Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Yup, it was definitely smote (smitten)

But it is fed and watered,
By God’s almighty hand.

As usual, a selective view. That same watering God does a lot of smiting and he smote this bamboo good and hard. I take it personally.

Even casual Works Well readers know I am no gardener. But ten years ago I planted the bamboo as a scenic barrier to the sunken patio as seen from our kitchen window. A huge act of faith. Mrs BB told me to split the roots and I am convinced this hindered fructification. Years passed and growth was imperceptible.

Finally we had the barrier though by then Mrs BB, with the fidgetiness of all gardeners, was fed up with the effect and wanted it uprooted. I desisted but it could be the watering God was on Mrs BB’s side. His frost and His snow have made a sorry mess and we must see whether Spring rises with healing in its wings.

In sparring with the Old Testament God I face a conservatism that makes George Osborne the debauched choirboy he really is. But I don’t often have gardening ideas. Given setbacks like this I may insist on concreting over the whole boiling. So much for the green and pleasant land.

HOORAH FOR KINDLE Given Plutarch’s plaudits I bought Mrs BB a Kindle for Christmas. If it failed, well, so be it. The price is down to £109 and that’s no great loss. But with only mild encouragement she trawled Amazon’s lists and yesterday we re-registered the device in her name and she downloaded her first title (One Day, David Nicholls). This could benefit the weight of our holiday luggage.


Julia said...

Bamboo, like kudzu, rarely gives up.

Odd then that its poetic appearances are so much more salubrious than kudzu. One of my favorite kudzu poems (by Beth Ann Fenelly) starts thus: "Kudzu sallies into the gully like a man pulling up a chair to a table where a woman was happily dining alone..." James Dickey is even more scathing.

christopher said...

On the other hand, along one side of my house there are two kinds of bamboo and both do very well in the temperate rain forest climate of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, USA. The bamboo is of course a privacy barrier between my neighbor and myself. The bit of Canadian shield arctic air that comes our way every winter does not last long enough for the bamboo to care. It had a white fly (gnat) infestation last year and was not damaged. It grows fifteen feet high. One year in the base there was a hornet nest which wasn't fun. I have to be merciless every year because it acts precisely like the grass it is. It's okay but I inherited it. I would never have planted it.

The Crow said...

Sure wish the watering God (or the wrathful grape-smiting one, He of the terrible swift sword) would smite the bamboo grass growing in my back yard.

I may have to give in and use a herbicide this spring. The poison ivy and the bamboo have commingled to the point that I think they have produced an especially onerous hybrid - a climbing bamboo grass vine that causes blisters at the mere sight of it.

Oh, Watering-God help us!

Rouchswalwe said...

The only bamboo I keep close is bamboo chopsticks. It's bad enough that my bookroom is bursting at the seams, growing like wild bamboo. A Kindle device would no doubt help. But how does it smell?

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: The bamboo has another more authoritative name but as a non-engaged gardener I've refused to learn it.

Hey, verb. sap. to the Beth Ann Fenelly poem though in my case it only needs the shortest and frostiest glance to re-direct me all the way to McDonalds. Good to be reminded that Dickey wrote other things beside Deliverance.

Chris: Clearly you have entered into a relationship with your bamboo whereas I have striven - once the act of creation was over - to remain detached. Until this last winter I'd have tended to say the UK had a temperate climate but not now. I'm told garden centre owners were rubbing their hands when the thermometer went down into the minus teens since this means trusting UK house-owners will be replacing all their tender-hearted, tropical (and therefore expensive) stuff.

The Crow: Don't for goodness sake read The Day of the Tryffids or you'll be convinced your worst nightmares have arrived. It was made into a movie but I never saw it, believing the special effects would have looked ludicrous.

RW (zS): Should it require a smell how about Lanvin's Arpège? This was Mrs BB's favourite perfume when we still went to events that demanded that sort of thing. The bottle I bought her (probably in the mid-eighties) is still a third full. Still smells good, though.

But no further Kindle encouragement will be necessary. That first downloaded book is nearly finished and Mrs BB made a wonderful discovery last night: there are page-turner buttons on either side of the frame which means she can hold a glass of wine in her right hand while turning the pages with her left. At the same time I was reading a conventional book and was suffering the usual clumsiness.

Sir Hugh said...

Good to hear of Kindle’s adoption. I use the Kindle app. on my iPhone and find I can read whilst eating breakfast much more efficiently. My daily quality time coincides with breakfast and this is when I do most of my reading.

So far I haven’t dared use the iPhone during my long soaks in the bath - I have had some bad experiences with mobile phones and water.

We seventy odd year olds should be proud of our continued adherence to the seats on the technology bandwagon.

Avus said...

Even this confirmed bibliophile is very seriously considering a "Kindle". I could even read it at the meal table without the aggro of trying to hold open a book and eat at the same time. I think the turning point will be when my wife visits Australia in March and intends to travel light.

Lucy said...

Bamboo does indeed take some killing. I think I probably spent all my force for things digital when I took up blogging, and will continue to browse in that evolutionary blind alley while brighter sparks than myself move on to such things as Kindles and Twitter. I don't think age has much to do with it really, idleness has in my case I think.

DuchessOmnium said...

Like Mrs BB, I got a Kindle for Christmas. I have been so far very mean with my Amazon account and have instead restricted myself to Gutenberg Project books, published before 1923, and all free. I've had good clean fun reading 19th and early 20th century pulp fiction.

I love my Kindle. It definitely solves the problem of book storage on the boat, though to get a new book I have to wander about the towpath pointing the screen hopefully at the sky.

Julia said...

Kindles and wine glasses, now there's a reason I might have to invest!

Ziplock bags, by the way, solve the bathtub dilemma. Just make sure the bag is well zipped up.

20th Century Woman said...

This post has given me lots of food for thought. I have been considering (1) planting bamboo, and (2) getting a Kindle. I remain undecided, but I'm gathering data.

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: The Kindle although technological is hardly technology. Once the initial hurdle (ie, buying the thing or at least trying it) is crossed it hardly differs from reading a book.

Avus: That's the spirit. Incidentally the Kindle charges fairly quickly. InterCity trains have 13A sockets for those who use laptops and this facility may be available in some planes. In the meantime explore Project Gutenberg which has about 100,000 free titles dating back from 1923 when copyright expired.

Lucy: I regard Mrs BB's acceptance of Kindle as fundamental. Anyone as committed to reading books (as opposed to wallowing in the concept of books - not you of course) represents a potential stumbling block, especially since in 2010 she beat her previous record of 220 titles by a further ten. And yet it was she who elbowed me to get her started and having read One Day, she has now ordered her second title, while simultaneously reading her quota from the library. In the early days with the computer she suffered techno-fear. With Kindle there hasn't been a trace of that (Techno-joy, in fact, as Eddie Izzard observed),

DO: Yes, I have plundered Gutenberg for my Sony E-reader, notably for the five volumes of Mark Twain's letters. I enjoy the image of you as book-whisperer, padding hopefully up and down the canal bank - the quest for literature incarnate.

Julia: I believe you can download PDFs to the Kindle which means you could use it for piano scores. Too small?

Wine glasses. Eschew cut glass, buy them as thin as possible and regard them as consumables, like their contents. Thin glasses break, so, replace them.

Ziplock. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just to think of it.

20CW: I'd devote more time to considering bamboo than Kindle. Unless £109 will break your bank just plunge in.

Plutarch said...

Two useful features of Kindle which endears me to it, the more I use it are the two dictionaries - English and American English which come with it. And on top of that, the ability to search a book for a word or phrase and to find all instances of it, appear almost immediately. The dictionary defitions also apear as soon as they are required. These features are effortless to use. And almost as effortless is the note-taking and note-making facility.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: I took the first step towards part of what you suggest by toggling the default dictionary from American to English.

On a related matter I trawled Project Gutenberg and found that Shakespeare's plays (entirely free) come in several different formats. The HTML version (as opposed to the Kindle version) of As You Like It has a proper cast list which employs colour to make it much more legible. The text too is much better defined. It remains to be seen whether this can be downloaded to Mrs BB's Kindle or my Sony E-reader.

Julia said...

Good question about the scores. I would think a Kindle screen would be too small, but perhaps you can zoom in and practice a few lines at a time. Let me know!

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: Oh you flatterer. As if I were gaily reading scores as I might Ed McBain. As I mentioned, I did download (and pay for) the piano score of Lady is a Tramp. And I did arrange three of my fingers to play the first note (chord?). But the prospect of making another three-finger sound thereafter, and then another caused a mini nervous breakdown. For the moment I pick out tunes (by ear) based on single notes and try to impose some logic on the fingering sequences. Even at this infantile level it is a great pleasure to have this toy close by. And, in shaping this comment, I broke off and did just that for: "To touch our lips, our minds inspire, And wing to heaven our thought!" Try and identify the hymn without Gooigling.