Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The tale of Tommy...

the tumbling tiger tomato.

Tommy is the sole surviving member of a band of brothers
sown by me months ago.
He was one of five in a mortgage-inducing packet.
'Contents - five seeds'
That won't be right I think , as I open the
pack and peer in...
Well you could have knocked me down with a feather,
sitting coyly in the bottom were exactly five frigging seeds.

I carefully tucked them up in their beautifully
prepared bed, sat back and waited.
With warm bottoms and Black Russians as compatriots
they couldn't fail.  The Russians romped away leaving
the timid and shy tumblers to bring up the rear.
The Black wee beasties succumbed to trench rot and one after the other 
wilted and died.  All hope was pinned on the TT's.
Slowly, shyly they emerged looking feeble, but with an air of triumph.

Then one morning I was dismayed to find three had gone the way
of their Russian chums.
Two were left.  With red-cross-emblazoned matronly
chest, starched white napkin, Hattie Jacques-like
pinned on my head, I rushed them to intensive care.

With blue light flashing, the patients clutched to my heaving bosom,
 I scurried down the garden.
 In the balmy warmth of the house,
I placed them gently into an incubator (clear plastic bag), 
peace reigned, until Tommy's brother
drooped and died.
Gallantly he marched on, well to say marched is a tad over egging the pudding.
Gallantly he limped on, until one day I thought, now is the time he braved the world.
Carefully, for all the world looking like a stripper peeling off a stocking,
I lowered the plastic comfort blanket.
The shock put him back three seasons...
still he clung to life... just, and this is how you see him this morning.
Now if I was a betting woman, I don't think he's got a fart in a thunderstorm's
chance of producing any offspring...

What do you think?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

I stood on the landing and...

with nose finely tuned, I sniffed...
out of the corner of my eye I saw the 
ScareCrow shoot a jet of water, rushing to the window 
annoyingly I couldn't see what had set it off;
the culprit long gone.
Well at least it works, I thought, as I went
back to my Inspector Clouseau sniffing.

'Madame, that is by far the ugliest nose I have ever seen
and I compliment you on it, it suits you!'

The odour is of dead mouse.
The cat folk I have inadvertently offended,
will smile and say serve her ruddy well right.

Living at the end of a row of three hundred year old

timber framed cottages, the mice must have a field day visiting the 
Daddy bear, Mummy Bear and Baby bear cottages.
Daddy Bear - Us - not very clean and tidy
Mummy Bear - Spotlessly clean and tidy
Baby Bear - Not at all clean and tidy.
Visiting all must make for a rich and varied diet.
Trouble is they find their way in, and not having the 
sense to tie string around their back paw, forget 
the way out. 
Our cottages are perched on sloping ground and
have socking great voids underneath, a veritable 
rodent Alton Towers.
We've spent good money to
discover the cause of the smell when it occasionally occurs,
all to no avail.  Now we just live with it.

Our tiara and tux dinner parties are on hold
until the smell subsides.
(That is a socking great fib!)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The March of the Scarecrows...

Introducing the late lamented Jackie T
who after a sex-change operation reigned as Jack T
until sadly he died in October 2010.
Tits never did nest in his brassiere.

Regular readers of my blog will know of my war on cats;
not only because my garden has on occasion felt like 
Cat Shit Central, but because of my love for our garden birds.
This year has been particularly bad due to the visits of a variety of 
mangy looking critters of the feline kind.
Don't get me wrong I don't hate cats, I just
hate harvesting cat shit instead of carrots.

Last year I thought I'll buy a high velocity
water pistol to shoot up the obvious bulls eye that presents itself
as they depart the plot!
A cunning plan, I sent off for this harmless
deterrent, happy in the knowledge that no cats would be hurt in 
the making of this cat-free zone.
What I soon found out is that in order to pressurise the water
you have to pump the frigging thing up,
 by which time the sodding cats are three counties away.

Plan B...
This year, after much thought and not a little money,
I decided to get real and determinedly deter.

Enter the ScareCrow...
a magical device that on movement across a wide area
sprays a huge shot of water.

Trouble is I've never seen it in action...
although since its arrival I haven't seen sign of pussy.

Friday, 26 April 2013

BAN... Teeth...

Quote in today's paper by Brendan Rodgers

'I honestly feel that the punishment has been against
the man rather than the incident.'

Now I'm no football fan, but how do you separate the incident
from the man?

Ban his teeth for ten matches?

Then he might kick more balls than the official one?

Let's face it Brendan Rodgers sees his 'major bucks' investment 
 not paying his over-inflated way
in the gentlehooligans game of footie.

'There, there, you be a good boy and don't do it again!'

What message is this sending out to young folk who enjoy the game?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

'Let lost be lost...

Let gone be gone, and not fetched back'

I am fully aware I live a hermit existence, happy to let today's 
world pass me by.
Mars bars for example, all the years we all used to trough
the calorie-laden choc bar, until one day, a bright spark came 
up with the idea to turn them into frozen choc ices.
Jaffa cakes, I read only the other day you can now 
buy the size of a pouff. 

Theatre going, a rare expensive treat
for the chattering middle classes.
That is until now, or perhaps it isn't a recent thing, 
it may have just not impinged on my parochial outlook?
I dunno?
Must be a new thing, bring the theatre
to the great unwashed, instead of sit with half empty shows?

Roll of drums
'National Theatre Live
Best of British theatre broadcast
live to cinemas around the world'

'People' by Alan Bennett

Yesterday found me sat in our local  upmarket flea pit;
a church turned into a cinema with comfy seats. Beverages
to go, wine even, egg sandwiches perhaps a step too far?
Flapjacks, crumbs down your cleavage, champagne, two steps too far!

The youngest in the audience by a country mile, I sat
grey haired in a sea of grey.  My two chums, a pal of eighty eight and a lady
of diamond dripping indeterminate age, were, I hoped not too shocked
by the second half which included the shooting of a porn movie?

Alan Bennett is my all-time favourite squeeze,
my love for him knows no bounds.
Ted knows in the pecking order, he plays second fiddle
to my curmurdgeonly Yorkshire heart throb.
When we next meet, (alright in my dreams) I'll conveniently forget to tell him I've just
become a volunteer for the National Trust. Best not queer my pitch
before I set his heart racing! 

'The very idea!'

His views on the National Trust are let's say interesting.

The play is set in a crumbling pile in South Yorkshire,
the National Trust hover hoping to acquire the decaying dump.
The main players are
Lady Stacpoole, June her lesbian archdeacon sister and completing the trio
Iris, Lady Stacpoole's dotty femail companion.

In her moth-eaten fur coat all Lady Dorothy really wants is
a hot bath and to be warm. 
The dotty duo whenever alone, launched into song, which was  
an unexpected surprise.

Diving under the seat for my pal's flowery stick
I couldn't help giving it a majorette twirl, singing the Pet Clark song
 that finished the show, before reluctantly handing it back.

Note to self...
think I'll suggest it becomes compulsory viewing
for all National Trust staff and volunteers!


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A flavour of my days...


such a wonderful setting...

so much to learn.

A Picturesque garden in so many different ways.

Layers of love, memories and decay.

Nature and nurture work hand in hand.

A grafting of gardeners, 
  passion like sap in their veins.
Their knowledge is there for the picking;
working alone, they're happy to stop and share.

My first February days were a challenging time to start;
a bleak and cold landscape.

A blank canvas; that only now can I appreciate
as I watch the gentle slip into spring.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The tale of the tadpole and the eagle...

On Sunday some friends phoned out of the blue to say
they were coming to the village would it be okay to call.
My slumbering entertaining gene awoke...
"Come for supper!'  I said visibly brightened.
I love to cook for folk.

Bustling, you can't beat a good bustle; it's like pottering, you don't actually do anything,
just tidy up, making it look as if you are a Nigella of the dusting kind. 

'Oh shit!'  
Why is it that the very day we need a good size bird,
Ted has chosen a pathetic scrawny chicken!?
NO worries, we'll survive. 

Hazel and Ray arrived to find me peering into the pond,
watching the tadpoles wriggle, still encased in their
jelly sacks.
Me full of wonder, I turned and said
'You look suitably underwhelmed!'
We laughed and came in.
Having a tree nursery, they don't talk in furlongs,
acres are the name of their game.
So I suppose our little pond did look pathetic.

4.30pm too late for tea and cake...
Give 'em a drink.

I cracked on with the supper all the while talking and
drinking, like you do.

We had a leisurely meal all the while
talking, catching up with the news, like you do.

'You'll never guess what happened to me the other day?'
'No go on tell!'
'Well I was ironing in the kitchen when all of a sudden there
was a huge clatter on the window behind me I turned to see an eagle
had winded itself by flying into the window!'
'An eagle?'

By this time wine had been drunk,
even so our incredulity was stretched.
'An eagle?'
Well you could have knocked me down with a feather.

She went on to say after phoning around friends in the area,
the story came to light of someone that had lost an eagle a few days before.
The eagle was still sitting, weak and dazed on the fence when its relieved owner
came to collect it.
A happy end to the story.
While the talk of a wildlife kind flowed, I decided it
was time for me to check on my wildlife; alright
tadpoles aren't in the same league and no we only talk of yardage
on our nature reserve... but still.
Off I trotted in my much loved Turkish slippers
to check on our babies, and the newly installed
solar fountain.
'Oh dear it's fallen in the water'
I thought in true Little Jim, Goon tradition.
Leaning across to straighten it...
I followed in short order...
The frog flew out like a naked lady out of a birthday cake,
the tadpoles were seismically rocked in their cots,
the clear pond water resembled brown Windsor soup,
as with the dignity of an upended turtle I got out.

Dripping, I returned to the chattering fray.
should I limbo-dance past with ne'er a word hoping they won't notice?
As I don't do lying, I decided that I would man up and be the butt of the firing line of
guffaws and rude ripostes.
They flew thick and fast as I dripped up the stairs to change.
My feeble
 'Look it wasn't my fault; it was the shiny bottoms of the slippers that
slipped on the mossy stones!'
Brought about even more gales of laughter.

The thank you email from Hazel said
'I hope you've dried out now Lin?'

Bloody cheek! 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

She comes up to me...

and says
'Do something Mum!'

No grey face here!

What to do about the dog?
I've always said I will do the right thing by her when the time comes.
The problem is how do you know when the day dawns?
Last night she wasn't at all well, she was slightly sick and didn't look at her dinner.
I went up to the greenhouse with glass of wine and watched the rain start to fall.
My head was full of, are we getting to the point when before things
overtake us, and she becomes really ill should I make the decision.

Coming back down the garden she was stood outside the door with tail
between her legs.  Ted was stood watching her with a worried expression.
She looked at me with no welcome in her eyes, we went in
and she climbed into her bed.

While we were having supper she went and ate hers.
Relief, she's coming back.

We often sit with tears in our eyes thinking of when the time comes.
 I have always said that I would rather do it before she is in real pain.
However saying what you propose to do, and actually doing it, are two completely
different things.

Lettice is now fifteen years old and she has been part of the family since she came
from the rescue centre at the tender age of 6 months.
She was skin and bone and had been horribly ill-treated.
She was one very timid dog and has been all her life,
well that is, until the dementia set in.  Now she's very chilled and not at all fazed when people come.  I have never had such an intelligent dog; a collie with all their funny
little foibles; a joy, a faithful and non-judgemental friend.

She loves the Proms, every last night I wonder
'Will this be her last?'

A couple of years ago she had a mini stroke (ataxia) and we sent for the vet thinking that this was the end.  He arrived ready for the dastardly deed to be done.  On seeing him she barked, and he said that she was far from the end.  On explaining what was wrong and what to expect we were happy to carry on.  She has had a couple more attacks and  now is very doddery on her feet.  

Ted takes her in for her nails to be clipped every six weeks as like many old girls she has trouble with her feet.   I don't go as I transmit my fears!

When we take her out for a walk, we plod along accompanied by the pitiful looks of
all we meet.  It's not good to see in their eyes what we know in our hearts.
Lettice is coming to the end of the road.  She is still keen to go out for a walk although the distant gets shorter by the month.  She sleeps when she gets home for the rest of the day. During that time, she has to be put out, to save on bed linen, as her muscle tone isn't what it was, whose is?
Our washing machine is going most days.  Ted gets up every night at 3am to let her out.
The only time he slept through the alarm, she had an accident, she was as mortified as he to the puddle on the floor, Ted thought he'd let her down.  Miss Tena is now our faithful friend, as our holiday money is now spent at her door, allowing Lettice dignity in old age.

Our old family dog Poppette, one winters night was let out and my father couldn't find her, she was sixteen and had wedged herself between the coal bunker and the house
waiting to die.  He brought her in and 'saved' her for another couple of months.
To what purpose?  Her life was miserable after my mother died and he was at work all day.  Eventually she was taken off by the vet to be put to sleep.  When I heard, I always vowed I wouldn't let it get that far.  How to know, that's the problem?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Old age apathy has me...

by the goiter.
I can't believe I've let the passing of
Maggie Thatcher pass me by with ne'er a rant.

Insouciance stalks my every step...
Is this the beginning of the end?
I've tried, oh how I've tried to mine the seam
of discontent.
My views on her were strident; I could
have handbagged her from a thousand yards.
Now with my Spec-Savers soft-focus lens something's changed;
  I wouldn't mind but I don't even wear blooming glasses.
Bloody worrying I don't mind admitting.

Just wish today's politicians had her balls.

My days of revolting are over; even my stropping around outside the Chilcot
inquiry when 'Bliar' appeared, seem a dim and distant memory.

What to do now, as I wait to die?

Join the W.I. I suppose.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The air of mystery...

the sights, the aroma of the kasbah
were somewhat spoilt by the
man in a flat cap.

Herbert Smith...
from Keighley with pockets full
of dried peas.

They travelled the world the man
and his peas.

From Mona Lisa in Paris
to Monte Carlo or Bust.

Pea-filled pockets rattling,
Monique in Paris was heard to say

'Ello 'Erbert izz zhat a gun in your pockett?'

In broad Yorkshire accent he replied 
'Nay lass it's me peas!' 

A late developing lothario he cruised the world.

Tanned and fit he returned to us...
he was my Grandad and I loved him.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I'm on the cusp of calamity...

My love affair with Lewes is heading for the Crown court.

In any relationship both sides should work at it, in order
to keep it vibrant and fresh.
 I'd be the first to admit I have been tardy in not being there for it
when perhaps it needed me most.  Well to be exact... my money most.
I'm ashamed to say the last time I was there the foxgloves were at their
most foxy and exuberant.  That gives you a clue.

When I first discovered Lewes I marvelled at the off-the-wall,
wacky and weird shops where even the funeral directors offered
an out of body experience.
Floating around the town on an odd thermal, I would sniff the air.
Art by any other name.
Mums dressed in Birkenstocks, legs with brightly coloured droopy stockings towing their sprogs in chariot-like contraptions on the back of their bicycles.
Steiner school lunch boxes stuffed with toasted tofu and knitted
nut and edamame bean hummus with a side of sprouted alfalfa.

Dads to die for, dressed in corduroy, chunky manly sweaters 
and crimson desert boots.

Life back then was so much simpler.
I would retire to Bill's for a little light luncheon,
sitting on the pavement watching the world go by.
Glass of chilled Chilean, salad served in a cup.
Nobody but nobody looked normal, all were a 
feast for the eyes.

I would then wander up the hill, in and out of all the shops that seemed to 
have a busy coffee shop included within.
 I would buy interesting bits, that before my trip I really had no idea 
I just couldn't live without.
Buying odd clothes that swept the floor
 leaving a trail of broken hearts in my wake. (fib)
One mid summers day, I well remember going into the bowels of an antique shop and seeing a holly decorated bag with brightly coloured balls issuing forth.
I had to have it: the bloke who had just thought to take the Christmas decorations down
was bemused my my request.
'How much?'
'A fiver!'
Happy I clutched them to my chest, careful not to crush them.
No old balls these; they just had the patina of a year or two of neglect which I loved.
Each Christmas they come out, I carefully open the bag and gently spill them out to settle where they will.
A fiver... cheap...
for the memories alone, 
my friend was speechless,
how to explain...
I didn't even try.

With empties clanking in the boot I set off.
'Don't take the bottles to the bottle bank' I airily said to Ted.
"I'll take them back next time, you get money back on the bottles!'
First port of call...

'Same again please!'
As I put the carrier bag on on the counter.

5p small bottles,
8p large...
just like the old days I thought as I stepped out of the shop.

I trod the tried and tested route,
nothing seemed the same;
the magic was gone.

I came home with just the bottles of beer 
and some stickers.

I was irritated by the artistry of
artfully arranged sparse windows.

Has Lewes changed or was it me?

Monday, 8 April 2013

I snooped, I stooped...

stealthily I crept looking for all the world like
a peeping tom of the pervy kind.
Our hedge wasn't having any of it,
playing its cards close to its chest, secrets of a nesting kind
 were concealed to the human eye.

This is the reason why...

a thrushes egg found on the grass.

Thrushes haven't flourished in our garden, the reason I think is
because the blackbirds guard their ancient hedge with aggressive zeal.

A couple of summers ago, I found a nest, carefully watched it
and two fledglings emerged.
One I nearly trod on early one morning when I was walking the course;
luckily it fluttered into the hedge were mum fed it for two days until it was ready for the off into the big bad world.  The other I'm ashamed to say, got killed in a rat trap we had behind the greenhouse, where a family of rats had taken up residence near the compost heap.  I was there at the time, I heard the squawk, the trap snap, and rushed to find it 
dead.  I just can't begin to tell you how I felt.

On another occasion a fully grown thrush was being harried by a blackbird and flew into one of the oak room windows.  I rushed to its aid, just in time to see it breathe its last.  The strange thing was, out from under one of its wings, a large black insect emerged, the like of which I'd never seen before.  Horrible looking thing it was, it then disappeared back from whence it came.  Word is obviously out in the thrush world, our neck of the woods is not a safe place to be.  So you can imagine my delight the other day to see a thrush working away at a little light Wimpey building.  Since that day, I haven't clapped eyes on it, perhaps it's sitting on its wood chip mattress, trying oh so hard to hatch a family.  

Our garden I pride myself on being a haven for wildlife, only yesterday we saw a pair of
partridges perambulate through the hedge, a quick shofty round then back.
The trouble with being laid back is that my runner bean flowers get nipped by the 
sparrows, they use the veg plot as a dust bath.  The blackbirds have to inspect every green shoot to see if they're growing... well they were!

The slugs obviously have a field day, I'm hoping my home-spun
frogspawn when it grows up will police the garden with zero tolerance.

I swing lazily in my hammock on sunny days secure in the knowledge
that my relaxed gin and tonic gardening is proving a huge success with
all the wildlife of the Weald...
definitely my kind of gardening.

Just got to get the weather on board now and
the job's a good'un.

taken... not last year... oh dear me... No!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Grand Fashional...

Am I missing something here?
Those of you who have got to know me via
my blog will know I'm not in the least bit horsey!
  I could so easily, had it not been for an early experience
of my stout rump hitting the ground from
 the dizzy heights of a horses back.
Boy am I pleased... 
I took up boys instead; much more managable over the jumps!

I just don't get it, this horse racing thing.
How can you be a horse-lover and be a part of horses
dying just for mans' enjoyment?

I've only been horse racing once. 
I went with a friend who lives, breathes horses.
She also, when out of jodhpurs, looks a million dollars...
very well-bred.
I trailed in her wake, as the ugly sister would Cinders at the ball,
when droves of young bloods massed around us.
The champagne flowed, the neighs got louder,
her fetlocks were felt... all jolly good show don't you know.

My enjoyment of that day was people watching, I don't think I once 
went to the rail to see a race.
I felt happy in my homespun, topped off with a Laura Ashley hat... 
cutting edge I definitely wasn't.

Now we get to the rub...
my beef (oops sorry I must mean horse meat) is
let's turn horse racing on its head and have the horses
paraded around in the paddock, safe from harm.
The great and the good can study form much the same as men do
with the scantily clad women.
Leaving the field clear for the fillies' (tarts)
to compete.
With prize money and a cup they'd be over the jumps in a trice;
fuelled naturally by copious amounts of Champagne.
No worry of doping here, well apart from the odd line of coke
 taken in the ladies before the off.

1.10  The Tarts Titfer Challenge

1.45  The Mounted Muffs Steaks

2.15  Pelmets for Skirts Sprint Cup

2.50  Fecking Fascinators Fillies' Mile

3.25  Fake Tan Sun Chariot Stakes

4.15  Stiletto Handicap

5.10  Totally Unsuitable Shoes Sprint

5.40  The John Smith's 12 pint Handicap Hurdle

If daft tarts fall over and break their necks
wearing ridiculous shoes... that's their choice.
Horses however don't have that choice;
their demise I abhor.

The sport of Kings?