Sunday, January 04, 2009

immigrant, food, idea

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Mahonia is one of those flowering plants originating in mountainous regions of Eastern Asia (there are other varieties found in southern and central America) which survive English winters. They are commonly found in gardens round here. As with so many plants, I find that I only begin to look at it closely when I know its name, and focus on its flowers, here sprinkled with frost.

We meet some neighbours in the Compasses by arrangement. From the start, and the fault is in part mine, we talk only about food. After a while I say: "We are talking only about food. We are clearly enjoying ourselves too much." There is a murmur. To break the spell I ask: "Let us consider the influence of 19th Century German, metaphysical philosophers on late 20th Century sport in Great Britain. Any ideas?". Every one looks at me with astonishment. As the French say, an angel passes. "Er..." says George. And I don't blame him. If the earth opens up, I will jump in.

I wake up with an idea in my head. I open my eyes and I decide that it is early enough to get up and write it down. As the light picks up, the idea ceases to glow as it had done earlier. But we'll give it a try. There is a scrawl in my notebook, which I can barely read. What the hell does does it mean?


Anonymous said...

I recognize the name mahonia but not the picture. It seems that our native in the Pacific Northwest is a relative called Oregon Grape, with holly like leaves, blue berry clusters and much less significant flowers in the spring.

Your early morning scrawls remind me of similar strange scribbles in a sketchbook. I've given up on that for sleep is hard enough without such distractions and stimulation :-)

tristan said...

as for philosophy and football .... evidently a little bit of monty python has lain dormant in the darkest recesses of the joe-brain for many years

Unknown said...

M-J "Wild Flowers of the World" by Brian D Morley tells me that there are about 70 species in the genus. They are found from the Himalayas, through China, and North and Central America. They do have holly-like leaves, but the arrangement of infloresces seems to vary from species to species. The genus is named after Bernard McMahon (1775 -1816), an American horticulturist, born in Ireland.

Tristan: I can't help myself sometimes.

Roderick Robinson said...

I assume a causal relationship between paras two and three. That you were finally able to decipher the scribbled note and it provided the basis for your amazing show-stopping remark. I have just discovered that Plutarch wrote Table Talk. Would you say that this post is representative?

Unknown said...

Plutarch, the original one, wrote piece which raised the question "should we talk philosophy at a dinner party? He concludes ... "if the greater part of the guests are learned men... we will permit them to reason and philosophise as we let Dionysius frolic with the muses and the Nymphs, since the latter make wine wholesome and pleasant to the body, and the former cheering and delightful to the spirit. And if there should be uneducated persons present, surrounded by a crowd of scholars, like consonant by vowels, they will take part with voice and understanding not altogether helpless."