Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain Blessings

Every year on this blog, I celebrate the Pagan festival of Samhain by noting the names of those who have gone on.

This year, my father passed away, so it is a particularly poignant day for me. Please join me by writing the name of those you love who are no longer here.

I have been a witness to the deaths of three of my parents. Death itself holds no fear for me. Dying is the hard part. For everyone involved. It's hard to say the final goodbye, to know that I'll never be able to pick up the phone and talk to them, never be able to have a cuddle, or share a joke with them ever again. Living remains the far greater challenge.

Whatever your spiritual flavour, or even if you have none. Leave their names and if you wish, their relationship to you. Today, is about remembering. The dead will never be forgotten as long as the living still speak their names.

I dedicate this post to Henry.

I miss you every day, Henry. I wish more than anything else that we had more time.

Update: I'm going to have an early night. Please feel free to write your names tonight, and in the coming week. I'll put the word verification back on next weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toxic Soup

A few weeks ago I told you I abandoned my desire to be a more eco-friendly gardener for slug pellets, weedkiller and weed'n'feed. The day after I put down the slug pellets, there were tiny invertibrate corpses rotting on my garden beds. I have been trying very hard not to feel guilty about it, but frankly, there were a helluva lot of dead snails and slugs. No wonder they were reducing my pride and joys to mere sticks. I haven't put any more down. Truthfully, as much as I did rejoice to see the murder and mayhem around me, I'm loathe to decrease their numbers further. After all, what will the toads and frogs eat?

The pond area looks fab. The pond itself has definitely benefitted from the clean-up and new plants. It's so clear, I can actually see the bottom. The frogs are still unimpressed, despite my getting them some more cover, in the shape of a floating plant and varigated mint. Ungrateful bastards, the lot of them. There wasn't even a Prince Charming in that lot. Let me tell you, frogs are cold on the lips this time of year.

My lawn, instead of being many shades of green, thanks to the 5 or 6 different species of grass and moss, is now a patchwork of green grass, bare earth and dead brown moss. I'm scratching my head here people. How is this supposed to be an improvement? I suppose, if I feel energetic at some point, I should rake it. Would you care to put money on the likelihood of that happening?

I went to see my IFA (Independent Financial Advisor, otherwise known as Wednesday to Friday Boss). It was slightly harrowing. He was obviously feeling a bit paternal. I got a lecture. He stopped short of waving a large pair of scissors and demanding my credit card.  I got the picture. No more retail therapy. No more buying house plants. No more Nottcutts.


Yes, I did promise I'll try to behave.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Co-Existing with Other Species

The Palais de Roses is an interesting place to be. You know from your visits here that I have a plethora of new house plants and The Cat and The Boy and a bunch of frogs I've kissed and refused to turn into Princes. Yes, I know Boy is now much taller than me and he's looking forward to his 17th birthday and driving lessons, but he's still The Boy to me, and I suspect he always will be.

But The Boy comes with added extras: friends.

There's his best friend, who quite frankly for all intents and purposes lives here. My couch is his bed most nights. He's so at home here, he puts away the groceries, does my dishes and doesn't mind being roped into gardening duties.

It's not unusual for me to go to bed and there are 2 teenagers stretched out on the floor killing things enthusiastically on the XBox. When I stagger down in the morning looking for my dose of Eine, there can be 4 or 5 bodies snoring gently in my front room.

It's not unusual when I cook, for me to prepare enough food for a few days. Or at least there was when I went to bed. In the morning, the pot is empty. Apparently, they like my cooking. Now when I do the shopping I make sure I get enough snacks in to feed a small army. Let me tell you, 3 or 4 teenagers eat enough for a small army. I'd go as far as to say a Plague of Locusts is nothing compared with a couple of hungry teenagers. They'll go through everything immediately edible and if it's not, they'll get the pots and pans out.

I like da yoof of today. They are lively and fun. They are apologetic if they've got too excited whilst killing things on the XBox and then face the grumpiness of me at 4 am. They'll cheerfully clear off, if I tell them I need some space and come back when I'm sociable. They ask me how my day has been, and tell me all about theirs and the latest encounters with chavs. We have indepth conversations on the meaning of life. I find them generous and caring, behind all the teenager speak. They'll spend hours on the phone with each other. They are loyal to a fault.

These are precious days.

In a few years, these teenagers will be adults. They'll be going off to university, getting jobs, travelling round the world, getting married, having children. That they choose to spend their time here on my living room floor, is just amazing. They fill my house with laughter and fun. I hope in the years to come that that we won't lose track of each other. That they'll continue to visit. Hopefully, with partners and then children.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


My teenagers have long memories. When I announced I was off to B&Q to get a replacement bulb for the shaving light for the downstairs bathroom, there was much rolling of eyes. I think bets were placed because when I came back with yet more plants and pots, money changed hands and there was much muttering.

The Streptocarpus, which quite frankly sounds like a condition requiring antibiotics, and the Calathea haven't survived my ministrations. On the other hand, the orchids, the african violets, ivy etc. seem to be doing very well. They haven't died off yet. It's a fine balance to be had, watering. It seems I have two modes: desert and tropical downpour; and for some reason some plants just don't like that. Fussy buggers.

Despite that, I'm very pleased with my mini-home jungle. Boy, is bitching that having a shower in the morning requires a cutlass and pith helmet. I don't know what's wrong with the teenager; here I am providing him with cheap adventures. After all, flights to the Amazon aren't cheap and there are the mosquitoes to contend with out there.

Todays purchase was a large devil's ivy for my bedroom (as well as some smaller ones and some half-priced orchids). I've a mind to wrap some fairy lights around it too. It's all very odd, but I'm going with it. Even if my credit card is shivering in the corner of a darkened room, whimpering and rocking. Poor thing.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The House of Love - Shine on 1987

In a garden in the House of Love....almost. But not quite.

Death and Destruction

Before I let myself loose on the weekend, I thought given the hideous amount of money I've spent on my garden and house plants (and accessories), I really ought to get out there and be productive (yeah I know, what's that about?).

First, I dealt with my greenery indoors. Jeez, what is it with houseplants? They're so bloody fussy. I've got one bitching I've over-watered it. It's curling up it's leaves and makes drowning noises every time I walk past it. I've got another bitching I'm not watering it enough. Ungrateful bastard, started gurgling when I watered it and moaned it's not a pond plant. Honestly, damn thing insisted the water level should not be up to the top of the planter. I had to empty it out again. Huh. Watering them apparently isn't good enough either. The orchids and foliage plants moaned their leaves were too dry. Please could I mist them? Bloody hell. Who do they think I am? Their bloody slave? And then, and then, (get this) they whinged about needed a change of view. Mug that I am, I had to turn them round. Ungrateful wretches, see if I re-home any more of these bloody strays.

That shenanigans left me in a grumpy mood. So out I go into my garden. Long term readers will know what my garden means to me. It's my Happy Place. Unfortunately, all the local snails and slugs also agree. Those nasty little invertebrates seem to think my only reason for existence is to feed them. The slimy buggers have done their best to reduce my spring planting to twigs. So much for my winter flowering pansies and rose-coloured bellis. Humpf. If they can't eat the leaves, they're eating the flowers. Well, I fixed them. Like a demented Tinkerbell I floated through my garden sprinkling blue fairy pellets to ruin their dinner. Hah! Take that; you pretties-munchers. Bwhahahahaha!

What passes for my lawn, which is actually a collection of different grasses and moss (lots of bloody moss, there's more moss than grass), it needs to have the last dose of weed'n'feed. I've been glued to the weather reports for 3 dry days for the month since I've been back from Trinidad. Yesterday was the first dry day forecasted. Unfortunately, due to the fact I have to work for a living (yeah, I know, commiserate with me) I couldn't get into the garden til the evening, at which point I didn't want to. This morning I go to do my sprinkly business and then, three quarters of the way through, I bloody well run out of weed'n'feed.

Oh come on.

You know what this means don't you? It means another trip to the damned garden centre. It means having to find the will-power to walk past all the pretties. Given I'm struggling with 'no' at the moment and my poor credit card is huddled in the corner rocking, crying and muttering to itself, I really don't hold out any hope of making it through with just the one item.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Working for a Living

What can I say? I'm deeply unimpressed by this working for a living lark.

It means I have to get up in the morning! Not only that, but there are two 6.30s in my day! Appalling. I mean fancy having to be up, and thanks to the change of seasons, before the sun? No more sleeping in, rolling out of bed at 9, maybe 10 o'clock. No more wandering around in my pink fluffy dressing gown and getting clean and dressed a few hours later. No more casual surfing on my favourite blogs and waiting to see what response my comments get. No more staring at my navel, Facebook, the garden, the Cat and my To Do List.

They expect me to turn up on time! What is it with these employers who expect people they've paid (reasonable) money and expect me to arrive at the same time every morning? Unreasonable. Everyone knows my time keeping is hampered by my West Indian heritage and my Pagan beliefs. I arrange all of my social activities with an 'ish' attached to the time agreed. Depending on my level of organisation that day, that 'ish' could be up to half an hour. Also, also, get this...they expect me to stay all day. Bitch please. Why would I want to be in one place that isn't my bed, for the whole day?

Not only that, they insist I be smartly dressed. Now I'm not opposed to dressing up, as well you, my loyal readers will know. But I'm a woman of extremes. I'm either comfortable in jeans and trainers or dressed by Karen Millen. My employers expect me to wear skirts, trousers and proper shoes. My less-than-sociable habit of having the odd unwashed day has had to be relegated to the weekends.

That leads me to my other major complaint about working Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.30. How the hell am I supposed to fit in my other necessary appointments? Like getting my hair done and the essential wax? Not to mention coffees in my favourite deli, 103. When am I going to be able to fit in going to the cinema in the afternoon with the Great Ursus and his Lovely? There goes our leisurly lunches in the Turkish cafe. Not to mention being able to call in and annoy Dave...he gets busier at the weekends seeing his new grandbaby and saving souls. It means if I want to do Yoga or a martial art I have to do it after work.

It's ridiculous. It really is. My employers want me to be pleasant. Both to their clients and to my colleagues. If you work, do tell me how you've mastered this art. I'm genuinely interested. I'm pushed to be civil to Boy and to the Cat before mid-day. I'm not a morning person. I come with a health warning before my first cup of coffee. No one wants to be around me until at least 11 o'clock. Why do you think Boy goes to school? I'm not even polite to the milk man for Heaven's sake! Jeez.

And then, to top it all off, they want me to work. As if the sacrifices I've laid out above, aren't enough. Being graced with my presence isn't enough for them. Oh no, they want me to do stuff. Imagine that? Answer the phone, sort out problems, find things, do filing, the list goes on. Ungrateful bastards.

I have to do all of this for a pay check?! Really? Humpf.

Monday, October 04, 2010


You may or may not remember that every year on here, I celebrate Samhain by writing the names of those I love who have passed on.

The theme this year seems to be predominantly one of loss.

Yesterday, I learnt of the sad passing of Infomaniac Bitch, Piggy. He was much loved and will be sorely missed.

I invite you to join me in remembering those we love, who have gone before. I will take off the word verification and allow Anonymous comments. Please leave the name of the person you would like to remember, it really is up to you how little or how much you want to write. If you want to write a little something about them, your relationship or a favourite memory, please do.

Join me on the 31st of October in remembering those we have love and lost. Let us remember together, grieve and heal each other.