Archive for the ‘Back and Sides.’ Category

Heat Wave? No Thanks, We’ve Got One Already.


The sky is summer-generous high. Held up by the promise of a warm, dry tomorrow and the gentle sighing of traffic that has survived rush hour marmalade and now veritably purrs along the no-corners road in the middle distance. Hushed by the laburnum-green filters  arches overhead.

Ambitious spiderlings lower themselves on invisible drag-lines from the outermost branches of the small-leaved lime tree. Dangle, planning, then anchor threads to the back of the bench I’m sitting on and make hopeful, cunning traps of the very air.

The big star faces, sun centred of ox-eye daisies tremble and nod in the meadow level breeze; small fuchsia fireworks display their slo-mo ballet over the fence. Sun – down, back garden peace ushers in friendly shadows.

On something of a whim today we headed to Charlecote Park. Somewhere in Warwickshire. Traffic packed motorways. Stole into an almost-parking space: the last and least available on the packed car park and spent a fine half day at the property.

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All of the magnificence and eccentricity of a British institution. A credit to the National Trust, especially to the unsung-hero army of volunteers. Under-staffed, under pressure and none of it showed, bless ‘em all.

Red-brick building, lineage back to pre-1066 (depicted wonderfully in stained glass windows throughout the rooms). Very cool inside, the exact opposite outside. But a steady walk in Place’s meadow, the river Avon flowing by: swans, meanders and rushes ; cattle on the banks in the shade of willows. Back through the meadow with Disney-spotted fallow deer in and via a much-needed ice cream to the oven of a car.

And home to sit in our own back garden.

But the allotment’s gonna need watering tomorrow. Never mind, it seems like a long time away.


Polling Closed. Plus One.

He’s never been to this place before. But surely, these days when people are not so secretive about stuff, they’ll be talking about the voting. Won’t they? And he’s eager to know. Because the results aren’t all out yet. Not everybody knows. And it could be close. So many different ones to choose from, to vote for.

So he’s  very surprised when at dinner time his new co-workers are either on their smart phones, checking names or social media posts…

Or talking about parties. The differences between this party and that party. Probably some themed thing going on because there’s been apparently a green party. But according to what is being said, it was  a big party but they didn’t get enough seats. He doesn’t quite get that: what kind of a party needs seats: you’re in the kitchen necking beer aren’t you? Or outside smoking? Or throwing shapes to music? And how could they not have enough seats: how poorly organised must that have been?

“Wouldn’t have him,” a lady is saying, “you can’t trust somebody with a face like that can you? I mean …”

“ … and so-and-so said he said something about what he’d done for hospitals and I got confused because I didn’t think he cared …”

“… and they always end up talking about jobs and I think about the banks. They never mention that it’ll be me that’s paying do they?”

There’s no mention of the voting. For a moment he is decidedly angry. Nearly gets on his soap box and talks about everybody having the right (and the attached responsibility) to cast a vote. The whole history of democracy, the traditions and trials to get these rights. But he’s not sure anybody here would be listening. Honestly they just don’t seem the type. They’re all missing the point. Somebody should talk to them, get them to grow up … but he’s on his first day here, so it is not really his place.

Perhaps he is too smug, he realises. But he’s done his little bit, all that he knows to do. Studied the histories and characters of those who appear on the voting slips. Cast his own vote. On-line, because that’s possible with modern technology. Didn’t even have to leave the house. Typically he voted for the smallest one. Appeared a conservative choice. Not usually noticeable, but territorial, and could stand up and be counted when necessary. A bit, he smiled to himself like me he thought.

But, back at work he is constantly distracted: needing to learn new routines and who is who in these unfamiliar rooms and corridors. He briefly considers using the office computer to find out the results, but chickens out: there are rumours that the system is monitored and the bosses can find out what sites you’ve been looking at.

So it is not until later that night, much later in fact that he looks it up. And the results are still not announced. He will have to wait a bit longer it seems before Britain’s first ever national bird is announced.


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