Under the Bam, under the Boo…

Genetics can be mystifying. This evening, I found myself contemplating The Real World Consultant, who is, as it happens, my brother. We refer to him as The Real World Consultant because 1) he lives in London which as everyone knows is the Real World, and what is more, knows where to go to find everything from bagels to Bengal cats, as required; 2) he knows about the most incredible variety of things such as electrical wiring, computers, explosives, and a myriad other grittily urban handicrafts. He lives in a semi-basement in West London, and I, of course, live in northern Aberdeenshire. We have in common a passion for recondite and inconvenient gardening. Londonís a lot warmer than it used to be, but it is still not exactly tropical, which of course is why the RWC grows lemons, oleanders, sago-palms, strelitzias and, as he told me in an email the other day, is embarking on bananas, which he proposes to grow from seed. I was thinking of him because he had emailed me about having sourced a Malaysian Giant Bat Plant, and I, in return, had sent him two sites Iíd been drooling over, urbanjungle.uk.com and thepalmcentre.co.uk. Itís hard to know what to make of this. Infant trauma common to us both? There certainly seems to be a streak of fantasy or perhaps escapism involved. He very sweetly rang up the other day to say he was going to a proper Chinese supermarket, did we want anything? And in the course of the ensuing conversation, the Northern Professor, perhaps unwisely, shared with him a thought I had had Ö In the wilds of Donegal there is a standard Georgian box of a house, which had belonged to a designer, which we visited once: it was rendered fantastic by a conservatory at the door which was double height: i.e. it went all the way up to the roof of the building. Now, the house here is T shaped; the rooms at the back are significantly narrower than the rooms at the front; each arm of the T is about five feet. Outside my study there is an area of paving. What I sort of fancy is building a conservatory five feet wide and about twenty-five feet long, going all the way up (so Dr Biswell, when he is here, will open the curtains and look out onto the nodding heads of palm trees, because his bedroom and study are above my workroom). The back drawing room window would also look into it, as would I: Aberdeenshire would in effect be cancelled and replaced by the tropics. In bad weather I could stand there with huge lumps of snow blatting on the glass, pruning jasmine. In short, it would be wonderful, and of course the opportunities for growing exotics would, at that point Ö I could have caladiums, and even a Giant Malaysian Bat Plant. Miss Cat could frisk among the tropical vegetation like a Douanier Rousseau tiger. Growlights might be involved … Suffice it to say that the RWC thought this sounded like a good idea. We may end up doing it. Next step, the bankruptcy court. Sorry melud. It was madness. Something came over me (etc.)
– The title: does anybody but us remember that in The Waste Land, there is a quotation from a sweet and wistful popular song ( of the sort then called, alas, a coon song or nigger song), the chorus of which goes ‘Under the Bam, under the Boo, under the Bam-Boo Tree’. We have the music. Dr Biswell can sing it

2 Responses to “Under the Bam, under the Boo…”

  1. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Errmm. . . no, not The Waste Land, though possibly Sweeney Agonistes, towards the end of the second bit, I think . . .

  2. Janey Says:

    The Man from Maryport is quite right…sorry everyone.

Leave a Reply