Sunday, March 31, 2013

Notices, laziness and thingamajigs

I have always been  intrigued by notices. They seem so final, so exclusive. And yet ... An apostrophe missing after "owners"in this one in the Station yard,  and  there are questions unanswered.  I remember a notice on London Routemaster buses in the old days which I liked so much that I made a note of it. "It showed a picture of the two types of bus stop then in use. The request stop and the more reliable stop where drivers were required to stop regardless. The wording had it seemed to me the precision of a poem:  At the sign shown the right all buses stop. At the sign on the left the bus will only stop if you hail  the driver.  Do not get on or off a bus while it standing at traffic lights. Yet I fancied universal applications, buses streaming in the infinite spaces between the stars. And I love the idea of hailing drivers.

My favourite chair for reading is beneath a bay window. The light is good but it is far from the nearest radiator in this still cold weather I rely on a little fan heater to top up the central heating. The plug and switch are hard to reach. But a remote switch allows me to use it without moving from the chair, a luxury about which I feel no guilt. In fact as I can apply the heat at will I have the excuse that I am saving fuel. But it is the facility that I enjoy most.

The English language has a limited number of words, most derived from "thing", to describe objects or people, whose name escapes you. We have thingummy, thingamabob, thingamajig. We sometimes  say  just thing or even thingy.  "Whatsamacallit" strikes me as clumsy and not to pretty.  The French on the other hand have some rather neat words which are not related to chose, the French word for thing. Truc is probably the most common but they sometimes say machin which is distinct from machine, the French word for machine and fourbi which literally means kit as in army kit. My favourite, bidule has a wit and music which makes me long to use it.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Summer, occupation and bottle

Draft for the Summer which seems far off.

Some sort of Blogger editing procedure interrupted my response to novelist and wine-bibber,  RR's comment on my recent post.  He writes of nouns used to identify  people unfortunate enough to be in the news.  I  often think of the way parenthood creeps in as an identity marker, as  in "Mrs Pivot, a mother of three, who paints Easter eggs in her spare time". He refers to taxpayer which he leaves open to speculation, as in  " Dominic Snacker, a taxpayer of Little Caring, Borsetshire, who is accused of deliberately planting leylandii hedges in the fields of local farmers". I am rather enthralled by this practise (not leylandii planting but equally crude) which seems to be catching.  I only hope that I don't catch it.

A man emerges from Oddbins wine merchant with a bottle of wine, which he sticks into the pocket of his jacket. It occurs to me that wine is usually handled with more reverence.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sparrows, snowdrops and chitting potatoes

Hang out for sparrows.

The grass  in The Grove is littered with the the drooping leaves  of snowdrops. At first you think of vandals and then realise that these are snowdrops planted "in the green". In my experience the best way of planting snowdrops to ensure a good crops next year. Planting the bulbs while they still have this year's leaves attached stops the bulbs drying out. And as my friend at the Farmers' Market tells me snowdrop bulbs dry out very easily.

Good Friday. All the shops are open. I am sure this wasn't the case when I was young. The wind is ice laden and the soil is as cold. I shan't be planting my potatoes as you are traditionally supposed to on Easter Monday. I have left them to chit and scarcely a sprout shows.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Visitor, adage and builders

Same robin different angle.  He is back again today. He visits every day to see what I can do for him.

"All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws." The adage that Shakespeare refers to in Macbeth. " ... I dare not wait upon I would, like the poor cat i the adage."  announces the latest post in One Fine Day hnjh.

Paul the gardener asks me whether I mind working next door to a building site after the peace of the deserted garden I had been used. In fact it has never worried me except once when a young man's music drifted  insistently over the fence with a sullen beat as he sorted plywood boards. For the most part the digger and mechanical shovel and the merry shouts of the builders don't disturb me at all. Though it is true to say that robins (with the exception of the one above) and blackbirds have been shyer than usual this year.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Drops, tiger stripes and Russian bears.

Raindrop notation.

A new cat arrives in the vegetable garden. Not as pretty as the one that ignores me. But more friendly.  It is remarkably vocal, winding itself round my leg as it repeats miaow. It has black and orange stripes almost like  a tiger.

A book in the window catches my eye as I pass the window of Hall's bookshop. Surely not? The Realm of the Business Bear. But no, sad to say it is merely The Realm of the Russian Bear. Not my line of business really.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sour dough, meeting and hoods

 Twenty-four hour proved sour dough bread newly baked.

Someone I haven't seen for several months and whom I have difficulty in recognising tells me to read her daughter's blog. She repeats its title several times. That's all she says before walking on.

March is supposed to come in like a lion. It seems to be going out like a polar bear. In the street people have their hoods up or, like me are wearing head gear of the sort which you pull down over your ears.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Treasure, grumbling and Jane

Almost anything that I unearth when digging seems in one sense or another to be buried treasure.  I can never bring myself to discard this shovel which I have dug up before and which was lost  again comes to light this time in the compost heap. It is richly decomposed and  dead leaves and rust provide an intriguing patina. Welcome back.

A grumbling bus driver sums up all that is most endearing about our fellow countrymen. Knights Park on the edge of Tunbridge Wells, where the hideous new multi-screen cinema resides smelling of popcorn and flanked by fast food joints and a huge car park, he dismisses as a dump. "There's only one place for a cinema. That's in the centre of the town."When we eventually reach the town centre, he attacks The Council who have transferred a stop from the Town Hall to Monson Road. "The people in there," he says, pointing to the Council Building in Civic Way," move the bus stops just  so as  to hold up the traffic".

In the hospital waiting room among the names which called is Jane Austen.  A middle aged woman responds, not the Jane I think of, who died before we were blessed with the National Health Service and didn't spell her name like the motor car.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Robin metaphors and sympathy

Back again. This is the robin which this year has accompanied me while I am digging. If I stop he seems to protest or rather remind me to get on with the job of providing him with worms and bugs.

A the Farmers' Market the stallholder, a former journalist,  who offers hot spiced apple-juice and, in the Autumn chocolate-covered cob nuts (hazel nuts), likes to talk about poetry. He tells me of a poem which was read on BBC Radio 4 about the poet's dialysis . Somebody on the programme complained, he says, that the poem had no metaphors. The subject needed none, the poet said. The procedure itself sufficed as an image and a statement. Poetry with or without metaphors, is rare commodity at farmers markets.

In this icy weather a man  with curly grey hair, standing at the bus stop opposite the station makes me shiver in sympathy. He is in in shorts and his bare legs are stuck into wellington boots.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Football, scallops and rhubarb


The kinder side of football.

Fresh Rye Bay scallops at the Farmers' Market. "Just threaten them with the heat," advises the fishmonger when asked by a customer how to cook them.

My plans for rhubarb progress. I now have five heads ready to plant as soon as the weather improves. I am not sure why I am intent on so much rhubarb except that it will look wonderful in a row in the vegetable garden.

Friday, March 22, 2013

explosions, Gordian Knot and dough slasher

Small explosions. I enjoy the suggestion of texture provided by the Brushes app.

I have always liked Alexander the Greats' response to the knot in the rope bark  with which Gordian, King of Phrygia fastened the yoke of a waggon to a beam. So ingenious was the knot that it was said to be impossible to untie. Alexander was told that whoever succeeded in undoing it would reign over the whole East. He of course cut it with a sword and ruled over most of the known world.  Our own Gordian's Knot is the hedge which borders our garden.  It had, in the 25 years in which I have lived here, reached a height which requires a ladder and extending shears to trim it. Keeping it trimmed, from being a pleasurable chore, has come to be a massive and expensive labour.  Or such was the case until  today I had its height reduced by about a third. The new buds of the privet have not yet appeared and this is the optimum time to act. It seems that the hedge is still high enough to shelter us from the gaze of passing pedestrians but there is a lot more light in the garden and encouragement for our plants to grow.

Bakers are advised to  use a razor blade to slash  the crown of their loaves after the dough has proved to create a pattern on the crust. I have never bothered to find a razor blade when baking and so my loaves have been  smooth and unadorned.  But the other day a present came through the post from Paris in the shape of a tiny curved blade designed for bakers. My latest sour dough loaf looks like one of those artisan loaves you find in farmers' markets. I feel a prickle of pleasure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Growing, time and tea

Growing is what I will call  today's abstraction which drifts into and out of my head.

It is always a pleasure to talk philosophy with the gardener across the road. As  usual we spend some time this morning exploring the nature of the weather which affects us both in our outdoor work. "Today," he says, " the day will be as long as the night." I agree and think to myself this makes a change from politics and the budget. When you think about it, " he adds, "in  three months time it will be the longest day."

A invitation to tea today. It seems years and years since anyone has invited me to tea. It invokes a timetable belonging to a different world.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blond, layout and cakes.

Today's blond. Not so many photographs in the last few days on account of the rain. So I draw as best I can what happens to be in my head.

I don't know if all visitors have been as succesful as Lucy in negotiating the new layout of this blog. I was at first not sure what I had taken on, but I am getting to like it. I hope you will. Click "sidebar" top left  to see layout options. Flip is the  best  option for me. Classic probably the most generally useful.The bar on the right edge  of the window list links, archives, followers etc.

In The High Street I am approaching Julliet's patisserie. A couple of women are are striding ahead of me. They wear tweeds and speak with appropriate voices, not on  the quiet side. One stops and stares through the window. "Yummy", she says. But her companion strides on. I am left  to wonder whether I should acknowledge the cry of  enthusiasm from the cake fancier.  And how? Just in time I realise that I don't have to.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March light, blackbird and excitement

The Grove at the beginning of March.

After four days of continuous rain or drizzle the weather clears. In Calverley Ground a blackbird sings. On a bench an old man rolls a cigarette and slowly smokes it.

An old person is anyone five years older than you; a middle aged person anyone five years younger and still trying. The young are in one another's arms. I meet an old couple who are neighbours. They are crossing the road outside the convenience store. A big delivery vehicle is pulling out while other traffic waits. "It's all  so exciting isn't it," says Anne.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Smile, plague and raindrops

Smile, damn you smile. This smile I capture from a poster outside an orthodontist. I am sure that is perfectly genuine. But judging by the price list beneath it is an expensive smile. Smiles should be natural and spontaneous, should be generous and cost nothing. I always suspected service industries which instruct staff to smile at customers. A smile which is not generated by natural sympathy and pleasure can be chilling. Better a scowl that is is sincere than a false smile.
"Oh villain, villain smiling damnèd villain...
...That one may smile and smile and be a villain....
Hamlet is right.

I  begin to read an article about the arrival of Bubonic Plague, The black Death in Europe in 1348. It describes the symptoms. I quickly stop reading it.

To capture an image of the unceasing rain of the last four or five days I stop to photograph  raindrops strung from the branches of a silver birch by the roadside. And quickly put my camera away to stop it getting wet.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Snow on pub tables, just a few days ago. It melted and it has rained since almost continuously.

Wine, because most of it is imported and the pound is weak,  is becoming  increasingly   expensive. Congratulations then to Sainsbury's on its handsomely labelled House Wine range.  All the wines are less than £5.00 a bottle but what is more important, despite the fact that their  provenance is not always precise, and that they are unlikely to interest wine critics,   they are extremely well made by wine-makers who know what they are doing. The Pinot Noir from Roumania challenges more expensive competitors from Burgundy, the traditional home of the grape. The Beaujolais is excellent. and the Cabernet Sauvignon satisfyingly tannic as you would expect of  Bordeaux from where it comes rather than from the New World. Today I noticed under the same House Wine label something I haven't tried. It  is labelled simply Hock. Who talks of Hock nowadays? The term is generic and was (still is it seems) used to describe wines from the Rhine regions of Germany.  The term comes from the German Hocheimer denoting wines from Hochheim.on the river Main just west of Frankfurt.
Spying the  Sainsury bottle  on the shelf today  meanwhile reminded me of John Betjeman's poem about the arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel in London.
"The poem begins:
He sipped at weak hock and seltzer
And looked at the London skies
At the Nottingham lace of the curtain
Or was it his bee-winged eyes..."
I can't say that  I was tempted to try it with or without soda water.

I am grateful to Lucy Kempton for her comment yesterday on the new layout of this blog. She says that at first she found it confusing. So did I. It is not entirely  clear to me how I arrived at it. A piece of serendipity I think. Meanwhile until she passed on her discoveries about its hidden depth I have to admit that I was not aware of all of them. I hope meanwhile that not too many visitors have been confused.  If they have perhaps Lucy's discoveries will compensate.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Green, waterlogged and good

Save the Greens.

It has been raining all day. A visitor from abroad suggests that it might be good for the garden. Attempts to agree collapse. The garden is waterlogged which even the garden doesn't like.

Beetroot and apple juice made in the mixer. It is good for you certainly. But it also looks and tastes good. Best with a mixture of eating apples and, to provide acidity, Bramleys.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Portrait gadgets and feeding

Portrait of the artist as a young woman.

Every time I read about a new gadget I find myself longing to try it out.   At last I can relax.   News of Google's web goggles leave me lukewarm. I like to get away from the web from time to time. The idea of a minute screen flickering above my right eye sounds horribly intrusive. Then again imagine one of those clever clogs  who always throws facts at you churning them out as he scrolls the web while looking you in the eye, with his unoccupied eye.

The entrance to The Grove called Belview, I now call bird corner. Apart from the holly tree where sparrows constantly party. There are two bird feeders suspended from a tree. As you approach pigeons, blackbirds, starlings join the throng. And of course the sparrows who live next door to a fast food joint.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Springing, materials and submission

Anticipating Spring. Doodle after lunch in the sun.

Intrigued by news of a library of man made materials which is just about to open in University College London. According to New Scientist it has at present around 1500 materials which have been gathered with such characteristics as feel, taste and smell in mind, which they call  "sensoaesthetic" properties. Among highlights is silica aerogel, also known as blue smoke. It appears fuzzy owing to the way it scatters shorter wave lengths of light. Apparently NASA used its network of tiny pores to collect comet dust.

I am waiting to cross a small side road into the High Street when a giant Council vehicle back in front of me. Its warning alarm honking and its rear lights flashing. "I'm not arguing with that," says a fellow pedestrian.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peace, laughter and green

Peace: the early stages.

At the self-checkout in the supermarket I try to insert my credit card in the machine that dispenses receipts for cash payments. Sympathetic laughter from an old person waiting to use the checkout. At least I hope it is sympathetic. "That's why I like the job," says the young man in attendence to ensure that self-checkout runs smoothly. "You get some amusing moments."

Almost all yesterday's snow has melted  leaving the grass bright green. It reminds me of first reading Garcia Lorca's poetry with its guitar rhythms and surrealist images, when I was but a lad. I have never got these lines out of my head.
 Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento, verdes ramas.
El barco sobre el mar
y el caballo en la montana.
Con la sombra en la cintura,
ella sueno en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde
con ojos de fria plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Green how much I love you green.
Green wind, green boughs.
The ship on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shadow in her belt
she dreams on the veranda.
green flesh, green hair
with eyes of cold silver.
How much I love you green.
I pull out my copy of the Penguin Book of Spanish Verse which is coming apart. It has the price of 5 shillings- (25 p) on the cover.  The translator of this poem says that the first line has a secondary meaning in Spanish -" green how very deeply green". But I have never been able to source that meaning. Whenever I think of the poem it always puzzles me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

War, whistle-blower and time

War: the early stages.

There is a fine whistle on my key ring. It comes from a posh Christmas cracker which I pulled with someone two years ago. I haven't yet had the opportunity to blow it. And I don't want to in case it alarms someone.  Should I become a whistle-blower?

Numbers especially when they refer to time have a particular fascination. Today I read that Comet C/2011 visible for a few days to the naked eye  faded from our horizon on March 10. Sad to say we won't have another chance to see it for 110,000 years.


Monday, March 11, 2013

sex , shopping, wind and snow

Man and woman contemplate their status in the modern world and try to play them down.

A new feature of  Sainsbury's is the self-checkout which is noticeable  as customers learn the knack of operating the machines. Unlike  those in Morrison's every station has its own loudspeaker which addresses the shopper with the same words.  As there are several of them when you pass the line of machines you hear a strange chorus of overlapping statements. A polite but firm woman's voice: Welcome to Sainsbury's self-checkout. Thank you for using Sainsbury's self-checkout.   Please follow the instructions on the card machine.   Please take remove your card....There is an unexpected item on the weighing platform...." The phrases are interchangeable and monotonous. It requires someone like John Adams to produce an opera  set in a modern  supermarket. People versus machines might be one of the themes.   That and brand loyalty and brand betrayal. Two for the Price of One an aria.

The cold weather is back and with it  snow. Small snow flakes stream  in the wind, or when the wind drops. swarm like pale insects reluctant to settle.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pond forecasts rhubarb

 There's more in a pond than meets the eye.

Is it weather forecasts like the BBC's  updated  regularly and frequently  on the web that explains why people you meet nowadays  are no longer content  simply to complain about the weather but  have to tell you what it is going to do? The woman with the Pomeranian tells us this afternoon in The Grove  that it is going to snow on Thursday. "On Thursday!" she repeats. Problem is she must be consulting a source different from mine. On my computer the BBC foresees a full day of sunshine. I do tend to watch the weather because of my gardening plans, but most of the time I would rather wait and see what it has to offer.

Rhubarb plants at the Farmers' Market. After visiting the Bank I return to buy some. Shall I have three of four? I measure the width of the bed in my mind. I ask for three. The man standing behind me in front of the stall  says, "and I'll have the other three." A run on rhubarb then.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

grafitti, begging the question and rose-destroyer.

Layers of graffiti, stickers and other detritus have accumulated on the back of this telephone kiosk near the station. I don't know if it still contains a telephone but it provides an interesting canvas for fortuitous art.

An example of begging the question on Radio 4 a few minutes ago. It occurs in a piece of comedy dialogue, which goes something like this:
  Scene: a bookshop.
  Young woman customer: Have you a copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room with a View."
  Assistant: Who are they?
 Young woman: You haven't heard of Virginia Woolf! And this is a bookshop. Not  a fishmonger's."
Assistant: I hate fish.

A new neighbour is rooting up roses in her front garden. She ranges the gnarled roots on the wall. Anyone can have those for sculptures," she says. They have been much admired  by passers-by as long as I can remember. But who am I to complain?  She digs away. "I've planted a damson tree instead. I don't mind roses, but I hate growing them."

Friday, March 08, 2013

Posing cat, Satie and see-through hedge

Visiting cat poses for photograph, is hoping to play the  narrator in  a new story on the stocks.

Not yet completely used to a tablet, I forget that it is sitting snugly in my shoulder bag, as I walk through the town. Hey, I say to myself where is the street musician who seems to be following me, while performing Eric Satie's Gnossienne No 1? Not yet completley used to the versatility of tablet computers, I forget that mine is sitting snugly in my shoulder bag as I walk through the town. And I must have left it on.

At this time of year the hedge outside my window is thinner and more transparent than usual. I see an umbrella passing angled against the wind. It is Heidi and she under it and just about to enter the front gate. Time for tea.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

crocuses, the smell of books and randomness

The buds still closed looked like spiky bits of litter until yesterday's sun when the crocuses open like little flames.

"It was a melancholic afternoon when I smelled the the old books in Mandelbrot's library. This was on a hot day in August 2005, and the heat exacerbated the musty odour of the glue of old French books bringing on powerful olfactory nostalgia... However abstract I wanted it to be, Literature has a physical smell and this was it."  
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is writing of his encounter with the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot who developed the concept of fractals. In particular Taleb is exploring the nature of randomness which a central theme of his book The Black Swan about the critical importance of the unexpected in forecasting. But this quote says something important about the physical nature of books which is untranslatable into electronic readers.

The aim of my scrap book is to place the familiar in an unfamiliar context often on an unlikely scale. The result is to enliven images which may seem jaded through over-exposure like Van Gough's sunflowers or Rodin's Lovers.  Looking quickly back, I see for example: The Mona Lisa next to a Bansksie Mural; Virginia Woolf looking soulfully down on the new Shard skyscraper in London; a small  black and white photo of Charles Dickens above a larger colour portrait of Ravi Shankar; Henry James next to a field mouse; Jane Austen next to the @ character taken from an ad presented as though it is a logo. Randomness as Nassim Nicholas Talib would agree can be inspirational.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Fast food, slow food and green age

Fast food.

 Apart from purple sprouting broccoli the garden yields plenty of  leeks at the moment. I strip them of their outer leaves, snip the roots and cut off the coarse green tops . Wash them with cold water from the tap and they are ready to cook and worth the trouble of cleaning them up.  The à la grecque method of cooking them is my favourite. Stew them slowly in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice until they are tender. Dusted with a little cayenne pepper, they are as lovely to look at as to eat. They are equally good hot or cold. As delicate as asparagus.

The pleasure of digging and raking  in the vegetable garden and planting onion sets this morning is hard to define. For many it would be a chore.  But the sense of seeds sprouting and roots stirring is infectious.  Their response is similar to mine. "The force that drives that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives my green age". Dylan Thomas meant something slightly different, but the driving force is the same.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Unfolding characters tidying up

Imminent daffodils which the sun is unfolds today.

In the last few day I have pasted  at random photographs of three people - Oscar Wilde, Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitchcock - into my scrapbook.  The book is based on and seeks, though sometimes patterns emerge,  random and unexpected contrasts out of scale and out of sequence.  As I look  at their pictures it  strikes me that all three had in common the ability to construct images of themselves  which we remember apart from their artistic achievements for their impact as characters in the history of anecdote. Wilde is posing , pretty as a girl, his long hair brushed over his ears, his eyes looking into space, his hands behind his back. Warhol stares out of the frame in a blond wig, looking slightly sideways, his mouth set in a stubborn, reproachful line. Hitchcock, tubby, his embonpoint  to  the fore, hands in pocket, scowls as though he is considering something to torment you with. You might call it "character building" though it would mean something rather different from accustomed usage.

At the medical centre the practise nurse says that she would rather be in her garden than in the surgery  this fine morning: "My husband made a bonfire at the weekend, and I have to tidy up after him."

Monday, March 04, 2013

Minimalist greyhound and identity crisis

The artist as a minimalist in the process of thinking something very minimal.

My friend Nick shows me a netsuke which he produces from a pouch in his pocket. It is a greyhound carved in ivory (antique),  its legs delicately curved beneath it. It has beautiful eyes. Are they? Yes they are pieces of amber.  They greyhound with the amber eyes.

In the new Pembury Hospital they have an electronic check-in system for outpatients. It is like a game. The screen asks you what language you wish to speak in and offers a choice of flags. Sex comes next. Male or female? Then the month of your birth. Then the day. Just as an extra safeguard - you don't want to end up as someone else - what is your post code? The screen then tells you who you  think you are. Having indicated that you do not mind your name appearing on a further screen which summons you to your appointment, as you watch for yours  to appear, you speculate about  the owners of the names which unscroll before you. Fascinating some of them. Random characters in novels not yet written.  When mine shows up I do not immediately recognise it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Hope mammals and small talk

Hoping for green in this still, grey winter I  borrow a photograph of the lake at Groombridge  from the archive.

It stikes me in considering the animal kingdom that  I favour other mammals  against insects, reptiles and the like. Even birds have a cold nature I suspect. I think I must be a "speciesist". Is that a crime?  It will stand against me probably when insects with large brains invade our hard-won civilisation.

At the  supermarket check-out a  young man with a pigtail is in an unusually talkative mood, even allowing for the fact  he has clearly been instructed to make small talk to customers.  He wants to know if I am "doing anything this afternoon?" A good question which I do not begin to answer as he tells me that he will probably being going straight to bed when he has finished work, because he went out for a meal last night to celebrate the birthday of his girlfirend's mother. I thought that I might tell him what I was thinking of doing this afternoon, but there wasn't time.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

meetings flute and change

Long ago I used to go to  an office and and attend meetings in conference rooms like this. It was  a different world. I enjoyed it most of the time, but this gathering snapped through a window recalls moments of exquisite boredom.

This morning the sound of a flute in Grosvenor Precinct opposite Waterstone's. What strikes me as utterly beautiful is not the manner in which it is played by a girl in a red jacket and a white scarf  (probably  a competent performance by a music student) but the way  the sound enters the airwaves without the help of  an amplifier other than the breath of the musician.

Yesterday moved by a moment of irritation with the banner photograph of last summer's morning glory I changed the layout of this blog. Gone is the repetitious banner. We begin from now on with a different illustration every day. The banner and the regular daily picture have  in fact merged. I also see that with the new format  I can tweet the post and Facebook it too. I am not quite sure what that means but will soon find out.

Friday, March 01, 2013

looking up names trench

Sky scape

These are a few of the names, which according to a recent study, have gone out of use:
 Chips, Woodbead, Jardel, Hatman and Rummage. It occurs to me that working novelists or short story writers might find these useful if they are trying to avoid libel actions by unintentionally using the names of living people. It also strikes me  that Chips, Woodbead, Jardel, Hatman and Rummage would be a likely name for a firm of solicitors.

Digging a  trench for runner beans provides some useful exercise. You fill it with old rags, screwed up newspaper and other rubbish mixed with compost to retain moisture and draw down the roots to where nourishment lies as the beans become established.