Sunday, 27 March 2016

Spring, squiggly lines and chafe-chafer-Chafee.

What a difference a day makes - 24 little hours.

Friday was a day of Spring. Yesterday wasn't. Today isn't great either. All of which illustrates how rubbish I am with numbers - Friday plus yesterday plus today being a little more than 24 little hours.  While I try to calculate how many hours it actually was, here's a picture of a daffodil. In the sun. On Friday afternoon. 55 little hours ago.

Just the day before - approximately 32 (!) hours earlier - the frost had been so danged heavy on those daffodil heads; it looked like they were praying.

Friday's springing of Spring heralded the day to test the new trickle charger. The positive crocodile clip had fallen off the old one and the expression on the face of the motor-spares salesman when I suggested I could attach a new one - before he pointed out the lack of protective sleeves to keep fingers off the metal of the clips and the total lack of a safety fuse to prevent accidental electrocution - convinced me to scrap the vintage model that has, with variable degrees of success, been charging the garden tractor battery for several years. 
Yay! The replacement trickle charger worked. It was new. Naturally, it worked. Rather better than my texting - I told someone I had put the tractor on 'tickle chafe' which sounded like a form of extreme tickle torture - maybe something a certain bombastic straw-headed American would be interested in? As chief chafer rather than chafee. 
His chafee would be female, or Hispanic or Muslim, probably. Which is a little ironic as chafee, or Chafee, as in Zechariah Chafee (look him up) was a Harvard Law professor and fiercly eloquent proponent of freedom of religion and freedom of expression who would have been unlikely to condone the said straw-headed American's proposal to restrict the human rights of Mexicans by erecting a border wall or hostile folly, and of Muslims by prohibiting their immigration into the USA. 

How did I get from charging, to Chafee, to having a mini-rant? 
A massive feat of procrastithinking, perhaps?

Apologies, but I will take you back to the USA for a very brief mo ... if I may ... (can I write mo? I say it rather too often. Not sure I've written it before, though) ... it looks like the Birdie S that visited another American presidential hopeful is sitting on the cutting-deck lever in the shadow picture below. If you haven't been following the happenings across the pond you'll have no idea what I am going on about. With many months of electoral shenanigans ahead, my reaction to your ignorance is 'How sensible! Lucky you. Don't be tempted to look. Unless you want a lesson in how to be sneering and downright nasty about your rivals. The in-out-shake-it-all-about EU issues are far more engaging. So far. And so far are less likely to make your skin crawl.'

So, spot (what looks like) the Birdie -

Anyhow - the trickle charger worked and I set about cutting squiggly stripes. Squiggly - yes. That makes me obviously not male, then. Men cut straight. They mark where they turn. They cut into the same line again in order to make future lines straight. They worry about edges which must never be left tufty. And as for drifts of daffodils - the sooner they can be cut down the better. And the sooner they can enjoy pointing out, several times a week, how leaving the grass to grow round the daffodils results in unsightly bleached patches that annually fail to green-up fast enough. And, as for the gifts left on the grass by Four-legged-friend and Bertie Baggins - or of course any other man's other dogs because I am not of course talking about anyone in particular, am I - they are entirely avoidable: if the dogs could be persuaded to leave their gifts in the one place, every time they go out, even in the dark, even when it is raining, even when storm Katie is howling nearby, then there would be no problem in clearing the gifts. Not that anyone other than the dogs' actual owner, the one to blame for introducing dogs to the family in the first place, would ever clear the gifts. 
I squiggle. On and on; I squiggle.

Breathe - slowly; mini-rant dissipating.

My squiggly lines ...

Four-legged-friend helped by showing me which bits of grass to squiggle around next. 

Could I call it doodle-cutting, perhaps? Or procrasticutting in squiggly lines and circles? Or garden-job-planning-while-mentally-listing-the-recipe-for-dinner-and-trying-to-remember-where-I-hid-the-birthday-present-I-need-to-wrap-for-tomorrow-multitascutting?

Bertie Baggins was not at all helpful - he lay in the sun. With an uncanny knack of choosing the precise spot I wanted to cut next.

Later Four-legged-friend joined him.

And anchored him to the ground. I had to cut a two-dog-sized squiggle round them.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Balls, roses, motivation and procrasti-writing

Why is it always so much easier to motivate others than yourself?

Other than struggling to find the right words to encourage piano practice and homework and bedroom tidying and putting your plates in the dishwasher, I can usually find the right words to motivate others. But although I know what I should be doing,  and know what I want to be doing and why, I find it almost impossible to get down to the elusive it that I need to be doing. The self-directed motivational words blur and disappear. Perhaps because I don't believe them. I stray into a life of procrasti-tidying, procrasti-gardening, procrasti-ironing and procrasti-writing. Today was a fine example -

Procrasti-gardening = ball topiary, admiring a wall and pruning climbing roses

My 'balls' - 'very satisfying even if part of me is thinking tennis balls, yellow shorts and goggles: minion topiary ... ?

I'm not sure if Bertie Baggins agrees with the minion idea

The minions/balls sit atop a ruggedly handsome if somewhat decrepit wall

Which is covered in mosses and lichens

Which I procrasti-photographed, of course

Before moving on to a job I didn't do last year - so I had two summers' worth of rose pruning to do

While Bertie Baggins sat and guarded me from ... well, from nothing actually. Unless he counted the pheasant that far from presenting a threat to me, appeared determined to threaten his own survival by landing in a garden patrolled by two pheasant-hating dogs. It survived. But came back later. And survived again. Pheasants have very small heads.

Unfortunately I couldn't finish - fingers full of thorns and secateurs not man enough for the bigger branches. Cue more procrasti-gardening next weekend.

And more guarding. And watching for stupid pheasants.

Procrasti-baking = apricot and white-chocolate bread loaf.
Pretty yummy

Procrasti-writing = well ... obvious really. But what I really need to do is write a list, several lists, relating to several different things that I have to do soon and 'the lists won't get done unless I write them.'

So, I'll be procrasti-listing next.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Where the wind comes from nobody knows. And when top dog doesn't know when he isn't

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.
AA Milne

The last line of the full poem is, 'Where the wind comes from Nobody knows.' Clever chap that Nobody.

AA Milne was pondering, in a Pooh-stuffed-full-of-honey sort of a ponder, on the peculiar nature of the weather type of wind; that it has strength and direction, comes from over there and goes to the opposite over there, and varies from day to day. All very puzzling to Pooh, a self-confessed bear of little brain, particularly one who asked, "Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?" Which is a trait I share with Pooh. Practised on a daily basis.

Weather wind can be cold or hot or anything in between. Temperature can also be applied to figurative wind.

Politicians stir up a lot of hot wind; very hot wind - sometimes, and this seems to be a problem particularly experienced by loud blond politicians and those that are also property developers, it does strange things to their hair. 

Wind can also emanate from various bodily orifices - all such gaseous seepages or explosions being rude and some necessitating rapid evacuation of the kitchen following a canine I've-been-eating-rabbit-droppings-again-scented eruption. 

Pooh, if indeed it was he into whose mouth AA Milne put the wind puzzling words, was musing on weather wind which is good for some things - flying kites and sailing, for example - but bad for others - wedding veils and barbecues.

On a blustery day recently,

Littlest observed that freezing rain falling on a warm face felt like pins and needles

 and Four-legged-friend observed that the wind makes it difficult to control one's ears.


but that you can 'help' by finding the bucket that blew away.


While Bertie Baggins ignored both wind and buckets, and his uncle's ears, and posed for a photograph - which is pretty typical of teenagers today. And surprisingly (to me in any case) this somewhat narcissistic behaviour is more marked in boys who in a recent survey were found to spend longer posing for selfies than girls. Bertie Baggins hasn't found a way of taking his own selfies yet but he knows how to sit and look fit. Or sick. Or is it gorg (as in short for gorgeous)? ... Fit apparently, according to my sources. Although, in Bertie's case maybe chocolate-eyed, you-love-me-don't-you-head-tilted, if-I-gaze-longingly-at-you-for-long-enough-you'll-give-me-one-of-those-biscuits-you-have-in-your-pocket and all round beautiful boy, might be more appropriate.

Technically though, he is no longer a teenager - more of a twenty-something diva.

A diva who's taking control. Stealthily. For the past few weeks, we have noticed the beginnings of a hierarchical change. Bertie Baggins now sidles up to the aga, pushes and nudges and wriggles, forcing his uncle to accept his new position both on the floor and lower down the canine dominance rankings.

Four-Legged-friend has the air of one who quite frankly doesn't give a damn - 'Let the youngster think he's on top - we all know who was here first, finishes-his-food-so-that-he-can-barge-in-on-yours first and is first to bark at anything and last to bark at nothing at bedtime. Everyone else knows who really is top dog and it does no harm to indulge the child - what's a bit of radiated heat among friends, especially when the colour of your coat means that you absorb the heat quicker than him anyway?
Bet his youthful brain hasn't considered that!'