Wednesday, 28 December 2022

A Veteran Cactus

Once again my Christmas Cactus is living up its name, covered in bright pink flowers. I've had it for so long that I can'tremeber how I came by it. I think I may have inherited it from mother, in which case I've had it for nearly thirty years.

Friday, 23 December 2022

An Unexpected Surprise

The phrase in the title was voiced by a television announcer recently. I find it entertaining to invent circumstances in which vacuous forms of words might have some meaning. In this case we need to start from 'expected surprise'. People, especially children on the eve of their birthdays, often expect to receive a present, the precise nature of which they do not know in advance. One of my friends was quite surprised to receive a belly button brush as a birthday present. What surprised him was not the receipt of a present, but the nature of the present. The donor of the present was known to act strangely, so a surprise of some sort was not unexpected, though the belly button brush was.

Thus an unexpected surprise would be like being given a belly button brush when it is not one's birthday. I can't remember what event inspired the televison person into paradox, but I'm sure I'd have remembered had it involved a belly button brush.

Monday, 19 December 2022

Very Late Tomatoes

A while ago I thought I'd eaten the last of this year's homegrown tomatoes, but today I noticed that a couple of fruit I'd kept just in case they might confound my pessimism by ripening had actually ripened, so I ate them, just six days before Christmas day!!

Friday, 9 December 2022

My Neglected Cheque Book

I recently wrote a cheque to be enclosed in a Christmas card, and noticed that the last time I wrote a check it was to the same person, for enclosure in last year's Christmas card. At one time I got through a checque book in a few months. Now it seems likely that the present book will last for the rest of my life!

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Persistent Blooms

Last month I boasted about the unseasoable profusion of flowers in the garden. After a fairly sharp frost last night there are fewer flowers now, but still far more than usual at this tine of year. The fuchsia still retains all its leaves and most of its flowers, and the campnula and Mexican daisy seem unaffected. A cyclamen is just coming into flower and the winter jasmine is splendid.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Home Grown Tomatoes

I'm still eating tomatoes grown by myself in the garden, and haven't needed to buy any tomatoes since early August. The plants expired a while ago but I've been eating fruit that I gathered unripe before disposing of the plants. I think this may be the first time my crop has lasted into December, though very few fruit are left now.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Revive Convalesent Homes

In the 1950's one of my aunts had an operation. When she no longer needed full medical attention she moved to a convalescent home where patients completed their recovery supervised by nurses. When I hear about hospial beds occupied by patients who no longer need hospital care but have nowhere else to go I wonder why convalescent homes are not revived.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

A Cook's Nostalgia

Among the minor irritants of modern life is the occasional need to free joints of meat from the snare of elasticated string

In bygone days joints were secured by metal skewers. It was very easy to pull them out and, once removed, they could be retained, making handy tools that could be poked into otherwise inaccessible places. For a while the skewers were replaced by ordinary string, less easily removed than a skewer but still fairly manageable, but today's elasticated string poses greater challenges. It resists the carving knife, and when attacked with scissors de-elasticates itself, showering the neighbourhood with gravy droplets.

I mourn the passing of metal skewers!

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

A Redundant Institution.

Today I received four magazines, all delivered by Royal Mail. Three of them should have arrived at least three days ago. Most of the material that used to be sent by post can now be sent by email. Magazines can often be read over the Internet, and several companies will deliver any material objects that resist digitisation.

Perhaps we no longer need a post office

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Frustrated by Almost Impenetrable Wrappings.

Many goods are sold, either completely encased in plastic, or in some combination of cardboard and plastic. In either case I need scissors to get at the goods, and even so equipped I ofen have quite a struggle.

In my fury I often wish that company directors were required to give public demonstrations of their recommended technique for penetrating those frustrating wrappings.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Pears Rehabiitated

Pears are very frustrating fruit, changing from inedible hardness to repulsive mushiness so quickly that one usually misses the intermediate state of delicious edibility. Sainsbury's offers 'ripe and ready' pears nestling coyly in protective wrapping. I had long been suspicious of those, but one day gave in to temptation and was very pleasantly surprised. I don't know what magic they invoke but the recommended pears are indeed delicious, and remain in that state for several days. The simple pleasure of eating a ripe pear has been restored to me.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

A Floriferous November

Even in this, the last week of November, there is still an abundance of flowers in the garden. As well as the Winter Jasmine which usually flowers around this time of year, Fuchsias and Mexican daisies are covered in flowers, and blue campanulas and zonal pelargoniums still provide a modest display.