Friday, April 11, 2008

DEFENSIVE GARDENING AND THE UNRELIABILITY OF WASHING MACHINES

INVENTORY OF PLANTS GROWING OUTSIDE MY LIVING ROOM WINDOW.

CONDITIONS
Sheltered.
East facing.
Very poor soil.
Very, very dry.

(I'll divide the plants into categories.)

Today:-
PLANTS FOR SELF DEFENCE

1. Nettles

2. Teasles.

(Not a long list - but an important one!)

Nettles and teasles prevent Robert, Caddis and Ceres from leaning in through my open window to ask why:-

a.) I've left books on the living-room floor
b.) I haven't done the hoovering
c.) I don't have a television.

PLANS FOR LATER THIS YEAR:-

1. Plant lemon balm in among the nettles.

2. Replace teasles with Globe Artichokes.

(Aren't lists satisfying!)
.

* * * * *

Ming and Didcott looked very smart yesterday in their navy blue uniforms.

Grey trousers.
Blazers with gold embroidered emblems on their breast pockets.
White shirts.
Navy ties with thin gold stripes slanting down at 45 degrees.
Black shoes.

Letter from headmaster.

Please would I provide my children with the correct uniform?

What?

I looked at the emblem.

Ming looked sheepish.

'HEREFORD COUNTY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS'
(!)
(?)
"Ming!" I said. "We must go to a proper school outfitters! You can't expect Martian washing machines to know the difference between Dorset and Herefordshire!"

* * * * *
(I think I'm using too many exclamation marks.)
_____


15 comments:

Ron Eklof said...

You are so funny. I smile when I see you have a new post.
Ron

Frances, said...

Me too.

Esther Montgomery said...

Thanks to you both.

So pleased!

Esther

Zoë said...

Barking! I so did giggle!

Shame to lose the Teasles, the bird usually love them, tell them to shove up a bit although I can understand why you would prefer the fabulous blue heads/ or yellow daisies on artichokes(depending on the variety)

Don't you just hate pendantic Headmasters? Tsk!

garden girl said...

Me three!!!!!!!!!!!! (I hope I didn't get carried away with the exclamation points.)

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

A mix of the Martian and England. Interesting for an Anglophile like me. I have a question. We hear you drink tea, but in many of the later books, the characters are drinking coffee. Is is more coffee or more tea?~~Dee

Esther Montgomery said...

Zoe - it's so frustrating.

Until you mentioned it, I didn't know yellow flowers on globe artichokes were possible.

If I had, I would have chosen them - because they would suit the situation better than blue.

But - I've lost the packet. (I bet they will be ordinary blue though!)

And worse (I admit this shame-facedly) on Monday,I bought a strip of seedlings from a garden centre (because I'd lost the seed packet and wanted some more plants than I had germinated.

But the label that came with them didn't give the variety.

So, having read your comment, I phoned the garden centre and asked.

They don't know!

(Bet they are blue too!)

Don't worry about the birds. There are masses of teasles growing wild here. (That's how I got the seeds for mine in the first place!)

Esther

Zoë said...

Jersusalem artichokes have yellow daisy flowers, I wasn't sure which you were planting

Esther Montgomery said...

Zoe - What an idiot I am!

(Ming is growing Jerusalem Artichokes on his allotment; I am growing Globe Artichokes for use outside the house.)

But the fun thing is - that when I thought you meant there is a variety of Globe Artichoke with yellow flowers - and phoned the Garden Centre to ask which kind they are selling - they waffled - and said they think perhaps there are some new ones, recently developed - but they haven't got them in yet - so the ones they are selling are 'probably' the 'usual' ones with blue flowers!

I seem to have 'April Fooled' them unintentionally on the wrong day.

I have a feeling that, if I were to phone them back, and hold my ground with confidence, and insist there are globe artichokes with yellow flowers and that I want some - they'd probably start phoning round their suppliers to see if they could get some!

Esther

Zoë said...

Fabulous!! that has me laughing all over again. You are such a tonic! :-)

Esther Montgomery said...

Dee -

I'm not sure if you are asking about my immediate family, or England, or books.

Books and coffee - There are particular images associated with coffee. One is connected with the young, dynamic type who has been influenced by coffee drinkng habits in Europe and the U.S.A.; may need caffeine for 'energy'. These kind of people may also have a role in recent books.

There are real people like this too. They go to trendy 'coffee shops' and sometimes buy expensive 'coffee making machines' as a kind of 'statement'.

England in general - probably more tea still drunk than coffee - but teabags are more popular than 'loose tea'. Lots of instant coffee still used. Ground coffee is much more expensive than 'instant' - so I think there's an inadvertant class bias.

Still England - chains of shops selling coffee with fancy names are spreading across the country.

My family - We still drink much more tea than coffee - and prefer leaf tea to teabags - though coffee is creeping up on us.

I started making 'real' coffee when I was very poor. This may sound back to front - but the reasoning was this:- I would keep a tin available, then, if I ever felt miserable because life was getting me down because - er - I was poor and didn't have enough money - I would make a pot of coffee, let the aroma spread through the house, breathe it in - and pretend to be the kind of person who could have 'real' coffee whenever she wanted. (A quarter of a pound could be spread over a quarter of a year if used sparingly in this way.)

There was a disandvantage; the habit has grown.

For a while, that didn't matter. (I got less poor!) But now we have Didcott and Worthing to think about - we'll have to cut back on things - and that will have to include coffee.

Already (for the first time in two years) we have a jar of 'instant' on the shelf.

I suspect Ming will be pleased about this. He did a kind of 'immersion course' in 'Englishness' before he left Mars - and he's been trying hard to 'fit it' ever since he arrived here.

For the most part, I think this has worked. People are reassured when they see him drinking tea. It makes them forget to notice he's green(ish).

But even in this, he has to be careful because one of his favourite teas is 'Earl Grey' - and this is expensive, flavoured with bergamot and associated with 'genteel' living. Not everyone likes it. Not everyone has it in their caddy. So to drink this can be counter-productive. People might 'notice'.

Oh! And coffee is traditionally drunk at eleven o'clock in the morning and after 'dinner' (if dinner is takn to mean a three course meal eaten in the evening).

Another 'Oh!' - I think I should nail my colours to the mast and say I think the coffee sold in chain shops is generally over-priced rubbish.

Esther

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Crafty Gardener said...

Lemon balm can be invasive too, but at least it smells nice. Your humour brightens my day.

Esther Montgomery said...

Lemon Balm can do quite a lot of invading before I get cross!

It looks very much like nettles.

I like that.

Esther

Barbee' said...

Regarding blue or yellow - Esther, you are just too cute! What a hoot! Those poor nursery employees.