Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Hollyhock Report: when I watered the hollyhock this morning, steam rose from the earth. I held my nerve. The water was no warmer than breath but the ground is cold.

One of the tatty leaves on its outer edge died overnight but a new, freshly green one, has grown in the middle.

My next door neighbour, Lucy, asked Ming what he would do for his birthday.

He didn't know what she was talking about.

Later, I told her this.

Many years ago, two missionaries from the Western Isles were passing through Algeria on their way to Chad. When they grew thirsty (this was in 1855) they asked Ming's grandparents (who happened to be there at the time) for a glass of water. Within the hour, they (the missionaries) had converted the whole village to Calvinism. Parties were banned and people learnt Gaelic instead. So he's never had a birthday. Nor does he celebrate Christmas.

Lucy was unconvinced - but it'll do for now.

This morning, I planted four Nasturtium seeds in clay pots. They are germinating in the airing cupboard.

Come summer, they will remind Ming of his home planet; orange flowers for Mars, green leaves for the people who live there.

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1 comment:

Brenda Hyde said...

I already loved nasturtiums but now I shall never think of them the same, at least the orange ones. Maybe I should name one of my plants Ming. It would be fitting I think.