December 12th, 2015


Gardening And Gardeners

Matthew has a team. Sometimes he comes himself, sometimes he sends others. These past two or three weeks he's sent Julia who says the boys rather despise gardening because it doesn't involve chainsaws, but she likes quietly pruning and weeding- and our garden is a good one to work in. Yesterday she was clearing out the large central bed.

There's a holly tree at the centre of the bed. It must be twenty foot high. She offers to have one of the chainsaw boys take its top off but I say ,"No, I like it how it is- just look at all the berries." And she says, "Those aren't holly berries, those are rose hips. You've got a rose growing up inside the holly and it's nearly as tall as the tree." Good Lord, but she's right. I've never seen a rose so big. When the poets talk about rose trees they're not exaggerating, they're talking about something like this- fifteen feet tall and spreading wide. Now Julia has cleared out the bed we can see it properly. She says she'll cut back the boughs that are dragging on the ground and next season it should be amazing.

Seasons Greetings

The Christmas cards start trickling in...

One comes in a plastic bag with an apology from the Post Office for inadvertently ripping it in half.

A second is from a couple who are either Noel and Jim or Noel and Sue. "Do you know anyone called Noel?" I ask my mother. "Yes," she replies uncertainly- but continues to puzzle over it.

The third contains a note beginning "Not a good year..."

Midwinter Spring...

There are flies in the house and there shouldn't be- not at this time of year. I suppose they've been fooled into hatching early by the unseasonably mild weather. They're not the only signs of a winter deferred. A rose bush in the front garden has several blooms on it- and I've just come across a dandelion in flower.

An Old Word That Has Acquired A Certain Contemporary Resonance

ˈtrʌmp(ə)ri/<input ... >

  1. 1.
    attractive articles of little value or use.
    "None of your woollen drapery, nor linen drapery, nor any of your frippery or trumpery. I hate ostentation"
    synonyms: trinkets, baubles, cheap finery, knick-knacks, ornaments, bibelots,gewgaws, gimcracks
    "tables piled with all sorts of trumpery"


  1. 1.
    showy but worthless.
    "trumpery jewellery