No opportunity for eavesdropping today as we moved onto the shops in the next village along. Deep devastation ensued when we realised that the posh charity shop was closed for a refurb. The rest had little to offer and no interesting conversations to ear flap over.
On the way back we listened to BBC Radio Devon and a rather gentle feature on pratfall words: words that are easier to read than say. Bizarrely, the Radio Devon list included ‘edited’ and ‘brewery’. Fascinatingly, the presenter confessed to persistently tranposing the m and n in emnity and, if they were still awake, listeners were then invited to ring in and share theirs, whereupon an old gentleman rang in to state publically that he had always had a problem with Huntingdonshire.
As the CD player isn’t working in the car (bound to happen the second you pay £450 for a service) and the roads are too winding to be fiddling around with other stations we were stuck with the show, so the kids amused themselves by saying ‘specifically’ and ‘particularly’ and ‘Penelope’ and some such and when the journey (ordeal) was over I remembered I had used to struggle with saying this flower’s name myself.
The flower was in the posy on my mother’s dining table last night. I was pretty poor value for money conversationally, and to look at, suffering from some terrible exhaustion but I managed to pull my face out of the soup to snap this bloom grown from some bulbs I succeeded in sending to her a few Christmases ago. (I know.)
In the meantime, the CD player still doesn’t work. Grrr.
Did you know that some of us on earth, those living on the equator, are rotating at nearly 1040 miles per hour? On European latitudes it is somewhere between 700 and 900 mph. Can you feel it? No, I didn’t think so. I sometimes get dizzy though.
These flowers I saw yesterday near the airport weren’t at all flustered spinning through the space breeze – they even graciously let a plane overtake them.
When you’ve been doing your head in listening to scientists and rabbis (see last few posts) the only thing for it (in my world) is to dive straight into some new tactile experience. A few weeks ago I discovered that if I peeled off the outer petals from the ‘dead’ cut roses I was throwing onto the compost heap it revealed a vibrant inner core that pulsated with colour and life. The qualities of the petals are not something I can describe in words, so this morning when I found some more cut roses in the bin (not the compost heap *tut*) I repeated the exercise and took some photographs.
I learnt from this that taking still life photographs is not as easy as the professionals make it look. As a consequence I had to fiddle around with backgrounds and camera settings which sounds technical but involved old shoeboxes, a vase and a battery charger on the kitchen worksurface. Still, I had some fun. I also discovered that the waterproof qualities of a rose petal are quite astounding; intelligent design indeed.
This year we’ve been up against it in the garden. First we had no water, and then we had too much, so I’ve not gone overboard with the annuals and gone for some low maintenance kitsch to inject some colour instead.
I reckon I could run my laptop off this windmill, if only knew how. Finding out how? It’s on my bucket list.
I might be giving a talk later, I’ll be taking my mate the butterfly to help me illustrate a point. I hope he’s been rehearsing ‘cos I haven’t; how do you rehearse what is already in your heart?
My Grandpa used to grow a lot of roses; we bought him one for his 80th birthday and I have long since forgotten the name of it. His garden, that it was planted in, is still there, but neither of my grandparents are. There’s that Elvis Costello song, isn’t there? He sings It’s Been A Good Year For the Roses, I don’t know if this is one such year, but I do know that they’ve preoccupied my thoughts more than ever before in my life.
I bought a patio rose tree about a year ago, in a terrible state, on sale for a few quid. It looked like it might not survive but after a little while, it flushed into bloom again, but with two different shades of pink: one very pale going towards apricot and one a proper rich, almost blowsy pink. It’s done it again this year, but with the constant rain, the colours seemed to have become washed out, watered down a little. And, strangely, it has hardly any leaves this year. I just don’t understand it.
A few months ago, I moved another rose that came with the garden. I didn’t move it gently, it was dragged out of the ground and I think I even took my spade to one of it’s more stubborn roots to get it to give up its spot. I then replanted it, knowing that it was the wrong time of year to move it altogether. The rose felt that brutality for a while. Its leaves wilted, some fell off. It looked a poor specimen. I watered it and fed it and asked it to do its thing and now it has started to come back, bearing one deep fuchsia pink, tight-lipped rosebud. I do not deserve it, but nature does that for itself and is far more potent than me with my destructive spade and garden rearranging, thankfully.
I have also bought a ‘Sunset Boulevard’ rose as a gift recently, which I have not yet had the opportunity to give. I must confess that I became intrigued to know what colour it would bloom before I gave it because I had bought it in mind of a particular orangey ginger dog and, as I discovered with half-dead patio rose, you never know exactly what you’ve got with a rose until it flowers. As it just came out this week, I realised that, yes, it will do. It’s a rather Flaming June sort of nasturtium orange, the catalogues show a duskier, softer tone, but I think it is ok. It makes me think, when I think about trying to describe roses in words, that they defy colour description. Really, they do. The closest I can come is to emergency draft in another species of flower using comparison as description. Poor, really. Surely the rose deserves better. Look across a range of pink, or red roses and try and describe each variety in words. Impossible?
At the time of buying the Sunset Boulevard, I also bought a climbing rose, an off-white with a yellow centre. It too has flowered this week. At first, I was disappointed with the small, flat flowers, but I have realised that the scent is so beautiful that I must forgive it its conservative display. And that really is all I have to say about my roses; except that last night I was in someone else’s kitchen with the back door open. The evening sun was shining through, there was a slight breeze. The black and white cat of the house, who has the most magnificent ostrich feather for a tail, was playing underneath a large rose bush about four feet high, covered in fat, shocking pink, fleshy blooms; the kind that Georgia O’Keefe might have painted. I was watching the cat when I saw a single petal fall from one large rose.
We think we know all about rose petals and how they fall, or at least I thought I did: they might float, or drift, downwards and land with silent grace somewhere in a romantically poetic sort of way. This bruiser of a petal did no such thing. It plummeted with a perceptible thud onto the concrete below. It’s probably still there: a big, fat, pink petal pulsating with the universal energy that makes us all that we are.