Nearly everything in the vegetable garden. including lettuces, has been slow to fill out and mature this summer. Today, in the Financial Times Magazine I find an explanation. Apparently, according to a research centre in Flanders, a pair of enzymes called kinases act when conditions deteriorate, to turn on a network of genes to create a kind of "unforced hibernation conserving energy at the expense of growth." Unhelpful, but otherwise reassuring..
In the park called Calverley Grounds, there is a disused bowling green. It has been kept mowed, but is otherwise uncared for. Today, it is deserted but for a Tesco plastic bag resting in the middle. As I draw level, the bag swells with the wind and rolls from side to side. It seems to be alive, the handles stand out like ears. It stirs and rolls like someone waking up. Suddenly, it fills with wind and flies up in the air like a kite. It rises and rises like a kite, as though an invisible person is tugging, against the wind, at an invisible string attached to it. Then, as kites do, it sinks to the ground, admitting defeat. There is still a little wind and the bag gapes open as though breathless after its exercise. A little more wind, and it tumble slowly over and over until it reaches a more sheltered part of the green, where it seems to expire. I wait and watch hoping for more action, but, for a time at least, it has played its part upon its improvised set.
Quinces I love. At this time of year we begin to run out of the quince jelly I try to make every Autumn. A reminder came in book on plants and trees introduced over the years into the British Isles. No precise source for the following is given except that it comes from a poem of the Arabic world of the 10th Century"
".. it is yellow in colour as if it wore a daffodil tunic, and it smells like musk. It has the perfume of a loved woman and the same hardness of heart."