Thursday, 22 May 2008

Lurking in the long grass and other little pleasures

Today's miscellany: yesterday, I read somewhere that most people who read blogs are lurkers, i.e. people who don't come out of the shadows and post comments, with the result that most bloggers (well, those who haven't fathomed how to work the reader-counting device) don't have a clue who, if anybody, reads their precious prose. I confess that I mostly do that too - lurk, that is - usually because I couldn't post a non-banal comment to save my life, and also because I am so cowed by the wit and/or skills demonstrated in these blogs that I feel Unworthy in the extreme. All these young talented folk who can knit, sew, bake, bring up children, dogs, cats and quails, dress interestingly, have gorgeous partners, write amusingly about them and take decent photos of them at the same time! Why can't I do that? And don't say age. Some of the talented young folk are actually quite mature in years, and downright ancient in dog years.

Anyway....I am also very dim sometimes. While waiting
the other night for friend Benedict to travel up from the rural idyll* in which he lives, I made us a chicken and vegetable casserole, with mashed potato, and a pudding made up of leftover dark chocolate cake (the one with the over-sweet ganache, though I found I was the only one who complained about that) and fresh raspberries and double cream. And waited. His arrival time came and went, and when he was an hour and a half late, I rang his mobile, thinking he might be doing that thing that our British railway companies like us to do, that is, sit patiently on a train marooned in the middle of a field, for interminable periods, without explanation, usually when most of the other passengers are drunk and rowdy and very loud.

And lo! he was sitting peaceably in his own home in the middle of nowhere, and not on a train at all. I was a week early with all the preparations for his mini-break in the frozen North.....

I'm getting a bit sick of chicken casserole now, so have shredded the chicken, added more stock, and have chunky chicken soup instead. Tastes nicer than it looks.

The weather improved today, and my excuse of it being too cold to go down to the allotment wouldn't hold any longer. And my word, how the allotment has punished me for my laziness! Head-high weeds, many millions of them now dandelion clocks - and you know how fertile they are! - a rhubarb patch the size of a camper van, and nettles that stung me viciously before I'd even touched them.
Eddie the Poisoner muttered a lot about systemic weedkiller being the only way out, and had I thought of giving up half of the plot? But no, shrieked the Greedy Person inside of me, one half of the plot has the greenhouse, and the other half has the shed and I Want Them Both!! Eddie flinched, and backed away into his tidy weed-free plot, where he sits for hours reading the paper and watching his veg grow for him. Later we had a bracing conversation about how this country is going to the dogs.

And I staved off the mild warning that I thought might be coming my way (Elizabeth the secretary is a big softie and takes forever to throw anyone off their neglected plot) by taking the rent money down with me and apologising/promising/smiling a lot. Then while the dog got lost in the long grass I spent an age weeding a very tiny square patch with a trowel, while the birds darted about me, the rhubarb loomed menacingly, and the dandelion clocks scattered their little fluffy parasols all over the newly-cleared patch. When I began to faint from lack of lunch, I gave up, pulled an armful of the reddest rhubarb, and traipsed off home for chunky chicken soup. The pudding got eaten ages ago.

Strange but True Fact: Harry has not pulled out a single tuft of fur since I received and plugged in the Feliway diffuser on Saturday morning. Clearly synthetic facial pheremones were just what his otherwise sybaritic life lacked.

*rural idylls usually have a down side: in this case, an elderly septic tank

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