Monday, 26 April 2010


Look, I'm sorry, OK? It's been a really difficult time, right, and I know you're supposed to post blogs every couple of days and people like the saintly VP are absolutely spiffingly brilliantly conscientious about their input - gorgeous thrush, by the way - and if you don't be good and diligent and post lovely things every few seconds, your fans (fans??? Hah!!!!!) leave you in droves and then you're all alone and pining in the blogosphere and the world goes black and we all end up disintegrating under a hung parliament.

Hanged, more like! Eh? What??

So rather than completely diffuse my persona into the great aether beyond, like a fart in thunderstorm, as my father was wont to say, here's a piccy and a couple of extremely important and non trivial observations.

But first the sad announcement that I can't come to Malvern, so won't be able to hook up with all you blogging lovelies this year. It's the immobilising problem with the hip. I do hope you all have a great show, and so sorry to miss it. Next year, let's hope.

One of the PG's porno shots. Rana temporaria sticking together.

Observation Number One. Well, I knew the election campaigns would be boring but who could possibly have thought that anything so earth-shatteringly important could end up blander than a pot of Cow and Gate Baby Food? I'm not even sure whether I'll have enough vim to drag my decrepit bod up to our polling station, even though it is also our local pub and one could enjoy a pint while deciding on the best and most effective way of spoiling one's ballot paper and giving the counters a bit of a larf at the same time. Our Tory candidate is but a child and I haven't seen hide nor hair of any of the others. I wish we had a Tarquin Biscuitbarrel here, but alas, we haven't.

Obs No 2. Peat-free compost is truly crap. I've tried about seven different brands and they're all rubbish. I'm not suggesting we should dash off to wreck a few more peat bogs - that would be awful - but for goodness sake, please DON'T tell me that peat frees work just as well. They don't, and when even tulips can languish because the stuff dries out after a twenty minute sunny spell, you know that they are simply not up to scratch - or, as Civil Servants love to say - when not recommending Vatican Condoms or suggesting that the Pope might want to bless a gay marriage, while he's here - they are not 'fit for purpose.'

Obs 3. The butterflies have been fabulous this spring. Orange tips, both male and female (the girls don't pimp the orange) Brimstones, (their girls are greenish white, not yellow) and the first Holly Blues (don't ask) were on the wing in our garden over the past fortnight. The cowslips in the mini-meadow are attracting scads of bees and the trilliums have made a remarkable come-back.

Obs 4. Cuckoo flower. I've never seen so much, or in such glory. Cardamine pratensis seems to vary in colour from a gorgeous, gentle, springtime lilac mauve, as in our area, to a creamier almost grey-mauve on the roadsides in Kent, including the M2. When I walked in woods near Cardiff this time last year, I discovered that the Welsh lady's smocks were so pale as to be almost white. Why has it done so well this year? A batch of it has popped up next to a vivid orange geum in my secret garden - what a combination! Tasteful or what??

Obs 5. I'm a bit worried about the Photographer General who seems to have devoted her recent activities to shooting pornographic pictures of copulating creatures. Well, frogs, actually, since you ask. Hence the rather raunchy piccy at the top of this post. They're a bit late, since most frog people's tadpoles are already at the toddler stage, ie, developing a pair of legs and falling over a lot, but I found these images on a flash card which she'd left to be processed. And she told me - get this - that the card contained nothing but 'pictures of the amazing crop of dandelions in your grass.' Hmmm. Interesting. I suppose I shouldn't admit to having dandelions on our premises, but they are lovely. Perhaps I'll post a piccy of some soon, when I've finished wading through the naughty pics.

But for now, I must go. The hip's still a wreck - MRI scan in early May. I've just had the whole of next winter's firewood delivered and the pile of logs is now obstructing everying around here. I must a daily quota to the growing stack in our garage to prevent family strife.

I'm listening to Billy Holiday singing You've Changed.

This day last year, a Sunday, our garden was open to the public for the village charities. One of the visitors was Rab C Nesbitt, aka talented and charming Gregor Fisher. He seemed quite impressed.

The film last night was Huston's 1950 classic The Asphalt Jungle. The busty, relatively unknown Marilyn Monroe had a small part in this great story but you could already bask in her screen presence. But Sterling Hayden? There was no one quite so good at seething and sulking as he, playing the small time crook in this upmarket Film Noir. He looked as miserable and edgy as a fen farmer who's just discovered that someone's just nicked a potato from his 1,000 tonne, grant-aided storage barn.

More, better posts soon, I promise. Meanwhile, vote Lib, think Lab or be Conned - the choice is yours. Or is it? What if the party that gets the smallest number of total votes ends up in power? That could happen. And they say our system doesn't need reforming!!!! Byee!


  1. Completely agree with you about peat-free compost. And I'm so sorry we won't see you at Malvern. I hope the hip is better soon.

  2. What?! You have a pub as a polling place? We vote at the nearby high school, where about the most exciting thing to happen is when the kids drive up on the lawn. Drowning my post-voting bad attitude in some fish and chips sounds much more fun than dodging the crazy teenaged drivers in the school parking lot.

    Christine in Alaska

  3. Sorry we won't get to meet you this time. Do hope the hip eases up soon. Love the 'fart in a thunderstorm' - must attempt to drop that into polite conversation sometime :-)

  4. Sorry you arent coming to Malvern, was looking forward to your whitty conversation.
    As for peatfree compost, I use it quite alot and generally its fine as long as you dont let it dry out but then the answer if to give it a real soak in a bucket. I use Horizons

  5. We've had Yellow Brimstones, loads of Peacocks and I'm sure I saw a Comma last week

  6. Smashing frog porn.
    I'm another Malvern Missing-I intend to toast them from afar and hope to meet up with all in the future. Take care of the ailing joint.

  7. Peat free is crap, but that nice Mr Mandelson says we have to save the planet, so you'll have to get used to it(by 2020, I think he said)!
    Interestingly, and in an impressively Yes Minister-ish daft compromise, the government want all retail compost to be peat free by 2020, but will "allow" commercial composts to continue peat based - so we'll probably see a black market develop, with keen gardeners sidling up to nurserymen whispering "how much for a bag of compost mate?".

  8. Farts in thunderstorms, copulating frogs and Vatican condoms.

    You have been missed!

  9. The frog photo is gorgeous. I'm sure they are just having a hug.

    Could you please come down and vote on my behalf? I'm sure your judgement of my available candidates would be better than mine.

    Yes, I used to live in Kent and the lady's smocks in the ditches around my fields were a very pretty pale pinky-mauve colour, but there were variations, I had thought to do with age. They got paler as the flower aged. I do miss them, it's sandy acidic heathland here.

  10. I was worrying your silence meant continued hip trouble. Fingers crossed all the prodding and poking finds the root cause soon. It must be a most frustrating time :(

    It's sad you won't be at Malvern, well raise a toast to you whilst we're there.

    I thought we were doing well voting at the back of our local supermarket amongst all the sales target graphs. But a pub? That's inspired and should surely be made a national policy straight away! Bound to get more people interested in politics isn't it?

  11. I do a frog and toad survey every spring for the city of Ann Arbor, but by sound, at night, so it's always nice to see froggies in the daytime. We don't have that Rana here, but no matter. Frogs is frogs. Also, if you make your own compost, I don't think you'll be missing peat. (Unless I'm missing something, which is altogether possible.)

  12. Forgot to mention, I'm another one of those bloggers who feels bad (but wishes she didn't) for not posting more frequently. But, dagnabbit, it's not a paid job or anything!

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  14. Oops - I deleted my post. The gist was

    How could you think we might be so feckless as to "leave you in droves"?

    I have been waiting and wondering where your marvellous rants had got to. I'm sorry about your hip though and hope you get it fixed soon.

    I too thought the frogs were having a loving cuddle - it is a great photo in terms of colour, pattern and texture alone, it doesn't need the porno aspect.

  15. You will be greatly missed at Malvern: could we not persuade you to appear on one of those disability tricycles? You would be very good at running over the unwary and inattentive.
    If Mary Whitehouse were still with us she would be quivering at the froggy porn. On that subject who is the new Mary Whitehouse? nobody seems to be a high profile anti-porn activist nowadays.
    The moral majority seems to have vanished: maybe they all got lucky. It's a pity as a few more people in tweed skirts and heavy framed spectacles brandishing placards would liven the election up no end.
    Either them or that fellow who was always at elections standing for the Road Safety Party.
    Was he called Boake?
    Hope the annoying hip gets sorted very soon.

  16. The Petersfield stuff I use is brilliant, (and they've used it at Claire Austin's for 15 years) but other than that it's all rubbish, particularly the much vaunted New Horizon stuff that finished off my re-potted penstemon cuttings in about 48 hrs.