Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Jug Handle, and D-Day

Well, yesterday didn't turn out quite as planned, weather-wise. What promised to be a rainy day instead was merely windy and intermittently cloudy. So I wound up taking Olga for a long walk -- we went on our West Heath route, where we saw this ridiculous phone box advertising the "Love Island" fashion collection. Even Olga couldn't help laughing.

Is "Love Island" on in the U.S.? It's a phenomenon here. I've never seen it but my impression is that it's a reality TV show chronicling the activities of scantily-clad young people at a beach resort. I walked past a couple of senior girls in the library the other day and saw that they were watching something on their computer featuring a muscular, shirtless guy. It turned out to be "Love Island."

Being the killjoy librarian that I am, I said, "Shouldn't you be doing something more productive with your school day?" The girls laughed and one said, "Probably." But I don't think they turned it off.

I found a couple of interesting bits of old debris on our Heath walk. This pottery handle must have come from a jug or tureen of some kind, probably 100 years ago or more.

And these bits of glass, marked VER and ER, are the remnants of an old bottle. River Water? Beaver Beer? Who knows.

I also found an abandoned buddleia, or butterfly bush, plant on the Heath. Its root ball was in a tight cylindrical shape, so clearly someone had dumped out a flower pot. It was just lying on top of the ground, so I brought it home -- you can see it behind Olga in that top photo -- and put it in a new, larger pot. Butterfly bushes are a persistent weed in some areas of the UK, particularly along railroad tracks, but in gardens they're beautiful and great for insects.

Speaking of old stuff, I never mentioned the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which passed last week. In the library we put out our old editions of Newsweek from that time period, so students could see real-time news coverage of the events. That had the unfortunate side-effect of also putting on display a Seagram's whiskey ad, but oh well.

Finally, here's what our potatoes are looking like these days. They're like crazy alien plants, so robust and huge! I hope those soil bags are big enough to contain them. Dave's parents -- who come from families of potato-growing farmers in Michigan -- told us last night to wait until they'd stopped blooming, and then we could harvest. They haven't flowered yet, so we've still got some time.

I also read Halle Butler's short novel "The New Me" yesterday. I'd read about it in The New Yorker and it sounded fantastic, so I ordered it for the library. It's an interesting little book -- a portrait of a young woman who can't quite get her life launched, sabotaging herself in myriad ways and struggling with depression and emotional paralysis. It sounds bleak, and it is, but it's also weirdly funny in places. I enjoyed it.

I just watched a blackbird tear apart and eat a slug (YES!) and then an earthworm on our patio. Circle of life!


  1. Oh my God! That poor slug and the darling earthworm! I hope you gave what was left of those poor fellows a proper Christian burial. What a way to go! I would hate to die that way.

  2. Well, the classic red English telephone booth has certainly changed! In New York, phone booths have disappeared from the streets, but lately they've been putting up these cell phone charging stations where people can stand and browse the internet. Sort of weird and futuristic in a Blade Runner kind of way.

  3. I've not heard of Love Island but it sounds awful so I think I'll keep it that way. It will be interesting to see what you harvest from your potato plants. I've witnessed the same kind of "circle of life" episodes on my walks at the garden. Sometimes it can be a bit disturbing to see.

  4. I think kids watched a lot of different stuff when they were supposed to be doing research.

  5. That "helmet" does not look like much protection, thus the Bottle of alcohol. Weird. never heard of "love island" but it sounds typical of television "reality". Who knows , the next President could be a result, or the next Tory leader. It's the times, dude!

  6. That top photo of Olga laughing made me laugh out loud as well. I'm not sure what's become of modern literature and TV, but some version of reality has definitely taken over.

  7. If that buddleia is in a tight ball/pot shape it's totally root bound. it probably won't do well unless you loosen up the root ball some and give it space for the roots to grow in a larger pot.

    I don't watch 'reality' TV. when people ask me why I tell them because I live reality, I don't need it for my entertainment. and besides the premise for reality TV is usually pitting people against each other. plus I'd rather read than watch scantily clad teens romp on the beach.

    oh, and cool jug handle. my son went to Israel when he was 16 (group thing) and they went on an archeological dig. they got to root around in a box full of pot shards and he found one with an intact handle that he brought home to me.

  8. I like that shot of Olga laughing at the poster on the telephone booth. Haha!

  9. I really don't like reality shows. They're NOT reality, for one thing. They also tend to bring out the worst in people. Anything for ratings, I guess. Olga, I'm laughing with you!! Foolish woman on poster has no idea of what a life well-lived is really all about :)

    My poor butterfly bush didn't send out a single green shoot this year. Now I have to find something to replace it.

    You mentioned putting our geranium basket out during the day - I did do that a few days, but the rest of the time it was raining and I figured it would beat the blossoms off. That might have been preferable to having the leaves die, though! The weather has warmed up a bit; hopefully the plant will recover before my mom has to see it!

  10. Well, I guess it's comforting to know that the British have their own versions of inane TV. Sounds like Love Island is mainly aimed at the teenagers but maybe not.
    Love your found treasures- as always. From the plant to the pitcher handle.
    And Olga- always a love.