Sunday, 15 May 2011

Share My Window-Box, 2

Everything is conspiring against me! Actually, I think everyone else in my area is experiencing another Google crash - I just started to write today’s collection of random bollocks to offer for your delectation, when the page froze and Google disappeared altogether, so I tested the system by by-passing my hard-wired router, switching on ‘Airport’, then cheekily piggy-backing on the back of a neighbor’s signal which my clever iMac had picked up on, called ‘Belkin Guests’. That didn’t work, even though the signal is so strong that I think it must be my next-door neighbor. So to save time while the Google mechanics respond to the klaxon siren which must be screaming in their ears right now, I am composing this particular collection of random bollocks on the word-processor, then I’ll paste it into Blogger when Google have got their act together and executed another trainee engineer - aren’t you lucky?!

The video below is from our front window, and shows Peter (‘The Street’) Brown giving a demonstration of how to paint city-scapes whilst being distracted by about 20 needy people all asking the same questions at the same time.

You may remember a photo of ‘Pete The Street’, standing ankle-deep in snow and slush on the same pavement that I posted up last winter, painting the view down Great Pulteney Street toward the (newly opened, refurbished) Holburne Museum. Pete is now world-renowned for standing anywhere on the streets of Bath in any weather, painting very proficient pictures of familiar scenes. They sell like hot-cakes and, unfortunately, he produces them like hot-cakes too, so he is turning into a bit of a pot-boiler. It is hard to see what else he can do now, because he must have painted every square inch of Bath - and very well too - but short of moving to a different town, I feel he is in something of a rut. Oh well, just so long as he is making enough money, he deserves the sales, even if it is on the strength of the sheer hard and uncomfortable work alone.

This clip was taken at around 6 o’clock last evening, and when I went back a couple of hours later, he and the same people were still there. He eventually finished as it started to rain and it got dark. I think it was the darkness that put a stop to it, as any kind of foul weather doesn’t normally seem to put him off.

The other photo (above) is the view from our rear window - the kitchen, actually - and shows our extensive garden which I feel duty bound to share with the less fortunate among you who may not be in the position to wander through such lush vegetation - gin and tonic in hand - as the sun goes down on a warm summer evening. I know that the garden seems to be surrounded by a dense growth of bamboo, but - in fact - this is a clever optical illusion made from bamboo kebab-sticks stuck upright into the fertile earth, which also serves to keep the pigeons from landing on the new shoots and flattening them. I found one sleeping on a crop a few years ago, and that's when I decided to discourage them, charming though they are (not).

The foliage to the left is ‘Apple Mint’, and we grow it in these vast quantities for culinary purposes. Far from being a commercial venture, what we do not consume ourselves in the season, we distribute amongst the poor of the community, wandering around suburbs like ‘Whiteway’ and knocking on the doors of meagre hovels, carrying baskets brimming over with the stuff - all covered with a clean, white cloth. We do the same with potato-peelings all year round, but don’t normally like to talk about the charitable side of our characters.

This variety of mint is so much nicer than the ‘Spearmint’ type that is exclusively sold fresh in every supermarket these days, and this is the third crop we have had from the cutting given to us by a friend. Next year, it will need re-potting.

The young shoots in the two pots to the right is ‘Night-scented Stock’ (or ‘Night-scented socks’ as a friend of mine calls it) and we grow it every year for the heavenly scent that the little flowers give off on a warm, summer night.

I have a theory that this plant only gives off perfume at night in order to attract moths to pollenate it, so Her Indoors is tormented every year - torn between the desire to drink in the scent in the evenings, and the innate instinct to protect her vast wardrobe of designer clothing from attack by the little golden creatures which I call ‘Armani Moths’. No amount of reassurance from me that these insects are keener on bird’s nests than Paul Smith, or that I have never yet seen one of them fluttering around the Stock flowers will placate her, so her summers are a disturbing mixture of exquisite pain and pleasure - anticipation and dread - juxtaposed side by side, and this condition lasts (like Horse-Flies) right through until the end of September. In any event, whatever damage is going to occur is done by then, so she might as well relax and enjoy the evenings without rummaging around in her clothes-cupboard with torch and sweaty forehead.

This weekend has been designated (by me) as my final 60th birthday celebration, so we are going for lunch at U’s house (she with the knife and candlestick) in a couple of hours. This is why I am composing this garbage off-line, in order to give Google a chance at giving me my voice back for a few minutes. I suppose it is a bit of a miracle that they ever give us one in the first place, and the odd break-down is the least we can expect, but we don’t half come to rely on it - even expect it as a right - don’t we (I)?

(Correction: It seems to be my server and NOT Google who have cut me off from the outside world. Sorry Google.)

(Correction 2: It now seems as though neither Google nor my server were to blame - it was little old me! I re-booted the effing computor and am now back in the unreal world.)

(Warning 1: I have been waiting for about 20 minutes for this pissy little 1 minute video of Peter the painter to upload. If it takes much longer, I'm going to scrap it - it's just not worth the effort and I am beginning to lose my rag. H.I. hasn't helped either, by creeping up behind me and switching on a 200 decibel vacuum-cleaner with a word of warning. I almost had my second dump of the day.)


A man stands on a pavement with an easel. He is painting whilst about 20 people look on, occasionally making comments. That's it. Try to imagine this scene for approximately 1 minute, 42 seconds in order to get the full effect.


  1. Oh and before you ask, Cher, the answer is 'Yes'.

  2. I was going to ask the same question.

  3. You absolute pillock! Thanks for making me laugh & for the tour of your grounds.....beautiful! xxxxxxxxx

  4. Tease ...! To leave a girl hanging like that...

  5. bless......
    "silver surfers"
    don't you just love em?

  6. Dear Tom, kebab sticks do not a window-box make.

  7. Apple mint is great grown in pots - it spreads like wildfire if you plant it in the garden - a friend gave me a cutting as well, tell me about it! - you could probably supply the whole needy population of Bath with your generous nature Tom! And yes! I remember Pete the Street, what a great guy - you could always send him northwards to paint John's chickens - he'd make a mint! Have a great birthday meal tonight x

  8. How do you know about the hanging girl, Iris?

    Dear Cher - One swallow does not Anne Summers make.

    I don't think Pete's thigh muscles are sturdy enough to keep up with John's goat, Moll.

  9. At last, someone with a smaller inner city garden than me. Though clearly more successful. All my plants have long gone to paradise ( as the Persian poet Omah would say). I think I shall concentrate on random bollocks as I am far more accomplished at that. Oh, and Happy Birthday! as my original wishes seem to have been eaten by Blogger during its breakdown.

  10. I have never seen Applemint or maybe it is named differently here. Thanks for your garden tour.

  11. But do several larks require a trip to her shop?

  12. Thanks, Elegance.

    I think there are several names for it, Olive - let's ask Cher or someone with a real garden.

    You don't have to visit her shop, Cher - she will come round to your place with the goods if you ask her. A Brummy friend of mine had her round some years ago, and her (female) mates told me that the highlight of the evening was when she was holding a large, plastic object with both hands and shouting in a Birmingham accent, "How do you switch it off?"

  13. My iBook can pick up a wireless signal from a saguaro cactus in the middle of the desert, it's such an efficient little machine. I took it on my last trip and never had to pay for an internet hookup anywhere. I don't have a TV, haven't for years, but just discovered Hulu. My vow is to never have software on my iBook that is conducive to producing work. It's my little fun buddy.