Wednesday, 9 November 2011


A supremely happy November to you all.
And deep apologies for being so tardy in producing a new post.  The delay is inexcusable and I'm thinking of sacking this blog's editor for indolence, sloth, lethargy, procrastination, work-dodging, goofing off, slacking and general idleness.

Now the film quiz.
Who said, in which film? :  
You're a good-looking boy: you've big, broad shoulders. But he's a man. And it takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man.
You must promise not to cheat, by Googling the quote. 

Bourne Woods on 5th November.  This year's colours have been slow to develop but are lasting wonderfully.

I do have a micro-excuse in that we've a new baby in the family.  It's neither girl nor boy but a MacBook Air.  I've pampered and spoilt it hideously already and have also begun, after teething troubles, to grow accustomed to the latest Macintosh operating system which is known as 'Lion'.

Now it's clear that the good marketing folk at Apple are none to familiar with zoology, and don't really get it about cats and their relative status.

A lion, I'd say, is probably the least desirable of the big cats, especially a male one – despite the majestic mane and swishy tail.  King of the Jungle he ain't!  The males are bone idle and spend most of their time sleeping, copulating or trying to kill other male's offspring so they can give their own genes preference.

Apple's last OS was called 'Snow Leopard' - quite the rarest and most attractive of the cats, being lithe, lissome and graceful in every way and able to survive in the most hostile mountain environment.  When they launched Snow Leopard I said - as in that annoying song from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma - 'They've gone about as far as they can go.'

The Fly Agarics have popped up at last.  The ones I found seemed a little short of the familiar white spots, though.  They were growing under birches, as usual, and always pop up in the same place each year, from huge mycelia.

The fungi have begun at last - hurrah!  After months of drought, recent rains have not been nearly enough to re-constitute our desiccated land.  But they have dampened things enough to kick the  fungi into action.  Several times, we walked in the extensive and biodiverse Bourne Woods, hoping to find interesting toadstools, including fly agaric Amanita muscaria, but have been disappointed until this week end.

Since last writing, we've had visitations, on the our Fen, of a Merlin, a Peregrine and two Short Eared Owls.  Each one a joy and privilege to watch and to admire.  Wonderful birds.

And ...  I've been angered by a couple of minor things recently. . .

1. The Health Police have been issuing edicts about booze again.  As I'm over 60, I've been told that I shouldn't drink more alcohol than comes in HALF A GLASS OF WINE at any one time.  Any more increases the risk of my falling down.  Well, I wonder how many of the puritans who pontificate on such things have been down in our local town of a week-end evening.  Because I think I can safely say, based on the most casual of observations, that the vast majority of people falling down after about 10.30pm, are definitely under 60.  In fact, I'd say they were all well under 30.  And pardon me, if this seems sexist, but I'd say that a majority of the fallers down were female.  And those females not falling down are usually suffering from hypothermia, since they seem to be dressed for a Caribbean beach, rather than a draughty Lincolnshire town.

2.  The honey industry - though it hardly seems right to call such a delightful and beneficial activity an 'industry' - is about to be further handicapped by the EUrocrats.  They are hysterical about the risk that a genetically modified cell, even one that is dead as mutton, might sully the purity of Europe's honey. So they're going to insist that honey is analysed for the presence of GM, before it can be considered fit to sell.

The government officials - if they've got time before they retire in early middle age on pensions that we self-employed folk can only dream about - might be better employed spending the money on desperately needed research into bee health.

Beleaguered by mystery disorders which have nothing to do with GM; threatened worldwide by habitat loss, misuse of agrochemicals and attacked by widespread parasites, pollinating insects are having a very bad time indeed.  And if we don't soon find out how to stop the decline in their populations, we might well all starve.

The army of Brussels sprouts is advancing for Christmas. These grow within a short bike ride of our house.

People often ask me why I don't grow more vegetables at home.  Well, one answer is in the picture above.  When I can buy superbly fresh, top quality produce so cheaply, why would I want to waste valuable plant space by growing it at home?

And finally - may I please remind you that the disgusting growth on my face, as shown below, is causing me deep discomfort and not a little pain.  So if you want to make my agony and embarrassment all worthwhile, kindly bung a fiver or more to The Bristling Gardeners over at Movember.  The money goes towards research into prostate and testicular cancer - two areas of mens' health which are shamefully under funded.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I'm hoping to grow a Ned Flanders but think it could take a year or more.
I'm listening to  Number 1 of 14 Bagatelles by Béla Bartok - it sounds a bit like a piano being tuned. No really, it does.  Ah, that's better  - a sort of mad scherzo-ish bit.  It's making my feet twitch.

This day in 2005 I was packing for a trip to London, to celebrate 33 years of marriage and was writing a biggish book for Harper Collins.  I also recorded birds on a tetrad, for the BTO and purchased lamb chops for dinner.  We watched the BBC drama series Rome and according to my diary, I was pretty unimpressed.

This week's film was a French 'Comic Strip' style derring-do thingy called Wasabi which stars Jean Reno, was written by Luc Besson and directed by a geezer called Gérard Krawczyk.  It's spectacular nonsense, but slickly done and wonderfully funny as well as exciting.  I loved it, but any analysis or thought-out critique would be a complete waste of time.

EXCEPT that being French, there had to be A POINTLESS VOICE-OVER NARRATION at the beginning.  What is it about the French, that they have to do that.  I HATE it and they should STOP DOING IT.  AT ONCE.  (Remember Last Year in Marienbad? I've still know idea what that film was all about.  But I digress, as per. . . .)

That's all!  Byezeebye!


  1. Bourne Woods sounds a good place for a walk.
    I wish I'd had time to watch all these films (not that I'd remember the names anyway!!)

    Picked the first sprouts on the allotment two days ago. Lovely. Not many fields of them near here!

  2. I think if you inspect the trouser-seats of the local elves and pixies you'll find out where your fly agaric spots have gone.

  3. Congratulations on the new arrival. Mac's are just lovely. (Half) Drinks all round! Soon excitement will be up on us too, as I need to get a new Mac as my poor one is spluttering from lack of space and overuse. Will be sad to let my old one go... Didn't know about the new Eurocrap threat to yet another food stuff, this time our honey. Insane. Other European countries fight back, so should we. Come on honey industry and consumers!
    Crickey those taches are EVERYWHERE! I think I will buy some shares in Gillette. I foresee a boost imminently...!

  4. I know this film quote, but I'm deliberately not entering the competition! Don't want to get a reputation for being a smart-ass. I'll just content myself with stating that the lines are said by a character called Helen.

  5. Engtertaining and informative as always. Wine solution, get bigger wine glasses and half fill them! I think we have some that take half a bottle, somewhere!

  6. No good at film quotes but much enjoy your blogging so please dont stop :)

  7. If you want the zenith/nadir of French film voice-overs, watch the sci-fi classic Alphaville (1965, Godard). Alpha 60 talks all the way through in his wheezy breathless way (he was actually played by a cancer sufferer who had a voice box instead of a larynx). Of course, it is brilliant.

  8. Your tache reminds me of David Jasons character Jack Frost, have you a trilby?

  9. I think it is High Noon and its is Helen speaking to Harvey about Kane.

    Only got with help from Victoria and your clue and a little help from internet but not google

  10. Your film quizzes are extraordinarily annoying, Mr Colborn.
    Almost every time I have exclaimed "Of course, Yes, it is that bit in, you know...the bit where thingummy turns to whassername. The one with the old guy who does that thing with the....oh, come on. You know....that one..."
    And then when Victoria guesses correctly I say "Of course, how could I have been so dim..."

    Your moustache is admirably horrid, congratulations.

    This is probably the wrong place for my mushroom joke. Which is a pity as he is such a fun guy to be with..

  11. Thank you all for the comments. The film quiz will continue, and that's official - partly because It annoys JamesA-S so satisfactorily.

    Helen, you were spot-on and it is, indeed, said by Helen Ramirez, played by the glorious Katy Jurado. What she meant was: 'It is a truth, though not universally acknowledged, that physical manly attributes alone maketh not a man.' I appreciate your having acknowledged assistance from Victoria who is to film what Einstein was to light-bending.

    And yes, I have two trilby hats, though my younger son hijacked one and after doing about a hundred Delta Blues gigs in it, I'm not at all sure I ever want it back. I also possess a Panama, a stiff cotton Noel Cowardy type thing I bought in Martinique, a Spanish Ladykiller from Puerto Rico - black and resembling the sherry advertisement of bygone years - and an indestructible Tilly Hat which has been to every continent except Antarctica. It has not, however, been through an elephant - a fate which did happen to someone's Tilly which, after a machine was, was perfectly wearable, apparently. (I seldom wear my hats in public, for fear of putting JamesA-S into eclipse.

    Graham, I've tried to Like the films of Jean Luc-Godard, tried to understand them and tried not to feel angry, cheated, bored and finally suicidal when attempting to watch them. But despite the most conscientious efforts, I cannot help but hate them. I think the Nouveau Vague (apart from Truffaut) is about as impressive as the ripple that breaks on the edge of a puddle when you stamp on it. And I thought Alpha 60 was awful but A Bout de Souffle was the one I'd single out as the world's most badly overrated work ever.

    Petra - Macs for Ever!!! My iBook Air is unbelievable. OS Lion, OK, but parts of it are REALLY REALLY IRRITATING.

    Thanks again to all. This comment is getting longer than the blog, so I'm stopping now!

  12. That Tilly ramble has a stupid typo. It should read 'after a machine wash, was perfectly wearable.'

  13. Believe it or not, I first saw High Noon in the cinema (though not when it first came out, I hasten to add. I'm not THAT old).
    But I think the love, and knowledge, of movies might be a generation thing. When I was a kid, you had to go to the cinema to see anything made within the past 20 years - the only films on television seemed to be war films ("Steady as she goes, Number One!")
    There was no DVD, no video - so you went to the movies rather a lot, and you watched old black and white movies on telly rather a lot.
    In the cinema, you could sit and watch the whole programme round again if you wanted, so it was quite common, if you liked a film, to see it twice in one afternoon. Especially if it was cold outside.

  14. Ah, cold afternoons spent watching films twice. I remember it well.
    I particularly remember watching a, not brilliant, film called Caravan to Vaccares purely to see a fleeting glimpse of Charlotte Rampling, sans culottes.
    It was 1974 and I was very young.

  15. Poor James - you were obviously too young to get in to see 'Emmanuelle', which came out in 1974 and ran at the Edinburgh Odeon for more than a year, I seem to recall.

  16. Victoria, I saw it at the Prince Charles in Leicester Square. I somehow managed to blag my way in to a matinee.

    I also tried a strip club in Soho around the same time but was given the heave-ho. The bouncer's words (and I remember them perfectly to this day) were "If you're 18 then my prick's a Bloater!"

    (A bloater, for those readers who are unfamiliar with the word, is a smoked herring. It differs from a kipper in that it is smoked with its innards intact.)