found days later in the wrong part of town with nothing left but a headache and a vague memory of something about Long Island Iced Tea^ and spandex.
† There doesn’t seem to be a ‘cancel this game, hellhounds are eating’ option. Oh well, my player rating is always pathetic.
†† I don’t suppose any of you out there want to recommend an origami book? I dug out my ancient Dover reprint of beginner origami and ordered the FOR DUMMIES origami but neither of them is the least bit inspiring. I want something that makes me go ‘ooh’. I’m, you know, shallow.
††† It was a vengeance raid. I ate the emperor a few nights ago. Very tasty he was too.
‡ Actually he’s a very nice man. Except at 7 o’clock in the morning.
‡‡ Wait a minute. It’s Saturday. What was he doing going to work?^
^ Yes, I work seven days a week. I’m free lance. It’s the down side to being able to work in your dressing gown and not comb your hair. And stay up till dawn.
‡‡‡ Too late. I’ve been mad for years.
Oh tra la etc, ’tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness* . . . . AAAAAAUGH.
A good year for spiders? A good year???** Whimper. But that remark about eating clothes moths got my attention. The article is from yesterday; neither Peter nor I noticed it, but today there’s a whole page devoted to charming photos sent in by readers, which I’m failing to make google bring up for me so I can ruin your evening too by providing the link. My extra-large friend, the so-called house spider***, from . . . was it only last year? . . . that Black Bear kept trying to convince me was a lovelorn male and I insisted was a girl because girls are BIGGER . . . features in today’s photo gallery, as do a number of other creatures I do not want to share house space with†. And that garden spider has no business in the photographer’s bathroom, it’s a garden spider.
* * *
Oisin is back. He’s been . . . I don’t know, Antares or somewhere†† . . . and is still suffering space-lag. My Friday afternoons have been a desert in his absence these last few weeks. Gods! It’s like I have to work or something! I was so glad to see him I put up with a forty-seven hour††† concerto for six organs, eight feet‡, and a gazania.‡‡ I am out of practise, listening attentively, and my brain starts to deliquesce after the first twelve hours or so. He needs to break me back in slowly. ‡‡‡ He was glad to see me too: I immediately asked him about the New Arcadia Singers and I believe he said something rude.§ Ah, friendship. . . .
* * *
* Speaking of Keats, poor old beggar. http://www.artofeurope.com/keats/kea1.htm
What I find most amusing is that some poor WHSmith employee (or a whole department of them) probably read “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” on a product mock-up and (horrified by the poor grammar) “fixed” it.
Not just a momentary oversight either – the carefully written (I suppose that’s debatable) product description on whsmith.co.uk proclaims “This bright pink A5 notebook is decorated with raised felt declaiming the famous line from Keats’ poem ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ – ‘Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.’”
I am so impressed that you went and looked it up on WH Smith’s site.^ It all begs the question however of how they succeeded as far as getting the title and author right and creating a little advertising blurb for the web site^^ and not checking the frelling LINE THEY’RE QUOTING—? In response to several remarks about knowing instantly that there’s something wrong even if you don’t know what it is—one person cites ‘proofreader’s eye’—I don’t think so. Or anyway it’s proofreader’s ear. Beauty is truth and truth is beauty is a plonking dull patronising whap you up longside the head aphorism. Beauty is truth and truth beauty is poetry. And I think your ear knows that. Clearly there are no poets at WH Smith.
And just by the way, why PINK? Now we all know that I am a strong believer in pink, but I cannot see the connection either with Keats or with Grecian urns. Let alone with monumental misquotation.
^ Does it ever cross your mind that perhaps you should get out more?
^ The web site famous to me+ for failing to sell their own store brand itty-bitty doodle sized sketch pads. What is your web site for, for pity’s sake, you bloated corporate monster?
+ Yes, I should get out more too. For reasons that do not involve bells. I was almost pressganged into ringing a wedding tomorrow. I want to spend tomorrow afternoon in the garden. I think I have got out of the wedding. But I may not answer the phone for the next twenty-six hours—just in case. If Merrilee is reading this—she usually reads the blog—she is laughing sardonically. You never do answer the phone! she (among others) says. You can always make an appointment, I reply with dignity.
** There are quite astonishing numbers of bats around here this year too. Or maybe I’m just sensitized.
*** So called not because it likes to live in them but because it’s as big as one
† Bats, sure, I can do bats.^ Not spiders! Noooooo! Not spiders! I am also aware of the putting them outdoors so they can tell all their friends and come back in force next time game aspect, but the truth is I’m not going to kill them, even when they’re slightly larger than a hellhound^^, and YES I hang the bathmat at an angle so they can climb out. I have been resigned to my madness^^^ but if they eat clothes moths. . . .
^ As I might say . . . ahem.
^^ All those beady little eyes
^^^ A belief in reincarnation is very useful when you’re looking for an excuse for wimping out of killing things
†† Very spectacular, he says, but you get tired of being on a ship all those weeks, and never making landfall.
††† It’s actually next Wednesday as I write this.
‡ As I said to him afterward, as he was mopping his fevered brow, who needs to belong to a gym if you can play the pedalboard to an organ?
‡‡ The funny thing is, with reference to a few comments on the forum . . . I probably could post both geranium and Christmas cactus cuttings successfully. One of the ways you’re supposed to overwinter geraniums is by cutting them down to nubs, digging them up, and putting them in a box of sand under your bed or equivalent—and b_twin said that local myth has it that you should leave geranium cuttings lying around dry and abandoned before planting. And the Christmas cactus, like most of the common succulents and cacti, knows it lives in a hostile universe, and is permanently ready to hunker down and endure. Any one of those odd daisy-chain leaves will root, if you break it off and put it in water—although in my (limited) experience if you want the thing to flower before you forget why you’re giving it house space you want a branch of half a dozen links or so. Dunno if a week in a mailing envelope has any effect.
And unless the laws have changed (again) you’re allowed to send plants over the border(s) so long as said plants already exist in both countries and they’re clean. This is a trifle obnoxious when you’re scrubbing off bluebell bulbs, but cuttings would be a . . . um . . . snip.
I had a brief hilarious moment contemplating auctioning Christmas cactus and geranium cuttings. Don’t worry, I got over it.^
^ I told you that my new earphones arrived yesterday? No, wait, I think I tweeted it, including that they came with a Free Strawberry Flavoured Lollipop. Huh? The lollipop is still lying on the kitchen table, waiting for me to do something with it, like throw it away. What’s this? Peter said. I told him. Auction it, he said.
Funny man. Ha ha ha.
‡‡‡ I having confessed to failing to follow what was going on he has helpfully sent me a link to someone else’s performance. Okay. I’ll get a lot of knitting done. That’s a lot.
§ I realise with alarm that next week I’ll have to begin thinking of creative ways not to sing three times a week with Other People Present again, now that Oisin is back and the Muddlehamptons are restarting.