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

Monday, 25 April 2011

Out of doors, but not for enjoyment

No, wait, this is techno-horticultural. In Mrs BB’s left hand is a branch of unwanted Japanese maple, in the other a branch of acer for which we bought the pot. With a perversity which turned me into a nature-hater a trace, jot or tittle of Japanese maple took flight, descended on Chez Bonden and grafted itself (I’ll repeat that - grafted itself) on to the roots of the acer for which we paid good money.

I have watched enough horti-telly (usually in a glazed, crapulous condition) to know that grafting requires a ***shockingly sharp knife, a carefully selected position, an angled cut and some white stuff into which the cutting is dipped.*** Yet the above happened automatically, subterraneously, and the results must be extirpated. Speak not of Intelligent Design. As a gardener God’s an anarchist.

>DOO-DOO BLUES At midnight on Sundays I put out the garbage for collection on Monday morning, often before my glued eyelids have separated. The dustbin protects the bagged rubbish from seagulls, cats and, for all I know, nematode worms. Goodie-goodies who wake earlier than me to walk dogs, dropped their packaged doo-doo in my bin, missing the bag and leaving me to de-doo-doo. The painted notice (repeated three more times) stopped this. Now, one owner has encouraged his (I’m sure it’s a he) pooch to defecate by the side of the bin, technically complying with my exhortation. Land mines, that’s what.

MORE ANTI-GARDENING I recently re-housed a pot-bound camellia which is now moribund and will soon die. Its fate does not interest me. But cleaning my nails afterwards took fifteen minutes and still the job was incomplete. Nail-cleaning is wasted time, you can’t read and don’t feel like singing. Can this be defended?

*** xxx *** I am told, by one who knows, this description of grafting is entirely fallacious. Well, I did say "crapulous".


The Crow said...

Re: defending cleaning your nails - for the most part, I agree with you that it is pretty much a waste of time.

However, two sources of instruction, first from my mother, second from the Navy in Hospital School, convinced me to clean them regardless. Should you rub your eyes with dirty fingers or bring them close to your mouth - you don't clean them with your teeth, do you?! - the multitude of bacteria thriving not only under your nails, but spread out onto fingertips, might cause infections in eyes and/or throat. Then you truly wouldn't be singing or reading.

I'm just saying, playing devil's advocate - sort of.

Avus said...

I have been a constant dog-owner for over 50 years.I will never walk a dog without taking a few bags with me to clear up any mess. I sincerely and utterly despise those individuals who allow their animals to defecate anywhere and leave it. They give all dog owners a bad name.
I accosted one such in action. Excuse was, "I have used up all my bags". I took great pleasure in giving him one of my spares and watched whilst he (reluctantly)used it.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: I couldn't resist breaking away from my millstone briefly since I must confess that TLP regularly makes fun out of Americans standards of hygiene - stratospherically higher than those of the French or the Brits. I would also have liked to make use of another health-related matter which has been gathering momentum in the US, the genuine anger many feel about the snaggle-toothed orthodontics of most Brits. As if irregular teeth somehow precluded us from legitimately sharing our language with you. And I mean anger; not merely a sense of superiority. Yet another reason why I should never embellish Works Well with a photo of my face. Words in any case do it better. For years I had a back tooth that resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa and this encouraged me to favour teeth on the opposite side. As a result the cutting edges now describe a line that slides upwards from one mouth corner to the other. See what you can be grateful for missing.

More seriously I am aware of the nasties that earth can contain. My mother once told me that a speaker at one of her Writer's Circle meetings revealed a perfect murder weapon whereby incurable diptheria can be cultured up from a mixture of earth and warmth. I should add they were discussing whodunnits at the time.

Avus: I appreciate your Messianic zeal. I should emphasise that the sinner I described had bagged up the poo, saw my dustbin waiting to be emptied and merely thought: why not? The problem was that my rubbish was tightly bagged within the bin and this little addition was never going to be transferred to the bin wagon without some assistance from me. Curious how you sense the objectionablness of the contents through the plastic.

The Crow said...

If cleanliness and dental hygiene weren't such big business in the States (frankly, what isn't big business over here?), attitudes would likely be different. Plus, I'm with you: where does this anger come from? Anger, and the arrogance behind it that gives permission? (Climbing down from my soapbox now.) No need to respond to this, BB; give my regards to Jana.

Plutarch said...

"A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!..." wrote the victorian poet T E Brown.
"... and yet the fool
Contends that God is not -
Not God! in gardens! when eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.

Brown is not famous for much else, as far as I know. And perhaps undeservedly so for this. I just wanted to adjust the balance a wee bit. What would you do without a garden? Don't know about Brown's finger nails though..."

Julia said...

Have you tried soaking one hand in the bath while holding a book with the other? That's my favorite clean nail solution.

herhimnbryn said...

Gardening gloves BB? I know you don't like wearing gloves to wash up (I think you mentioned that some time ago), but there are very tough looking gardening gloves available (your masculine pride would remain intact!).

Lucy said...

A Japanese maple is an acer.

I know you will hate me for a sad-minded pedant for that, but the point is, the branch which grew out was presumably the original stock, the form which you bought it for the graft. Our variegated sycamore (also an acer) is now half variegated, half plain green, and I have never seen one of any height or age that wasn't. From which one might deduce that acers in general, have a tendency to revert to the basic form of the species.

Dirt? Pshaw, one has to acquire immunities somehow!

However, I once stood guard over a poo Molly had done on a St Brieuc pavement while Tom rushed back to the car (where we always keep a stock) to fetch a bag, having inadvertently run out of them in our pockets. Most St Brieuc dog owners are not so diligent. But then quite a lot of French dog owners consider the act of even accompanying one's dog on its perambulations a footling and sentimental waste of time, if the dog gets to perambulate at all and doesn't live its life on a chain.

It would be sometimes handy if local authorities here and there did provide bins as well as bags though.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutaarch: Adjusting the God/no-God balance or the pro-/anti-gardening balance? Lovesome has always sounded invented, as if Brown were not confident about the more usual variants of love (or, more likely, he needed an extra syllable). Assuming he was a Christian that claim is a pretty big one.

What would I do without a garden? Well so far I haven't had to face that choice. I enjoy garden-like effects and being able to pay for a gardener means I am divorced from the downsides. However, Brian (our gardener) is exactly the same age as me and although fit is not up to tackling some of the more strenuous jobs. The camellia was one of those; plant, pot and contents weighed a ton and de-potting strained me to the limit.

Julia: There is an immediate flaw. To wash my hands I would have to bathe and I only bathe between 6.30 and 8 pm. On the rare occasions when I garden it's usually closer to midday. Turning pages would require an adjacent towel although, since I never bathe without washing my hair, I could use my hair for this function. However I do appreciate the languid picture your solution suggests.

HHB:: Sigh! In the end so many things reduce down to my upbringing and the West Riding (which I have renounced but cannot truly eradicate) says no to gloves. Although, secretly, I wear them when pruning roses; keeping my hands fit for the keyboard is ultimately more important.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: You slipped in like Flynn while I was responding to the latest three commenters.

Oh cor, now I'm up that creek which begins with m. There was some talk about root-stock at the time but at 300 words all my posts are broad-brush and I didn't want to overload myself or my readers with piffling details. Even it seems, at the cost of misleading them which is something I've had to apologise for quite recently. Don't for goodness sake apologise for pedantry. The unseen part of journalism is based on this approach and I have offended one of its basic canons - check one's sources.

There is no doubt that the two leaf patterns were different and now those alien shoots have been removed the acer has assumed acer-like proportions (ie, part of the trunk is now visible, confirming its treelikeness.)

Dirt under one's nails. Doesn't look good when I'm labouring over a sonnet at the keyboard; as if I'm faking DHLawrence. Despite my West Riding flaws (see above re HHB) I cringe to admit it was the aesthetic rather than the hygienic concerns I resented.

My love of France is not entirely blind and the French attitude towards dogs is one area which tests its profundity. I can't help feeling that dogs there are often treated as fashion accessories and this is not something they appreciate. As a result the dogs often often look miserable. Farmers are the worst but then British farmers are not famous for treating non-productive animals with anything approaching affection.