BTW - the title refers to the dragon in the Mediaeval Tapestry of the Apocalypse, at Angers.
The garden at L'Hôpital Saint Jean, Angers - in Anjou - built by Henry the Second as penance for having Thomas Becket bumped off. It now accommodates a museum featuring the work of tapestry artist Jean Lurcat. See about him here.
The garden was dry and dead. Now it's wet and dead. I walk like The Curse of the Mummy and will need surgery on spine and hip. Harrruummmph!!!! My days are made tolerable by iPod, iPhone, iPad and iBuprofen - ha! ha! The latter I take in gargantuan doses, but I'm more seriously addicted to the iPad which I absolutely love apart from one or two MADDENING things . . . but there'll be some serious colborning on that one, soon.
The hyped up ibuprofen pills are a shockingly bright pink, presumably designed as lures for small children and have to be taken with food - pills, that is, not children. I find whisky a good accompaniment, especially if there's also some dark chocolate.
Our most riveting garden event since 9th July was the flowering of my tuberose Polianthes tuberosa. The fragrance is complex and erotic and for some days, Wendy has been smelling like a scene from the Tales of a Thousand and One Arabian Nights. She's also burgeoning with tomatoes and cucumbers, both kinds - 'lunch box' and 'impressively endowed.'
The best tomatoes are 'Sungold.' The new variety 'Cherry Falls' has as much flavour as a tissue moistened with distilled water. It's high-yielding, but what good is that if the flavour is so feeble? I shan't grow it again.
The old variety 'Tigerella' tastes almost as bland as 'Cherry Falls' but it looks prettier when ripening. The big, Marmande tomatoes I bought in Carrefour, in Calais, last week, tasted better than all of mine mine, apart from 'Sungold' which, as I've already said, is the best.
I promised a little more about Angers and Terra Botanica. I think it's best told in pictures so I'll keep the wordage brief.
The interior of the Saint John (Jean) hospital, now serving as a museum whose main treasure is a modern Apocalyptic Tapestry by Jean Lurcat. It was inspired by the Cold War. Lurcat served in trenches, in the First War and was a member of the Resistance during the German Occupation in World War 2.
The city is totally charming, with masses of ancient buildings - cathedral, one of France's largest Mediaeval castles, the Cathedral of Saint Maurice, abbey, churches and much more besides. Narrow cobbled streets in the old part of town are almost traffic-free and the view from the river bank, looking back to the oldest part of the Angers is delightful.
Outside the Musée de Beaux Arts. Sorry, I didn't record the name of the artist - rubbish journalism!
My assignment was to write a travel piece about Angers and particularly to report on Terra Botanica, a new theme park occupying a 17 hectare site on the city's outskirts. What a dream of a job!
Terra Botanica - the restaurant, looking through the animated fountains. The food was designed by local Chef Pascal Favre d'Anne (see him here) and and includes top notch hamburgers - yes, hamburgers BUT eco-friendly and made exclusively from local farms. He calls them 'Hambur 'verts'
The 17 hectares are divided into four big theme gardens covering plant hunters, crops and economic crops, botany and horticultural science and local Maine-et-Loire horticulture crop farming and viticulture. There are lots of gardens, film shows, animated shows and boat rides. You can learn more here.
Stylised washing as an art form in Terra Botanica
A quiet place - unusual in this frenetic theme park.
Grass gardening at Terra Botanica
I'm Listening to, would you believe, the Yin Tong Song from the Goon Show. Ying tong diddle I poh!
This time last year I could walk five miles without aching. Now I do well if I can cover five hundred yards.
The film - well, Telly Programme was Sherlock, the new BBC 1 drama. It was OK, up to a point but irritating at many levels. Great story, intelligent transmogrification from Victorian Baker Street. BUT - the filming drove me nuts and a taxi chase, with the anaemic looking Holmes and Watson on foot was daft. But thank heavens for a Dr Watson who isn't a knucklehead - now that's far closer to the real Conan Doyle. Plus, they're sort of metrosexual, type thingies. Tom Sutcliffe gave it an orgasmic review in The Independent. I wonder if he's a good friend of Mark Gatiss????