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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Fluff and Roses

We had a near fatality on the farm the other day. A young guy was delivering a load of muck into one of the fields and drove away with the tail end still up on his tractor which caught the electric cables and brought them down with a resounding bang and a flash. The driver was only saved because of the rubber tyres on his vehicle. If he'd touched the side of the tractor he'd have fried, the men from SEB assured me as they laboured for six hours to get us all back on the grid. Farms are potentially dangerous and hazardous places. In the winter when everything was frozen and covered in snow, I thought I'd take a short cut behind the pigs and almost disappeared into a pit of pig slurry! I hadn't realised it was where it was and my weight cracked the ice and in I went. Almost like drowning in a vat of malmsey only not nearly as fragrant. My boots filled with slurry and I had to hold my nose all the way back. A few years ago when my Mum was still living with us,  an old guy in a glider flew into the very same electric cable. It was a miracle he survived. His plane was so flimsy and lay in the wheat with its balsa wood wings snapped off at the cockpit. All he suffered was a cut on his hand and was also lucky not to have fried. This time we were only without electricity for a few hours but I remember my mother complaining that she couldn't watch The Antiques Road Show or Midsummer Murders and I thought - hey Mum a man nearly died here!

the posies for the history Festival
And talking of planes there is A History Festival  in the valley and they had an air display yesterday with a Spitfire and a Sopworth Triplane and various other old planes which all swooped over the farm. It was a spectacular sight. I'm not really into planes but these brought a lump to my throat as I thought of all those young men who flew them in the war and didn't come back. When they had flown out of sight I turned and saw our swallows doing exactly the same air display over the stable roof.
Last year at the history Festival I made over eighty posies for the tables in the food tent for a great catering company called Bread and Flowers. Sadly they didn't do it this year but I was glad not to be doing the flowers as this time half the flowers I used are not even open yet.
Rosa Constance Spry
But the roses have opened and looking magnificent. My top ten favourite roses are (for climbers) Madame Alfred Carriere - definitely my top rose if I could only choose one if the others were washed away, New Dawn and Constance Spry. For ramblers Rambling Rector and Violetta which is a heavenly colour and for Gallica/shrub roses Charles de Mille, Tuscany Superb, President de Seze,Souvenir de St Annes,  and the fabulous striped Ferdinand Pichard.

Rosa Ferdinand Pichard

Rosa The Generous Gardener

Rosa Charles de Mille
 I have recently discovered The Generous Gardener which so far has proved pretty good, not too much blackspot which as I don't spray is a bit of an eye sore. These are not all good for picking but a florist told me that three really good cutting roses are St.Cecilia, Evelyn and Margaret Merrill which are all pale and look fabulous together. There is also a strange green rose called Viridiflora which I've planted by the gate and would look good too if it wasn't being strangled by the ground elder.
Rosa Ferdinand Pichard
Rosa New Dawn

Rosa M.Alfred Carriere in the background
 I've almost given up in the garden, using my mantra "Next year I'll get on top of it." And perhaps I will - just like inside the house. Why is it people only drop in when it's in a tip? I suppose the answer is it's always in a tip but sometimes I manage to tidy things away and wash the floor and sort out the piles of papers. A friend dropped round the other day when it was all particularly bad. I offered her some jam to go on her rice cake and to my embarrassment saw the jam had a thick layer of fur on the top and when I poured the milk in her tea it all bobbed up to the surface in those globules that prove that your milk went off ages ago and you haven't cleaned out the fridge.
Oliver Rackham said "The blight of tidiness every year sweeps away something of beauty." I am in agreement.
Pocket(quarter Bengal)looking as if he's hanging on to a life raft in the sea of detritus

Nancy looking horrified, not wanting to be part of the mess in the kitchen
The chaos in our house gave rise to this poem I wrote a while ago.(Hey it's in my poetry book Dog Days if you want to buy it!)

Fluff in the Ideal Home

There's dark life in the bedroom
the yoghurt pots have beards
weird anti-biotics live
in the clothes which mutate on the floor
a knicker mountain has formed
a doll slag heap
and fluff replicates
at an alarming rate.

Displaced socks seek out
the Mothercare pyjamas which
drift around in the dust
whilst somewhere
five miles down
in the carpet's crust
undetected organisms eke
out a slow existence.

Inferior felt tips mix
with the nano bacteria
in the sediment of the bed
and groups of immigrant shoes kick
alongside something
which looks dead.
Very small crocodiles make out
in the crawl space -

Where does all that fluff
 come from for heaven's sake?
They say it's flakes of skin
take care - someone might
collect it all
and make little models
of you.

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