An Unexpected Succession

No sooner do you start reading about how to make the most of a small garden – especially where eatables are concerned – than you hear about succession planting. The general idea is that most plants don’t take all year to grow, so why not have something else – or more of the same – ready to fill the vacated spot when harvest time arrives?

I freely confess that my organizational ability floundered at this challenge, even in theoretical form, much as a tortoise flounders when trying to do a Fosbury flop. (Something I suspect a flounder could do with ease.) I decided I’d just improvise as I went along.

So here we are in late spring, and the garden is beginning to see some succession. But not at all in the way I intended. Take the alyssum, for example.

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Naming the Teapot

When writing my answers to last week’s interview, the phrase “my trusty pot of tea” sprang unbidden to my lips – or rather fingertips. Possibly this was influenced by Richard IV’s “trusty fruit knife” which saw him safely through a single-handed confrontation with ten thousand Turks at the gates of Constantinople.

There is of course a long history of the naming of swords, particularly mythical or otherwise fictional ones – Excalibur, Durendal, Anduril, Rhindon – but mostly it’s just swords, axes, and hammers that get this acclaim, all weapons of assault and battery. Cooking pots, fountain pens, and other useful articles don’t generally rate a name, which is a bit depressing when you think how much more beneficial non-destructive things are.

Setting a much better example for us all is Lord Ickenham (a.k.a. Pongo Twistleton’s Uncle Fred), who sallies forth to the bathroom at Blandings Castle “armed with his great sponge Joyeuse”. Named, presumably, after Charlemagne’s sword Joyeuse, which would have been a much less pleasant bathtime companion.

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Voici Joyeuse! The sword – the big squishy green thing’s a cushion, not a sponge.
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Worst Beta Reader Ever

One of my favourite fictional detectives in my youth was Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Being mixed-race, he has one foot in the Aboriginal world and one in the white world, without ever fully belonging in either. It was something I related to as a TCK (although I’m not mixed-race – unless you count English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish as mixed race – just mixed-up).

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Boundary riding on the Rabbit-Proof Fence, 1920s. Note camels.

The author of the “Bony” novels was Arthur Upfield, and in the late 1920s, while working as a boundary rider on the Rabbit-Proof Fence, he thought he’d try writing a mystery where the detective is hampered by the absence of a body. (The victim’s body, that is. Incorporeal detectives, as far as I know, didn’t come along until some four decades later, with Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).)

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