Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some things that have given me pleasure...(because I've moaned enough lately!)

The consistent creative initiative and talent of some people around here never ceases to amaze, delight and sometimes, I'm afraid, discourage me rather, but I try not to give way to that!

Dave Bonta and Dana Guthrie-Martin have come up with a fantastic idea for a poetry site. (I mean, that Dave's going to have to pull his finger out, he's only running a blog I only don't go to more often because I know if I do I could be there all day reading and following up links, then a one-a-day Shutterchance photoblog, a Twittering microblog, one for his homeplace, Pummer's Hollow, then doing qarrtsiluni, overseeing Festival of the Trees, and who know what else... Lazy git.)

The new one's called Postal Poetry . The stipulation is that you write a poem on the front of a postcard-sized photograph, it doesn't have to be a real postcard but it must be the size of one, so the poem length is necessarily limited by that. According to a post at Dave's, people often used to write on the front of postcards, and someone speculated that the choice of image composition might be influenced by the available writing space afforded. Of course with Photoshop and such like, one can choose light text to go over dark areas, etc. some people over-write the images, others work around them. It really is a fascinating idea and a delightful site, and there's some cracking good people contributing to it.

Which is why I was more than pleased when they took my offering, which was 'written' on a facsimile old black and white photo from a museum we visited in Morbihan last year. It's here.

Because drawing and painting is still an infrequent enough part of my activities to be worthy of remark, here's the latest watercolour pencil offering. I am pleased with it, though it's even more slavishly tight than ever. An unlooked-for benefit of Flickr is that posting pictures other than photographs has led me to various art groups which poke me to do a bit more of this kind of thing.


Inspired in part by Annie, who is alarmingly young and alarmingly clever, and has recently reappeared in this corner of the blogging universe, and who draws compulsively and excellently, including from films and telly while she watches them, I've taken to keeping notebook and pen with me while watching, lest I feel moved to doodle or scribble. I feel it also makes it a less passive experience. I like the way one notebook does all, so mine contains prose, poems, journallings, doodles, shopping lists, lesson plans etc. It is quite hard to buy plain or simply lined notebooks here, the French favour squares, vertical as well as horizontal divisions, which I have often thought perhaps said something about their mentality, but now I've found I'm rather used to them, and even find myself slightly daunted by a blanker page...

I've been enjoying some of BBC4's strand on the history of arts programming on TV, including John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing', which I missed both first and second times around, though I've read bits of the book. Also the block of editions of 'Monitor' on Sunday night. I'm too young to remember 'Monitor'; the reviews have been a bit sniffy and amused about it, referring to its 'cobwebby charm', and saying you really have to be more interested in the subject matter than caring about the style of it, but to me it just feels like coming home. I gaze at the grainy black and white footage, listen to Huw Weldon's dry patrician tones, and slip comfortably into a premature (maybe...) state of fartish old reactionaryism and think 'Ah, now this is how arts documentaries should be!'

I enjoyed Henry Moore at home, so deceptively gentle and unassuming, saying how he had to stop reading Neumann's book about archetypes in his work, because, he said in effect, if he found out to much about why he did what he did he might have to stop doing it.

And I loved the Betjeman/Larkin film. (Sorry, I can't really find any links worth bothering with for this...). The first part, with Betjeman on the beach in Lincolnshire, 'Tennyson's county... three-quarters sky', looking across at Hull, I could have hung on my wall in all its monochrome gorgeousness. I'm not a Larkin expert at all; I know he was not a particularly nice person, and revelations since his death have revealed more of his sad- and seediness, but like many people, I have in my life often been stayed and cold-comforted by his clear-eyed stoicism, his putting-his-finger-on-it observations of life, his facing the emptiness, his occasional pessimistic compassion and still more occasional compassionate optimism ( 'What will survive of us...'). Oddly, for all his iconic Grumpy Old Man status, I think he is a young person's poet. He showed us that beyond all the largely put-on romantic agony, the supposedly passionate political posturing, the generally tiresome and tiring earnestness of youth, it was possible to face the underlying fear of pointlessness, the knowledge that it's hard now and it doesn't get any easier, but that there might be a tolerable way through.

And I liked the rather embarrassed and inarticulate way he talked about the beauty of the evening skies over the river in Hull, as though to confess being impressed with something as cornily, naturally beautiful was somewhat letting the side down.

So, a couple of haiku that came with the doodle. They rhyme, which is probably the equivalent of drinking sake with burger and chips or something equally crass, but the first one did it of its own accord, and then it was easy to get the other one to do it.

Henry Moore on 'Monitor'

Utterly humble

utterly sure, he'll mumble

but never stumble.

Larkin on 'Monitor'

Sunset on Hull, rose

and gold, y'know (sigh) there goes

another evening...

~and another, which has nothing to do with the above and doesn't rhyme, but because I like haiku in threes.

Autumn morning

Tom in red fleece, black

fleece leggings. Outside the jays

busy with acorns.

(Anyone any idea how to stop Blogger double spacing when you don't want it and doing it when you do?)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


It always seems to be like this. The last Sunday of September, or the first one of October, and it's the most ravishingly beautiful morning of the year: autumn sun burning through a silky mist, the world a gossamer fairyland, fragile and ephemeral, hanging in a moment of equinoctal, yearning balance. And then it is all broken and bruised, and we are under siege.

If you asked me what I really disliked about living in France, la chasse would be top of the list, perhaps really the only thing, at least that has impinged on me directly, and it's one reason why I wouldn't want to live deeper into the country. It's relatively low-key here, partly because the countryside is more heavily developed, there is more housing and intensive farming and less habitat for wild creatures to live in, which is otherwise a shame, and also the people are somehow less entrenchedly, aggressively France profonde, which isn't.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a hard-line bunny hugger. I appreciate that we, humankind, have buggered up the natural order so that intervention is sometimes necessary to control certain species. I am not a vegetarian and am party to the killing of animals for food - as I would be even if I were a vegetarian. I'm even quite partial to a slice of pigeon pie (pigeons which I have bought imported and frozen from the UK, I've never seen wild pigeon on sale here and wouldn't buy it if I had...), and consider that perhaps creatures living wild and wary then killed suddenly might be better off than domesticated ones who either live stressful and unhappy lives - as do wild animals - or, if treated with kindness, are then shamefully betrayed and killed by us. I try not to think of the pigeons which, like poor Tess's pheasants, are shot but not killed.

In general, I find the idea of pursuing and killing an animal for fun repellent, however one tries to justify it, but my hatred of la chasse is not only based on animal-loving sentimentality. It is the whole cult of hunting I detest, its arrogance and arrogation, its invasive aggression, its sheer bloody noisiness. It exemplifies to me how the coarse and loud and invasive will always oppress and walk all over the quiet and peaceable.

The first Sunday of the season is possibly the worst. It's essentially a big party of banging, crashing, shouting, barking and baying, sounds a little like a football match with dogs and firearms. The dogs are kept penned up and half-starved for half the year, and are often ill-trained and out of control, the men bawl and jeer and bellow at them unceasingly, in between random-sounding bursts of gunshot, then frequently lose them so they wander forlornly around the roads and fields over the following days. Our neighbour once lost his whole small flock of chickens to a rogue stray hunters' dog.

The mornings are noisy, the afternoons, in some areas at least, often dangerous. The doughty Nimrods gather together and get drunk, so their driving and shooting become increasingly haphazard. In truth, I don't actually remember seeing any hunters actually with any shot game, though we have found the bloodied corpses of a pair of collared doves left on the ground, presumably not considered worth the plucking. They're probably either making too much racket or are too drunk to get anywhere near them.

However, as I say, it's comparitively not so bad here. The rules, guns must be broken within 100 metres of habitation, no shooting in hours of darkness, two hours off at lunchtime, are broadly if not universally observed, though we've had occasion to complain about a shower of lead that flew over Tom's head and clattered on the lean-to roof as he was on a ladder at the hedge. They generally stick to Sundays and Thursdays, which is a shame if you've a young family, for example, and want to take them for a promenade in the country of a Sunday, but it's usually quiet on other days, unless they're after foxes. It is mainly abundant or nuisance species (yes, I know that term is loaded and arguable) such as pigeons or rabbits, or those which are specially stocked and released, such as pheasants or partridge. Many of the latter, especially, survive and breed, and the sight of a pair of partridge with a brood of chicks in the spring or summer is an occasional pleasure. Elsewhere, rare species of wildlife are targetted and caught in the crossfire, and those people who attempt to confront and stop this have a difficult time of it.

Here, you can put up signs and keep hunters off your land, they'll assume the right to come on it if you don't. In other parts of the country the chasseurs have automatic access to your property whether you like it or not. You can register your patch as a reserve with ASPAS, as we have, which gives you a legal right to ban them, but this is often seen as direct provocation which elicits threats and violent reprisals, including vandalism, arson, killing and wounding of domestic animals, and sometimes actual aggression to persons. The ASPAS magazine, as well as reporting more positive actions and alliances towards ecology and conservation, contains a litany of these kind of barbarisms. They are well documented there and elsewhere, and this rant could become overlong, but a notable example are the conservationist and ornithologist in the Brière marshland reserve a few years ago, who had set up a public observation facility, but had his hides and boats persistently attacked and burned out and finally, reluctantly left, driven out.

Where the conservation initiative involves protecting or reintroducing larger predator species, such as wolves or brown bears, the reaction is even more darkly, weirdly violent. A town in the Pyrenees with an ecologically-minded mayor and council, near to where a family of brown bears had been reintroduced, was seeking to establish itself as a centre for eco-tourism. The town was invaded by an armed mob, who graffitied the mairie, the primary school and the road surface with abusive language and the message 'We're going to kill the bears!' They then, almost ritually and to the cheers of the surrounding men, doused a beautiful life-sized commissioned sculpture of a brown bear in the town square with petrol and burned it.

The rationalisation for this animus, which is perhaps quite interesting from an anthropological point of view but less so if you're a bear or otherwise on the receiving end of it, is that the predators kill sheep and other livestock. Sheep farming in mountain regions is economically precarious, bears or no bears, but the numbers of sheep killed by a family or two of bears or even wolves are few compared with those killed by stray dogs, many of which are hunters' dogs, and the farmers are fully compensated above the market value. There is a programme to train and supply the shepherds with the beautiful patou, the Pyreneen mountain dog, who live with and guard the flock and are big and strong enough to deter the bears and wolves. Lately some of these dogs have been deliberately poisoned. The speculation is that this has been done by people hostile to any measures favourable to the reintroduction of the predator species.

I am aware that we may appear as typical townie/foreigner incomers who try to interfere ignorantly in local ways and customs. The first autumn we arrived here the situation was a shock to us. We had no garden, fences or hedges and everyone, hunters included, had been in the habit of using our land as an access and through-way, and as we were still scrambling around on our half-finished roof in the October of that year, we could always see when there were hunters on the field. Run-ins with them were tediously frequent, but we found we had more quiet sympathy round about than we might have expected. The people we chased off and argued with were not our neighbours; Victor's son comes down from St Brieuc to shoot sometimes, but is generally quiet about it, alone with a couple of dogs. We approached him politely the first winter, fussed his dogs and said we preferred not to have hunting on our land, and he has always respected this. To hear the politicised hunting lobby talk, you would think that everyone in France did it or loved those who did, but though they are numerous and powerful, the chasseurs are not so well-respected as they make out. However, they are loud, aggressive and intimidating. The story goes that the common man reclaimed the right to hunt where he wished after the Revolution, having been denied this means to supplement the pot of his hungry family by the wicked aristos, and no one will now take it from him, but really it seems that one kind of bullying and corrupt political power has taken over from another.

Now we are less confrontational. Our hedges have grown up and we skulk behind them. Molly and I stick to the roads and the lunchtime window for our walks, or drive to the plan d'eau, where hunting isn't allowed. Our ASPAS sign has been torn down, presumably deliberately, and I'm afraid we haven't replaced it. What the eye don't see... We go on paying our ASPAS subscription out of solidarity with the courageous people who go on taking a stand in parts of the country where to do so is to put yourself at serious risk. There are perhaps fewer hunters hereabouts than there were, the licenses and guns are expensive, and the younger men have perhaps found other things to do, like tearing up the countryside on quad bikes, which is scarcely better, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nine square

Harvest moon.

Helli's hand, with a pod of broom.

Gear and tackle and trim at the Briquetterrie railway.

Stop and go.

Peacock on sedum.

New foal in the field.

Puffball in the pan.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A cat and a puffball

We found this puffball in a field. The wedding ring is to give it scale. It was the smaller of two, the other was larger than a football. I love th bouncy noise they make when you tap them. Lovely sister and I are going to eat it sliced with garlic and bacon.

Still really on furlough from blogging. Meanwhile, enjoy Simon's cat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bothered from abroad. Then back to ickle pretty flowers, cute doggy paws, stick figures and other miscellanea.

A cloud of dark and troubling thoughts about the US elections, and I've had little heart for posting here whilst under it. Leaving supportive messages in many people's comments boxes, abandoning others, yet not saying much for myself. Feeling outraged and appalled and powerless.

A little tired of hearts and flowers and being sensitive and poetic and caring about pleasing anyone and everyone and not giving offence. Other people don't seem to worry about this, they wear their political hearts on their sleeves on their blogs from the outset, and express themselves as they wish.

I don't do politics here, I've said before. I loathe blogs and forums full of acrimonious so-called debate, and heaven knows there are enough of them. They bore, depress and irritate me. I don't have the will or the head for that. I have always been frustrated by my own inarticulacy in these matters, the need to be fair and balanced, the fear of being browbeaten. I hate conflict. I want to feel safe and I want to be liked; I want to be able to share the trivia of all our comings and goings and troubles and joys with nice sympathetic readers. I hate the idea of losing friends, I'd like to think one could maintain friendships across divisions of political opinion, but...

This worldwide poll says nearly five to one of the Rest of the World want Obama for president. We know who we are.

This even larger number of American women, aged from 18 to 89, responded and offered their views voluntarily. I didn't read them all; even the fairly small selection of the 100,000 letters more or less of one accord became a little bit samey after a while, though in a good way. Nevertheless, it's heartening, I only hope they represent enough.

Enough, I'm not picking fights. I've got too much and too little to say. As I said, I leave sympathetic messages where I've sympathy, and leave the rest alone. It seems a good policy.

And now for more hearts and flowers, and cheery nonsense, on the basis that that's what I'm good at, and I need cheering up.

On the way to Rosie's, a field of flowers to lift the heart. Perhaps half an acre of them, all blooming riotously. I just couldn't stop clicking.


I finally took the plunge and took Molly to a poodle parlour. I was tired of the hideous knots in her fur, especially the paws, and of the battles involved in trying to groom or trim them out myself. I expected a terrible scene, but, up on the table with a restraining leash at each end, a muzzle and me holding her, she acknowledged herself beat and gave in with a fairly good grace.
The trouble is she now looks like a poodle. A very peculiar one, especially at the back end.

When she rolls around on her back Tom says she looks like a stranded beetle. But I have to say it is lovely to see her paws so clean and neat, and her shiny black toe-nails, which she even allowed them to cut.


My latest favourite photo groups on Flickr are 'Stick Figures in Peril', and the smaller but equally important 'Stick Figures who have the Situation Under Control'. This was my contribution to the latter, which I noticed on a walk at the water mill.

I hadn't so far found any stick figures in peril, but while lying awake at 3 in the morning worrying about everything from the usual Tom's-and-Molly's-health to female genital mutilation via how we were going to wallpaper the ceiling over the stairs, the apparent impossibility of a post-oil economy, and Sarah Palin, I resolved to make myself feel better in the morning with some swift and wholesome action. I would take the Karcher first to my car, which had sweet little mossy Zen gardens growing in the corners of the windows and mudguards (Joe tells me his Morris Traveller grew so much greenery on the woodwork that it became invisible when parked under a tree...), and then to the bathroom extension wall, which I painted about ten years ago and had since turned from beige rose to mucky green.

The Karcher, and ours isn't, any more than our vacuum cleaner is a Hoover, is a high pressure water cleaner and de rigueur accessory for French households, where it is usually wielded by the man of the house. Something to do with the public peeing thing, I think ( 'a good Frenchman' our friend Jean-Jacques told us 'never pisses alone'). It also gained some notoriety as the tool with which Sarkozy claimed he was going to cleanse the racaille from the banlieux, which shows something of the extent of its assimilation into the cultural context.

Applying it to the BX, I was led to observe the resilience of spiders' webs; a jet capable of stripping the paint from the bumper left strands of them still hanging on in there.

Having rendered both car and extension free of moss, I noticed an example of Stick Figures in Peril on the body of the Karcher. One should on no account, it seems, aim one's Karcher at people walking dogs and carrying document wallets.


I've been playing with the colouring sticks again. This was from a photo I took of some greengages last year. I was going to use the photo to illustrate an extract from Rumer Godden's book 'The Greengage Summer', but then I got a little bothered about copyright, contacted her estate website, but then rather lost interest in the whole project.

I'm getting some Derwent Inktense pencils; Tom's bought them already ( I'm not really supposed to know this) but I might have to wait till my birthday. They're deeper and more translucent than these ordinary ones.


Blogger told me the other day I had a 'follower'. A little bonhomme in green showed up on my dashboard. This is evidently some new Blogger thing. It turned out to be Avus, ahead of the game as ever. Avus is Herhimnbryn's real life dad who rides Rudge bicycles, with which I have a family connection, so I'm very happy to have him as a follower, though he might overtake me on the Rudge. I doubt that he's a camp follower, probably more like a caravan one...


My lovely sister is coming to stay for a week or so, as ever cause for great rejoicing, and making up somewhat for the trips I've had to cancel this year. So I'll likely be a bit absent hereabouts. I'll try to take some pictures.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Just wait.
Dry- and dreariness resolve,
the weight shifts (not lifts...)
Ennui turns from boredom
into clear-eyed grief, now
to be understood, simply
as love.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

More flowers, and some large hips.

Charmless Dutch Bulb-Growing Neighbour has done a charming thing. Or rather his Thai wife has. She brought round some bulbs a couple of weeks ago, as an aid to Tom's recovery, or a pretext for enquiring after him.

'Put them on a plate, in the house, for flowers. After, put them in the garden.'

She told me a name, which I forgot. I wasn't too sure about the plate either, and thought perhaps she meant a bowl. She and the CDB-GN speak a strange form of English together, she is valiantly learning French, and poor little Marcel, their two-year old, is not quite sure what he's supposed to be speaking. He's known as 'poor little M' mostly because the name Marcel is so desperately unfashionable in France these days that whenever you mention it to anyone French they always grimace and say 'Poor little thing', or words to that effect. I can't quite think of an equivalently unfashionable boy's name in English, perhaps Cyril? Which, interestingly, is in fact quite trendy in French, as are Doris and Fanny for girls. (He is also the object of no little sympathy on account of his having CDB-GN for a father, but we're trying to get over that, and persuade ourselves of the latter's good qualities.)

But to come back to the bulbs. I compromised and put them in a shallow dish. They were very odd looking bulbs, smooth and dark brown, with no rootlets at the base, and anaemic, fat white shoots worming out of them. which have now burst into these.

Ah, I thought, autumn crocus! Thanks for the autumn crocus, I said to CDB-GN, next time I saw him. No, not crocus, no relation, he asserted, but this other name, and gave me a lecture on plant taxonomy and the number of important reproductive bits in crocuses, tulips and these things respectively.

I stood by my guns; but we call them autumn crocus, they're what saffron comes from, I assured him. No, they're poisonous. In English they are called naked ladies.

These words dropping from his lips were slightly disturbing. Better not look that up on the internet I thought. But I did look up what I thought he said, and found that they are indeed autumn crocus, colchicum. And she was right about the plate: they don't need any soil or growing medium, you can just put them on a plate in the light and out they come. Out of curiosity I then googled CDB-GN. (Why does googling someone you know always feel a bit weird? Does everyone do it?). He is clearly well-respected in the bulb trade, but keeps himself to himself.

Saffron is a spice I have little luck with, perhaps because I am simply too cautious and mean to use it with the profligacy it requires, or to buy good enough quality. I like it that that the flower is the complementary colour of that associated with the spice, purple to yellow.

I first bought it about twenty years ago on the island of Simi, in the Dodecanese, where I went on a day trip from Rhodes, a beautiful place, as I remember it, a stone's throw from the Turkish coast, with elegant Venetian looking villas on the waterfront. Much of the trade to tourists seemed to be in herbs and spices, and better than the saffron was a bag of heavy, fuzzy-leaved sage that an old lady was rubbing in a big plastic bowl on her lap, sitting outside her house. Good for the throat, she indicated, miming a cough, and it really was, I made it into tisane with honey several times, and it always worked.

Regarding the rosehips.

I failed to get the set on the jelly, so in fact it resembled nothing so much as Delrosa rosehip syrup, and was similarly bland and sugary. I was obliged to pour it back out of the jars, but hope I have just rescued it with the addition of the juice of a couple of lemons, which will have added pectin and also a little much-needed sharpness. I was surprised at the natural level of sugar in the hips themselves. I still squeezed the bag. I'm not entirely convinced that the impurities that threaten to make it cloudy wont't rise to the surface where they can be skimmed off anyway. But I won't start a fight about it. If the jelly's OK, I'll make some scones and photograph it posing on top of them.


So once more, I have failed to revive the essay in English as a serious and incisive form in the medium of blogging, and wittered on about food and holidays years ago and my neighbours instead.


I also wanted to share a useful tip which doubtless everyone already knows about, as indeed did I, but which I had never actually put into practice. To shrink photographs for uploading to Blogger or elsewhere, highlight them all in the My Pictures folder, then in the side taskbar select 'e-mail these files' and then Windows will offer to shrink them for you. Then e-mail them to yourself, save the attachments, and upload these. They'll be a handy size for the web, will upload quickly, won't use up your allowance, and it's much faster than messing about with Photoshop. Of course this is only if you're a cruddy PC Windows XP user like me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Unfocussed ( with two 's'es or one...)

I don't seem to be posting much. I have many things going round in my head, and plenty of photos, but then I find some other useful thing I ought to be doing, or when I sit down here I find myself wandering off to Flickr and browsing around, uploading the odd picture and finding yet another group to join, the latest being one themed on melancholy and another two on cows.

Our friend who cuts our hedges has arrived, and is setting about the heroic task of bringing to some order the many miles of cypress, thuja, laurel, photinia, viburnam, and berberis which we ambitiously planted thinking to make our little acre look like Little-Hidcote-de-la-Bretagne, then found it was beyond our powers and our hedge trimmer to keep in order, and mostly our garden looks more like Hidcote six months after the end of the world. In order to minimise what we have to pay him and the time he has to spend here, when he could probably be earning better money doing something easier, I am trailing round after him raking and sweeping. Yesterday it rained so much I was very quickly literally wet to the skin, but we soldiered on, and the turpentiney smell of cut cypress, and scents of bruised geranium, lovage, sweet cicely and others was rather delightful . Today it is sunny, and I should be out there now.

I've also brought back a large bag of rugosa rosehips from this morning's walk, to supply my current jelly-making fit. I am of an age to find the flavour of rosehips, from childhood rosehip syrup, very nostalgic. It retained scarcely any of the vitamin C which was its raison d'etre, and it rotted our teeth, but it was delicious anyway.

And I have received a couple of nice compliments. Dave King, from whom a compliment is very well-received, says I am a KICK-ASS BLOGGER. Unfortunately, I've forgotten how to put the little logo thing on here, and ama bit pushed for time, so you'll have to take my word for it. As I say, this is a very handsome compliment from someone who is clearly a scholar and a gentlemen, who writes excellent, quirky, thoughtful and erudite poetry and essays and who sparks many an intelligent discussion over at his blog Pic and Poems.

I won't nominate anyone for the award, as really you're all very kick-ass, I reckon. I would recommend, however, you go and visit Tori's wonderful food blog, Love Apples, because she'll make your mouth water in general, and wrote this delicious post about blackberry fool after reading my bramble jelly one. She hails from Montreal and is a friend of Beth's, but spends a lot of time in Europe and Hungary in particular whence she came originally, I think, and she's adorably, scarily passionate and clever about food. She describes blogging as for 'exhibitionist introverts', which is just perfect, and I wish I'd thought of it.

The other nice thing was that one of my photos of blackberries got seen on Flickr and asked for for a web news magazine, Now Public, for this article about how people don't forage enough wild food any more. I think quite a lot of photos are chosen for these articles, so there are enough for a slide show, but it was a pleasant surprise anyway. Internet news magazines I often find a bit overwhelming and time consuming, but it looks quite a good, interesting site. My photos the one by 'Garlic chicken' which is me on Flickr. Funny how your mind goes a blank trying to think of a name, so you choose the first thing that comes into your head and get stuck with it...

So, that'll have to do, sometime or other I'll do a proper post. Dick asked for some photos of sunshine, so here's a drop from last night, when Phoebus deigned to show his face after the rain gods had soaked me all day, on a couple of dahlias and my prize pumpkin, which is now about the size of a toddler's football.