Sunday, May 31, 2020

California Dreamin'

Here we are in beautiful Los Angeles -- oops, I mean London. We are seriously having L.A. weather, though. Every day the temperature is in the 70s or 80s, the sky clear as a bell, the sun blazing down. It's quite comfortable and beautiful (not to mention great for drying laundry), but it's just so not England. Apparently this is the sunniest spring since anyone began keeping track of these things, in 1929, as well as the driest May in 124 years. April set records, too. Farmers are worrying about their crops.

We're watering the garden every single day. I always worry about watering things too much, but in this weather that's probably not possible. No one's talking about a watering ban yet, but if we don't start seeing some rain I suppose that could happen. None is in the forecast until June 10 at the earliest.

Above you'll see an elderberry tree down the street from us, in full bloom. We have elders at the back of our garden, too, but they're all entwined with ivy and rambling roses so they don't make a very clear picture. We also had elders in our yard when I was growing up in Florida -- as a kid I dug one up and put it in a pot and named it, for some reason, "Shorty." (Probably because it never grew very tall, being an unhappy and slowly dying plant.) I believe the Florida and UK varieties are even the same species, Sambucus nigra.

This was my view yesterday morning as I lay reading on a blanket in the garden. I was looking up into the branches of our walnut tree -- the messiest tree ever, constantly being ravaged by squirrels and raining down leaves and half-eaten nuts. It's still beautiful, though.

I'm reading "Lincoln in the Bardo," which is a good but very strange book. I admire an author who can take on such an out-there subject (the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln's young son Willie).

Here's the obligatory dog photo of the day, taken on our walk to the cemetery. We only rarely explore the rose garden there, but with everything in bloom, it seemed a good time to visit. Olga posed very patiently even though she would much rather have been walking around with her yucky tennis ball in her mouth.

We've been watching a Belgian TV show on Netflix called "Into the Night." It's a bizarre premise -- a small group of people must remain on a night jet flying ever-westward to avoid sunlight, which is suddenly killing everyone on Earth -- but we're enjoying it. It's a fun diversion, although it's a nightmare to contemplate having to essentially live on a commercial aircraft, even one with barely any passengers. I might rather be dead.


  1. Did you know that elder wood has a soft middle that can be taken out and the wood used for musical instruments Steve, I found this out when we had out allotment.

  2. The elder tree was a symbol of the cycle of life – death to birth to death. The connection between the elder and death led to the tree being a symbol of grief. The offensive smell of the elder leaves (not the flowers) also connected the tree with grief.

  3. You have a spammer and YP is right about the grief connection.

  4. Briony: I did not! But I have some experience with the soft wood, having sawed several dead limbs off our elders. The wood IS very easy to cut.

    YP: Never knew about the grief connection! To me it seems a very lively, beautiful tree.

    E: I was sorely tempted to leave that spam because it was so bizarre. I've never before had someone offer to turn me into a vampire! LOL

  5. I've often thought it would be great to have a tree that produced walnuts or pecans, but of course the reality is what you have, seconds from the squirrels all over the ground.
    That Netflix show seems based on the same premise as one on Amazon (which I think is based on a movie) about the survivors of Earth forever traveling on a train as the world freezes over. Not that I've gotten around to seeing either one!

  6. I started to watch that show on Netflix but have only watched the first two episodes. I can't decide if I want to finish it. When I was in Italy last year, I found a drink made with elderflower syrup that was delicious. I've been trying to recreate it ever since. I wondered what an elder tree and its flowers looked like. Now I know.

  7. Good For You Olga - Just Sitting Pretty - Kong Or Ball,Doesn't Matter As Long As The Human Is Near By - Stay Hydrated


  8. Olga in the garden is quite a pretty picture. Beautiful roses. We have one rose plant, I can't bring myself to call it a bush since it is straggly. But it wants to live in this humid heat, and it blooms year after year. You remind me that I need to go dead head the dead blooms.

  9. I think the English may do roses better than anyone.
    I tried to listen to an audio version of Lincoln in the Bardo. Did not work for me.
    Glen and I just started watching Downton Abbey and I can't decide whether or not I want to spend the next year watching it, one episode at a time. Aren't there like fifty seasons of it?
    I hope you get rain soon.

  10. The trees are beautiful. Such a wonderful sight when you look up through their branches. Those roses are gorgeous. Mine are just now starting to bloom. Olga looks so comfortable wherever she sits! You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  11. Global warming has certainly brought much different weather at times.

  12. I am soo tired of watering every day. But what can you do. Cannot remember a spring, early summer this dry.

    Please let us know how you proceed with Licoln in the Bardo. I could not figure it out,

  13. and what happens when the plane runs out of gas? there's a new series Snowpiercer about the last of the humans all living on a train that runs endlessly. there was also a movie by the same name and premise. I haven't watched either.

    the roses are beautiful. we've been getting some regular rain though not a whole lot at any one time. it was so dry when we got that 5 ½" over two days a while back that the earth just sucked it up and two days later I was having to water.

  14. I love seeing the blue skies there especially after the two inches of rain we got here yesterday. My twin brother (who lives in Santa Cruz) has been fantasizing about moving to England. He emailed me yesterday to tell me how beautiful sunshiny warm it was in London. Enjoy the weather there in the land where Trump isn't President.

  15. I read about half of Lincoln in the Bardo but lost interest after that. Olga in the roses is a pretty picture!

  16. I think Judy tried to read "Lincoln in the Bardo" but just couldn't handle it, and she'll read books she says she's hating all the way to the ends. I didn't try it. I wonder how those people on that jet liner get fed and how the plane gets refueled. Oh, yeah, it's Hollywood, where anything is possible.

  17. Don't know if I'll try Lincoln in the Bardo just yet. I'm waiting for you to give a rave review. I just finished City on Fire. Hmmmmmmm.... I didn't hate it, but I DO have a LOT to say about it. Your roses are so beautiful (as is Olga).

  18. So how did they refuel the airplane? If it's a commercial jet, there is no capacity for air refueling, sort of like the next two Airforce One planes that were purchased cheap and can not be refueled mid-air. I think I'd rather be incinerated than keep flying on an airplane.

  19. Well, I guess your post answers my question on your previous one! lol

    We've had a very warm spell here also. It's supposed to start raining anytime now but it's been this humid for the last week without raining and I don't see how anything will push us over the edge into it now any more than before. We've already had several forest fires in the province so it's not looking like a good summer that way.

  20. Marty: Yeah, I've seen the ads for that train show too. Different variations on an apocalyptic theme!

    Sharon: We finished it, but the first season doesn't entirely resolve. There's a setup for another series of shows. Just FYI!

    Padre: I'm trying to get her to carry a tennis ball rather than her Kong. Tennis balls float and are much more expendable, not to mention much lighter!

    Colette: My stepmother kept roses in Florida for many years, so it can be done! I think they all died when she stopped caring for them, though. Here in England they just live on -- it's a more comfortable environment for them!

    Ms Moon: It's funny you mention that. As I read the book I was wondering what it would be like in audio form. I can see how that would be a challenge. As for "Downton Abbey," we really liked it -- in fact we've watched the whole series twice!

    Edna: I hope you share some rose pictures with us!

    Red: You never know what you're going to get weatherwise, do you?

    Sabine: I keep thinking we're watering too much! But I guess that's not possible. (As I said in my post.)

    Ellen: They do refuel the plane a couple of times.

    Robin: Two inches of rain! That sounds HEAVENLY!

    Jennifer: I'm enjoying it so far, but I can see how it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

    Catalyst: Yeah, don't look too closely at all the practicalities! LOL

    Mitchell: I wondered if you persisted with "City on Fire." Tell me what you thought!

    Allison: They land somewhere at night and refuel at empty airports -- where, conveniently, fuel is still left accessible!

    Jenny-O: Yeah, apparently we're in this for the long haul! Or at least the foreseeable future.

  21. My review, in a nutshell: Pretentiously wordy, although the author could at times be really good with words. Interesting, interrelated stories and historical connections. Dragged on and on and was difficult for me to keep track of at times (Who's talking now? Which one is he?). The final pages (can't remember how many) suddenly pulled together and told things more rapidly, which would have been fine had the rest gone that way, but it just seemed to me like the writer said "Oh, this is going on too long and I need to get it published." So, the end disappointed me. And not just that there were questions unanswered (that can be a good thing in a novel) but because it felt like he just couldn't be bothered pulling anything together. Also, I never felt like a truly knew most of the characters. Not a disaster, but not one I'd recommend.

  22. I actually really enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo once I figured out what the heck was going on (it took a while - I'm slow). I don't know why - it just really worked for me. A friend described it as "an epic poem written in a prose style" and I think that helped me go with the flow a little better.