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On a cold and frosty morning

Is it just me or do you also sing the 6 words in the title of this blog entry? Do they evoke memories of skipping round and round on the school playground? Do they spark off hints of other long forgotten tunes in your head? Memories of scuffed shoes, warm cartons of odd-smelling milk, an itchy, ill-fitting and snaggle-threaded-at-the-cuffs school jumper and of not having the words to explain the neediness of wanting to be included and the fear and shame of being different and alone. What power a nursery rhyme, eh!

Nursery rhyme - definition: a short traditional poem or song for children.

On a cold and frosty morning, specifically, is the 8 note final line of the nursery rhyme 'Here we go round the mulberry bush.'

As with most traditional rhyming songs there is a history to it -

Mulberries do not grow on bushes. They grow on trees. Unless clipped or stunted to restrict their growth. The frosted mulberry, burnt back to the size of a bush is probably a scathing reference to the failed attempt to cultivate silk in Britain, in the eighteenth century. Importing silk from the east was expensive. Silk worms thrive in mulberry trees. So, why not establish a silk industry in Britain? Why not plant mulberry trees in Britain? Why not? - because the mulberry - Morus nigra - is not frost hardy. Frost clips the tree back to the size of a bush. And we recall this folly as we skip round and round the hopeless bushes of the failed British silk industry, on the cold and frosty mornings that are part of our British climate. Who knows, though - if global warming continues, maybe we could rewrite the rhyme and skip round the mulberry trees of a revived British silk industry.

Anyway, back to my cold and frosty morning (trah-lah) which was a recent cold and frosty morning. Bertie Baggins and Four-legged-friend knew that I would be 'grateful'  -  I would of course want to take photographs of the rising sun. And get out of bed before 6 a.m. And besides, their tummies were hungry.

Bertie Baggins wasn't sure about the sun-rising-apprciating-nature-lets-all-hug-a-tree beauty of it all, "I don't get this. Why's he staring at the sun? My feet are cold. Can we go in now?"

"Now! Please. In is that way. Pleeease - oh no, not another photo ..."

Yes, another photo. Of hawthorn. On the cold and frosty and dazzlingly bright and clear-skied morning. Stunning, star-like, snowy-white hawthorn - the faerie tree of Celtic myth. The tree that you must not clip and take indoors. Taking it inside invites illness and death to enter your home. Because ... the blossom produces a smell - caused by trimethylamine - which is similar the the smell of decaying flesh. So, by taking it under your roof you take the smell of death into your house. And as well as being an unpleasant olfactory experience, the vapours that infiltrate every corner of every room, creep into the fabric of your soft furnishings and lurk in the crumbs of your food, hint at sickness and tragedy and disaster, so are best not trusted. Best not to tempt fate. Admire the hawthorn outside, where the spirits that skip hand-in-hand with its macabre scent disappear like evanescing ghosts into the air.

The cold and frosty morning gave way to a warm and sunny day spent in the garden

... trimming edges

... spectating

... standing up, stretching, turning round, then lying down again

Or, if Four-legged-friend, wandering off to find somewhere with a softer floor for sleeping on - the middle of a clump of fading daffodils was pretty bouncy. For a while. Until they were all flat and broken. Then indoors seemed like a good idea. Where mum wouldn't know that the daffodil flattening had been due to her big black Four-legged-friend.

Finally, as a post script -

How many women does it take to tie a clematis to its wires?

One - who takes gloves and tools and string to the top of her ladder. The hammer is for the staples that are in her pocket.

How many people does a man need to accomplish the same job?

Hmmm - while I have no intention of insulting any of the men I know. No, really. I haven't ... I dare to answer this question as follows - the answer is two - the man and his child/wife/partner to steady the ladder. And pass him the tools. And make him a cup of tea. And stand back to observe and marvel and deliver praise at the skill of his workmanship.

My work-woman-ship was pretty good though - for a ...

Only one bruised thumb. Two bent staples. And a lot of cardboard inside Four-legged-friend ... don't ask!

And finally finally - or should that be finally-squared? Or double finally? Or post-post-script? There may not or must not be another blog, aka procrasti-writing post, until I have finished my submission preparation for the Faber Academy alumni book ... ho I'm-too-scared-to-write-it hum. 

See you back here soon ... ish!



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