Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thorns in my side

In rather over-sensitive fashion, I've hesitated about posting these photos, because I didn't want anyone to think they were some allegory for my inward state: burned out, smouldering, thorny ... none of which is really the case.  Just as I was going out for a quick turn around the block a couple of weeks ago, Tom said he might light the bonfire and burn the berberis cuttings.  This shrub forms a hedge to the right of our house.  It has small pale yellow sprays of flowers with a perfume like that of heaven itself in the spring, and thorns of incomparable savagery all the time.  It is something of a worry and has lately been the source, or at least the catalyst, of our final (we hope) severing of all relations with Charmless Dutch Bulb Growing Neighbour (- who is proof that, The Princeling, Lovely Sister and The Quiet American notwithstanding, to have one's own capitalised epithet on this blog does not automatically mean one is held in affection and esteem here).  

Anyway, enough about that, you don't want to know, really you don't ... although I was so pleased with the carefully drafted and crafted 'Dear Charmless' letter that I sent him to make it official that I was quite tempted to publish it here.  I am not always a nice person.  

Back to the berberis (I note that Chrome's built in spell-checker, which nags and snickers at me with a little wiggly red line when I make a typo or spelling error, does not recognise the name of this shrub, nor the word princeling .  Neither does it approve the words Google, blog or Blogger, which is somewhat ironic and perverse of it, I reckon, though it didn't bat an eyelid at tarantella, which surprised me).  The plant also clearly contains high levels of volatile oils, and burns with a satisfying crackle even when green, so by the time I returned less than a half-hour later, I was a little disappointed to find the bonfire was no more, mere scorched remnants, charcoal and ashes, wisps of smoke, and here or there the tiny flicker of a flame.  



















But I rather liked it anyway.

~~~

Just adding my tuppence worth of griping about Blogger's new image upload thing, which won't upload images.  Or at least not on the main computer, it just keeps saying 'server error'.  It works OK on the newer little mini notebook, but that's got so little memory and such a tiny screen for photo editing that it's really quite inconvenient to work from there all the time.  So I have either to go to settings and change back to the old post editor,  with all its drawbacks, rummage in my memory to recall how it works, then change settings back to the new editor so as to be able to blow the pictures up to extra-large, which doesn't exist on the old one, or else upload the photos to a Picasa web album and access them from there on the smaller computer  as I can't do that either on the big one, and this also creates duplicates and uses up my already over half-full allowance, or else I have to use the 'blog this' function from Picasa, but that only allows you three pics per post so if I want any more I have to do multiple posts, then go over to the small computer and transfer them all onto one post and keep unpublished ghost posts hanging around because if you delete them you lose the photos from everywhere... are you still following this?  

And even when I can get it to work I don't like the new format of it so much anyway.  I've just spent rather too long on a Blogger help forum establishing that I'm not the only one with these problems, and that there are really some very strange and disturbed people who hang out on Blogger help forums.  Neither of which facts helps me much.

Did I say I wasn't feeling thorny...?

Count your blessings, Lucy.  You have a nearly full tank of petrol, and a half-term holiday already.  Shut up and stop whingeing ( spell-checker doesn't like that word either).   

17 comments:

Reluctant Blogger said...

I just thought I'd pop in and say hello, really. I don't have anything wise to say about nasty neighbours, berberis or image uploading but I do rather miss chatting to you. I must email you. Can't really chat properly here.
I did once dig up a rose bush in a fit of temper because it tore my favourite frock.

Pearl said...

Wandering around the internet and found you. :-) Loved the photos!

Pearl

marja-leena said...

Sorry to hear about your problems with Blogger and other nasty things, but the beauty of your photos must make up for all that! Just amazing , breathtaking images, Lucy, I'm quite envious :-)

Rouchswalwe said...

How do you do the things you do? Those photos are "kick-ass" (as the young ones around here are fond of saying). I am guilty of just turning off the auto spell checker/grammar checker functions. Can't handle the squiggleyness ... is it pride? I don't know.

Zhoen said...

Love the aroma of burning wood. A lot of it about today, to my nose's joy.

christopher said...

From thorny neighbors to thorny plants to thorny problems. I love the post but am sad that you, my friend, have these bumps in the road.

I have no solutions about posting photos or thorny neighbors and apparently someone brave enough actually handled the brambles, but I do know that Blogger wants you to spell it *whining* rather than *whingeing*, which I just proved by getting the redline (also disapproved of) only under the latter. This may mean the spell checker is American, not Brit. Whaddaya think? Yup. Another redline, but not on *yup*...

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Wow! Straight back to my childhood when we were ALLOWED to burn leaves. I remember piles of Plane leaves smouldering in the gutter. Not any more.

PurestGreen said...

Beautiful photos. I love the texture and rich colours. I miss autumn brush and leaf burning - there is something about getting ready for winter, and that smokey smell in the air.

Oh, and I also hate the new Blogger photo uploader thingy. Urg.

Lucy said...

Thanks all, welcome Pearl andRB, Cosmo and Purest Green, nice to see you again!

Please don't worry about our neighbourly falling out, it was weeks ago and I've not lost any sleep over it! The ins and outs of other people's hostilities are rather tedious. I think we did quite well, kept on civil terms with him longer than many have - it's not just us - and now we're not at war or anything, we've just put a firm distance between him and us to prevent worse fall-out. He's not evil or anything; in fact one of the rather exasperating things about him is he's never entirely in the wrong! It's just his attitude, his person and his total want of generosity, charm or imagination that put's one's back up. Anyway...!

We too have rules about the where and when of bonfires, though not alwways very strictly adhered to. From September on they're fine if in a safe place. Ours is very much out in the open away from the house or other hedges

I always eschewed any kind of spell-checker before, perhaps wrongly since my spelling is ok but not impeccable, -ent and -ant suffixes are sometimes a weak point, among other things, and we can all fall foul of typos. This one is automatic with Chrome, it seems, and with the tiny netbook keyboard I find I make a lot of slips, so I don't mind it pointing them out. It's just a bit odd what it does and doesn't approve of. I would have thought 'berberis' was better known than 'tarantella'.

With regard to 'whingeing', it is very much a British, and Australian, expression. Many years ago, I think it may have been over a cricket controversy, the Aussies took to calling us 'whingeing Poms', which somewhat immortalised the term. ('Aussies' is OK, 'Poms' gets the red line...)

Anyway, glad you liked the pictures; the shrub really does have quite a pretty leaf shape, which stands out well against the dark charred background.

Barrett Bonden said...

Never eschew antipathies: they release a whole new set of adjectives which you may not have used in a coon's age (PC? I'm never sure.) As an all-the-year-round resident in France you are able to take advantage of the burning laws, I see. I dismantled a hideous old shed and baulked at sticking the dubiously transmogrified planks into the car for transportation to the dump. I asked at the Mairie whether I might incinerate them in my garden but it turned out there was an extremely long window of lack-of-opportunity (April to mid-October) when this was forbidden. So I put them in the garage, curious mutant puffballs grew on them, these exploded spraying orange dust everywhere, forcing me to enquire with some trepidation at the pharmacie (the centre of all knowledge about mushrooms and related growths) what I had wrought. At least I had the satisfaction of bringing all business in the pharmacie to a halt while I told my tale. As I say, burning would have been easier.

Jean said...

Wonderful photos.

I have all the same gripes with Blogger image upload.

Kelly said...

The woes of spell checkers, when you right click you can add the word to the dictionary. I find myself doing that quite often since I manufacture words to fit my meanings more often that looking for the appropriate, already defined word that should be used. At any rate, I hate spell check almost as bad as I do the auto-complete on my phone, arghhh!!!!

As always, great pictures. I too have the occasional neighbor issues and have produced many a rant in response. Last night when I was out running about in the nations Capitol, I stopped in a shop that has some nice near-winter wear available and in an effort to become a better neighbor I purchases a Mr. Rogers type sweater to wear (hoping is has the proper effect).

Fantastic Forrest said...

I do SO love your writing and gorgeous pictures. Your blog is a wonderful tonic whenever I need a lift.

Don't worry about feeling thorny. Perpetual Pollyannas are boring. Besides, I'm sure you compensate with a perfume like that of heaven. I'm just grateful I'm not subject to your incomparable savagery. Heh.

Anil P said...

Reminded me of an old saying: Good fences make for Good Neighbours.

Apparently it's not always true.

Nimble said...

I think we Americans call them barberry bushes. My plant knowledge is thin but that sounds like something I've heard before and berberis is new to me.

20th Century Woman said...

Stunningly beautiful photos. Too bad about your charmless neighbor. I am so lucky that here in Alaska our neighbor has just moved his receiver so that we now intermittently can get on line and I can again read my blogs and comment!

Fire Bird said...

3rd or 5th pic would have been so great for Smoke and Ash if you'd have let me use one... lovely...