Thursday, February 29, 2024

Advice from a gardener 120 years ago

 My local library recently purchased a book published in 1904, written by a woman about the garden at her summer home in my town. 

Gardening is completely new to her, and she freely admits the mistakes she makes as well as delights in the successes. 

I loved the following which I think is a lesson we all must learn over and over again. At least this is my experience.

I have found it advisable, in buying plants from a florist, to buy from one whose nursery is either near by, or, at least, located where the conditions are similar to the climate. For they are more likely to fulfil the promises of the catalogue if they are raised in the same kind of climate as the one in which they will be expected to grow.

I have had gardens for a long time, and I still get wooed by a plant in a catalogue which grows perfectly the first year, or sometimes even the second, but then gives up the ghost!

Friday, February 23, 2024

The loss of another young man

 At my age, one might expect to go to funerals. In New Tricks, Jack Halford played by the excellent James Bolam says that he goes to a funeral every couple of weeks. Well, very, very sadly the last five funerals or Celebrations of Life Tom and I have been to have been young men. I’ve written about two of them here and here. In between them there were two others, one a bit older than Margaret, and the other in Michael's class, and then last month was the fifth. This young man was a year, lacking two days, older than my daughter Margaret. He died on the local mountain he loved, doing what he loved to do, snowboarding. 

There were hundreds of people there. The place was up a hill, and we were early enough to park in one of the parking lots. When we came out, there were cars almost down to the main road. He was much loved in the community. I didn’t know him personally, but I know his mother, and his sister is one of Margaret’s best friends, and Tom taught him in school. There is something about the small Middle and Senior High School which all the young men, but one, attended that is very, very special. The kids were close, and they remain close. And many, many of them stay in the area. They love this place with the same passion that we have. Some move further away, but they they come back home and get together with all the friends they’ve known most of their lives. It is an amazing school and area that brings them all together for a lifetime. 

And their parents were there, most of them old hippies like Tom and I. There were no women with dyed hair or facelifts. There was gray hair, and there were wrinkles, and there were a few with canes or walkers. Their “kids” are in their forties now and the parents in their sixties and seventies. Even if we don’t know everyone personally, we still “know” each other. We spent most of our time with the mother of a woman whose daughter was in Margaret’s class, and whose own son died almost a decade ago at whose Celebration of Life all of us were back then. 

The man who died was an early skateboarder when that sport was looked down on by much of society. There is a skateboarding park in town, but there hasn’t been enough money to really make something of it. His sister-in-law had the idea to give contributions in his name to the park, and would you believe that $52,000 dollars has been given thus far. It just makes me cry, and makes me feel so proud of this wonderful community.

Friday, February 9, 2024

A new love at almost 76!

 I have developed a wild new passion for ... rugby! I have never seen it in my life. I am not a big sports person, other than the Red Sox but we haven't watched a game for years and years. Netflix had this offering of Six Nations Rugby, and I thought we could give it a try, neither of us knowing one thing about it. 

We loved it. Absolutely loved it. There weren't whole games, just parts of the build up to the winner, which I will not give away in case any other Americans want to see it. Tonight was the last night we watched, finishing the series. Then we went looking to see if there was any way over here where we could watch the regular games. The results of a search said "Peacock". We read up on it and could get it for about six dollars a month. We signed up, and voila! So excited!

Monday, February 5, 2024

Today's poem by Roger McGough

Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death

not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Roger McGough 
and I am happy to say that he is still alive!

I first put up a Roger McGough poem ten years ago. Here is my post from then. You'll see that it was in this very month! I love things like that. I am watching the same series ten years to the month from when I first watched it, and I am watching it on Acorn TV as I was then. 

Anyhow, I think this is quite a wonderful poem. In the show a young boy recited part of it. He says about Mcgough, "He's a Scouser [from Liverpool] but he writes good poems." The boy lives in the North East of England.

When I first read the title I thought it meant he wanted to die young, but no. His website is here, and so worth reading.

I can't seem to find any definition of his use of "tumour". I thought it must be a misprint but I've found it the same word on many poetry sites. Maybe someone who is from England could explain? 
Please read Michelle Ann's comment!