Wednesday, 27 April 2011


My interest in gardening is minimal but I like to look at nice bright plants from my window as I wash up this involves putting them on stands or tables  – I enjoy washing up it is the nearest I get to bringing order from chaos – let the piles of paper grow as long as the dishes are clean. I also find the mindlessness of it to be stimulating with new ideas popping into my mind – some of them remain long enough to write down when I have dried my hands – a lot of them are gone in an instant. My mind becomes an open thoroughfare at these times – something about the alpha state I believe enjoyable to watch the new wheezes come - and go.

I also love going to an out of town garden nursery that is a magical place of greenhouses and grumpy old gardeners filling their barrows with plants of all kinds, ancient couples and a few younger family types but mainly middle aged blokes with the wife along, I expect we all find this place a treat after the ones in town which are twice the price and tarted up with bookshops, gross fancy goods and  foul cafes. Here  deep(ish) in the coutry you can pretend you are a horny handed son – or daughter – of the soil for a little while and grub around in the earth while you choose your plants. You can pretend to yourself that you have an acre of two( terrifying thought) I even adopt a Hampshire Hog accent briefly and they do of course take Visa!

So this week I spent an hour or two getting in touch with my rural side And bought rather a lot of plants. Then we saw a guy with a barrow outside his house so we bought more. Then yesterday I went to the Co-operative and discovered they had far cheaper petunias in particular  buy two trays get the third one free. Not one to miss a bargain I bought them. What a saving! My kitchen s now filled with trays of Lobelia, petunia, and tomato plants and I must go and buy growbags, pots, plant food and compost. I must acquire an old table from somewhere to put said pots etc on and  arrange for somebody to water the buggers while I am away at the weekend on my –‘escape the royal wedding’ mission!

I am off to the tip and expect to do some skip diving and pillaging of friend’s gardens – I think I saw a stray table somewhere local – now where?
I am so delighted to have got a bargain!

Friday, 22 April 2011


The Scents of Spring
I took my Polo in today for a new dashboard. The old one had given up the ghost weeks ago and in spite of an ultra helpful mechanic stuffing the fuse back it collapsed and died again almost instantly many times. So no speedometer or petrol gauge and every day I forgot until I was on a road where speed matters as I know to my cost. I was recently given the opportunity to relearn my driving techniques and somehow it cost me over £100 plus an afternoon of extraordinary, mind shredding boredom while two nice old boys revamped bits of the Highway Code. I was only doing 34 MPH. but didn’t want points on my licence.

So I walked back from the garage and among the delightful diesel and petrol I was hit by the scent of flowers all the way home. The lilac was wonderful as were some shrubs and there was an overall perfume of cut grass. Normally I am in my car still redolent of dog. Though she died six months ago I can’t bear to have it cleaned. I was going to give her basket away too but it is languishing in the boot a sort of moving memorial to Saffie. There is also a smidgen of fox in there somewhere she loved rolling in essence of fox. I quite like the general odour of my car – gawd know what the nice mechanic will make of it.

The grass scent got me thinking about scents of all kinds firstly of New Mown Hay perfume by Floris  a nice subtle one this and they would create an individual scent just for you at one stage. Then on to a perfume called Poison so pungent as to make you recoil. I have been put off my pint by intrusive perfume, it has invaded my nose and made its way into my taste buds I think it was ‘Youth Dew’ and seemed to be the pong of choice for every middle aged woman in my local. It was fine in moderation but I think the publicity and name encouraged women to believe that instant youth would result and the more they splashed on the more youthful they would become. It actually inserted itself into my Guinness and made it unpalatable although I think I remember making the effort and drinking up.

Now, and this is new, I am assailed by the cologne of young males early evening as they approach me surrounded by an almost solid miasma of pungent pong that remains in the air long after they have gone. At such times I tend to say that I prefer an armpit aroma but I am not serious. I do wonder about differentiation of smells in the case of these chaps, I do still believe that we humans are attracted to one another by our natural scent and this must be very confusing for their potential mates. Could this have an effect on the high breakdown or relationships? Inaccurate identification of natural mates? Probably not.

There is an astounding difference in public hygiene in these last many years. I travel a lot on buses stuffed full of people and it is rare that BO offends and even on the tube with strap hanging arms fully extended just  at nose level it is usually pretty OK. In the old days (!) before everybody used deodorant (yes, there was such a time!) travel by tube, particularly in the evening after a day of festering in the heat; liberation and an outstretched arm would cause foetid and obnoxious odours to make their way into nasal passages and remain there immovable  for hours and it would interfere with natural consumption of anything liquid or solid.

 I reckon that it is probably healthier to sniff the perfume but I so wish that people would desist from using quite such liberal doses of the stuff.