Tuesday, May 04, 2010

reflection, itch, turf

Reflections of the sun in the lake at Groombridge surrounded by branches and the texture of clouds.

Last night, afflicted by an itch in the middle of my back, I take my mind off the problem by trying to remember and spell the French for "itch", with which I have always had difficulty - d√©mangeason. It half comes to me, as I drop off to sleep. In the morning Le Petit Robert confirms my recollection and provides a nice instance of its use by Zola: Cette d√©mangeason de parler qui vide parfois le coeur des gens solitaires, "that irrepressible urge to talk, which sometimes empties the hearts of people who live alone". An observation, which almost makes the original irrepressible urge to scratch worth while.

The curved strip of garden, which bends round our house, following the right-angle bend of the road, consists of a strip of grass, a flower bed and an 8ft hedge which separates us from the pavement. The grass which is too small to be called a lawn and too wide to be called a path, shows signs of wear and tear at this time of year. Worst are the patches under some shrubs where the bed bends round the corner. Some grass seed, which I found at home, left over from a previous year, has failed to germinate. Should I buy some more? Then at Homebase, I spot a roll of turf, a couple of meters long by half a meter wide. It works perfectly to patch the worn grass. What pleases me as much as the instance piece of lawn is the cost. The turf was £3.99. A packet of grass seed on the other hand would have cost £6.00.
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HKatz said...

Lovely photo; I like how at a first glance I wasn't sure whether I was looking at water or sky.

And that observation by Zola is quite true.

Barrett Bonden said...

I have to confess I didn't know the French for "itch" and I'm surprised to find it has the extra meanings of "need" and "desire". Given you haven't a car how did you get the turf home or wasn't it as cumbersome as I imagine?

Plutarch said...

HKatz: That ambiguity in reflectioned image is often oddly satisfying, but it can be disturbing.

BB The "need" and "desire" was in my translation. When I have come across the word in French it has often indicated a pressing need to take some sort of action, as indeed it does in the quotation given by Robert. We might say: "I'm itching to go for a curry." But as far as I can tell the word has the same meaning indicating physical discomfort as in English.