The wonderful Rogue Semiotician has revived the blog. The previous version fell victim to the spammers– quite simply, the thing was so clogged by Viagra advertisements, messages to that part of the community which believes .jpegs of other people’s sex-acts to be terminally fascinating, Nigerian scams, and You Have Won a Lottery You Never Went In For, that it collapsed under the pressure of junk. Spam has a lot to answer for. I hope that blogging services will be resumed from this week on, but meanwhile, here is the last one I wrote before the spammers killed the site.
I have just done six hours’ graft in the garden; it is now half past four, and dark. At this time of year, one is racing the light; there just isn’t enough day to go round. A whole load of plants arrived for me a couple of days ago — ordered in Spring and forgotten about — so I was wandering amid the wet tufts of brown, shabby herbaceousness, all mouldering down towards composthood under a heavy drift of fallen leaves, trying to remember what the hell they all were, how big they had been in the summer, what I had ordered, and where I had imagined there might be spaces to put them. There were also a couple of tree peonies (’Kinkaku’, aka ‘Souvenir de Maxime Cornu’, and another one called ‘Gauguin’) which presented no problems at all, since they promptly had pots bought for them and went into John Innes no. 3. ‘Gauguin’ was fiendishly expensive — whereas most of my moutans are old Chinese and Japanese varieties, ‘Gauguin’ was bred by an obvious maniac called Nassos Daphnis and is still, so to say, in copyright. The breeders of the more exotic variety of flowers, like those who spend their lives with the most exotic varieties of cats, are by definition, nuts. Let’s hope it is truly wonderful — I am easily seduced by pictures in catalogues, and this one was irresistable. If it does its stuff, I will wax lyrical in May, so you’ll just have to wait. Once I had planted a whole lot of stuff, crossing my fingers that it was all in approximately the right place, part two of the afternoon’s labours was digging up the dahlias. A sad moment; they have given us the most wonderful show for months, but now they are wet and black at the tips, deliquescing nastily like something out of a horror film. But with a bit of care, the tubers will over-winter and then we can start them up again in the spring. The dogs, of course, hate gardening; they loll about glaring resentfully because I’m in what they consider to be my dog-walking jacket, but I am inexplicably failing to take them for walks. Miss Cat, on the other hand, loves gardening; she likes to sit on a suitable promontory a few feet away and supervise. I have also had the assistance today of Leo, a cat belonging to the New Neighbours, a long-haired black cat with white feet and a charming if soppy personality — unlike Miss Cat, who is almost completely silent, Leo shouts a lot, so my activities were attended by a running commentary as if I was the cricket or something. Meanwhile, Spiro and Agnew were been peering through the fence, baaing. Did someone say that you’re never alone in a garden? Too right, if so.