When we were all saying a month ago that we objected to blizzards in March and wanted spring, we were not asking for a frelling heat wave in April including the hottest April day in seventy years. Arrrrrrgh.*
I was going to start this saying WHERE DOES THE TIME GO because I’ve been starting the next blog post for days and then don’t finish it** but I know where the time goes: at the moment, it goes, somewhat frantically, in the garden, where things are shooting up with a HURRRAAAAAAAAAH . . . and everything needs WATERING, like, now, and an hour ago and again in another hour, a situation fiendishly exacerbated by my Pot Habit***, including pots in pots and occasionally pots in pots in pots.& The tiered effect. This usually looks really nice for about fifteen minutes, before the bricks you have things balanced on turn out to be different heights, even though you checked really carefully, and the compost settles unevenly and the plants, very carefully placed and arranged, start growing in all the wrong directions. Or don’t grow at all. And any gardener will tell you that the fifteen minutes of perfection never happens when there’s anyone around to admire all your hard work.&&
But the wedged-in method is the obvious choice when you have a small town garden and long for that desperately out of control feeling of a big country garden—what Peter used to call empire-building. As soon as you have one territory under control some vassal state on some other border is revolting, and you have to go quell that uprising. And then . . . It’s true I have fewer triffids here than we had at the old house but I do have an eight-foot camellia in a pot that keeps throwing herself off the little retaining wall that is there to create ‘interest’ by dividing the smaller back bit of garden from the larger front bit—and I can’t figure out why. Not why my predecessor put in a retaining wall—I think it probably does create interest, since I line it with a crenellation of pots—but why this camellia keeps trying to pick up her skirts and dance.
But there’s always a way to reproduce uproar and riot if you’re determined. Also, if you keep buying more plants&&& and have to put them somewhere.
Oh God I’m doing it again. APOLOGIES. I AM A HORRIBLE PERSON. I’m halfway through the answer to Question Three and I’m waaaaay over word limit, because I spent too much time/wordage blithering on about the garden,% and yes, of course, I could finish Question Three and post that instead, but see footnote **. If I do that the temperature will plunge and it’ll rain tomorrow. I PROMISE%% that the next thing I write for the blog will be the COMPLETE%%% answer to Question Three.$
* * *
. . . And so I didn’t get this posted last night as planned, and guess what? IT RAINED TODAY. In fact it rained, hailed, snowed$$, and thundered and lightninged, the radio went off the air, Chaos tried to hide under the bookcase by the front door, which has a clearance of all of six inches and which so-called gap is full of All Stars$$$, and Pav planted herself in Full Protective Mode by the kitchen door and barked any time a fractious lightning bolt dared show itself. And the electricity has been so gonzo I haven’t posted tonight, either, and it’s now tomorrow . . . again . . . but only by a few minutes . . . so far.
* * *
* Although it does make my hair frizz in a slightly more uniform manner, which is a good thing. With thanks for all the suggestions various commenters have made about hair control. Even if some of them do send me off in fits of the giggles. You have no idea how resistant I am to any idea of upkeep. I like clothes—I like messing around with colours and patterns and textures—and being broomstick shaped means it’s mostly easy to find things that hang or drape and almost impossible to find things that, you know, fit, so I don’t bother, which simplifies matters, if you want to call it simplifying when it removes a good reason to put it back on the shelf instead of proceeding to checkout. So while I have way too many clothes^ the body underneath gets fed and washed and that’s it. Also, rubbing or brushing oil into your hair, however tiny the amount, doesn’t it get all over your CLOTHES? I like clothes, I do not like being a slave to my washing machine.^^ Not to mention your bedding. However, I am doing the water-reset thing and that works pretty well, so long as I continue not to mind looking like a mattress-factory explosion. Which I don’t. But wetting my hands and running them through my hair a few times in a fluffing sort of way—although I need to remember to do this a good while before I’m desirous of being seen in public without scaring small children—means that, still slightly depending on the weather, my hair may possibly cough-cough settle down cough-cough in a manner that might pass for style in a mad old hag who talks to her dead husband in the churchyard every day.
^ I’ve been decreasingly the same size for forty-plus years and stuff that’s too big will still hang on the bony frame, and I never throw anything out.
^^ Or machines. Which I am. Dog bedding. Arrrrrgh. And my apparently immune-to-common-sense habit of deciding that I’m only going out into the garden for a minute and don’t need to layer on the protective clothing. Also, aprons. I’ve finally almost learnt to wear an apron in the kitchen, and it’s perfectly true that adding turmeric to anything, which I do a lot+, gives the anything a pogo-stick quality and almost everything I own is now adorned with yellow polka dots, including the hellbeasts++ and all my aprons. But there’s no malice to turmeric, it’s just lively and likes to jump around in a gay and abandoned manner. Stuff in the garden mugs you and laughs at aprons, so unless there’s time also to put on the dedicated garden shirt and the dedicated garden chaps as well as the apron, eh, it’s hopeless anyway.+++
+ It’s all kinds of good for you. For me with ME, it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.
++ Chaos gets turmeric and Darkness did too. In fact turmeric is one of the things that gave Darkness some quality of life back. He’d had to stop going upstairs because he was too stiff and coming down hurt. About a fortnight of turmeric and he was very nearly bounding up and down the stairs again.# Have I told you this? My office—upstairs—was his favourite place. Siiiiiiigh.
# Although when I went up to fetch him—selective deafness, everyone who has critters knows about this—I used to come down the stairs backwards with my hands held out, keeping an eye on him, just in case.
** And one of the big drawbacks to the ‘days in the life’ system is that it’s really hard to pick up something that was immediate when I started writing it and is now old news without making it sound lame and wonky. I should work on this. In my copious free time. I mean, if it’s something I’m still outraged about I can get the groove back.+ But if it’s just . . . days in the life, not so much.
+ Stupid opera productions, for example.
*** Do I have to make a marijuana joke here? Or is it only people who were alive in the ’60s that call it pot?
& Although I am slowly moving over to mostly tacky plastic pots from terra cotta and ceramic or those gorgeous patterned—resin? Fibreglass?—pots that cost a FORTUNE and last . . . about three years. I notice they aren’t as ubiquitous as they were when they were first produced and all of us fell on them with cries of delight and . . . dismay, as soon as the price tags were examined. Terra cotta and ceramic don’t last worth a damn either if you have anything remotely resembling winter weather. The usual advice is to put them up on little feet—you can get adorable little matching terra cotta or ceramic feet, spare me—which is mainly the most ENORMOUS faff, and the blasted pots will crack in the winter anyway. I have several Frankenstein pots, created by putting together the curved bits of several broken pots till a pot-semblance is achieved, whereupon I fill it up with compost really fast because the weight of the dirt will hold the shards in place. This is satisfying in a perverse sort of way. You can also use smaller shards as feet for pots you’re still obstinately attempting to nurse through a few more winters. It’s all Peter’s fault. I wasn’t a gardener till I met him. Although I invented the Frankenstein pot. Anyway . . . plastic pots are cheap, they survive dramatic weather better than anything else does AND THEY DON’T DRY OUT AS FAST IN THIS HEAT.
& And lunacy. Hey, practical, hands-on lunacy. Look at these blisters.
&&& Did I hear someone say ‘roses’? I’m just humming a little tune here.
% I haven’t even told you about the Fascinating Hellbeast Interaction that happened yesterday^. And I haven’t told you anything about the epic endeavour that trying to find a sighthound to keep Chaos company on our long country walks^^ is turning out to be.
^. For people who find critter interactions fascinating. I doubt anyone who doesn’t stays with this blog for long.
^^ Pav is not interested. Also, one sighthound about the place is just too few, while one bull terrier is like six bull terriers.
%% Well . . . let’s not get silly or anything. Probably I promise. Sort of.
%%% The same caveats apply. Probably the sort of complete.
$ Who knows? I might even throw in the answer to Question Four in the same post.
$$ Although so far as I know, only at the Abbey at the End. It’s like that there.
$$$ We Do Not Waste Space in This House