Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Children's Television and Repaying a Debt

Here's another of our foxgloves, grown from seed -- this one white! So now I have three colors of foxgloves from a single seed packet.

I worked in the garden yesterday and got our new plants in the ground. And then I went to the grocery store and bought yet another one, but this was purely a lifesaving measure. The plant, a blue lupine, needs some serious intensive care. Its main stalk was broken, the flower dead, the leaves withered and bent, and it was infested with aphids. It was originally priced at £17 (insane!) but I got it for £2.99. I brought it home, treated the aphids with soapy water, trimmed away the dead stuff and now we'll see what happens. If it survives it probably won't bloom until next season, assuming it overwinters successfully. It's a long-term project.

While at the grocery store, I indulged in more experimental shopping. I bought a package of pre-cooked Scottish mussels in white wine and cream sauce. We weren't initially certain that they were pre-cooked, and Dave thought they might kill us -- because how could live mussels survive in a sealed package with white wine and cream sauce? But I said, "Surely, if they're for sale at Waitrose, whoever packaged them knows what they're doing." And then we read the fine print, and yes: pre-cooked. We ate them last night as an appetizer and they were fantastic. I'd buy them again. (Our Santa Claus melon was excellent too, I'm happy to report.)

Remember those cans of baked beans I took from the food donation box at school? You'll be happy to know I'm making good on that debt. I assembled two "essential food parcels," each containing about £20 worth of canned and non-perishable goods, which I am donating to a food drive for people who are self-isolating and unable to shop. They're supposed to be picked up tomorrow.

While sitting on our garden bench I saw a little ladybug (ladybird) larva wandering aimlessly across the wood. I put it on the borage behind the bench, where there are lots of aphids. It's the first larva I've seen this season.

I sat out reading, catching up on the unstoppable avalanche of New Yorkers coming through our letterbox. One contained an excellent article about the origins and significance of the children's TV show "Sesame Street," which first aired 51 years ago. I was part of that first Sesame generation. My mom said she sat me down in front of the TV -- I had just turned three -- and I was absolutely enthralled. She knew it would be a success, based on my reaction. (She went to high school with Jim Henson, although she didn't really know him. That might be why the show was on her radar.)

And speaking of children's television, Dave and I watched "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," a movie based on a magazine writer's assignment to profile Mr. Rogers, last night. We enjoyed it. We're trying to catch up on recent movies and finding that a lot of them are becoming available to stream. We watched the most recent "Star Wars" (meh) and the excellent "Bombshell," about the Ailes-harassed women of Fox News. "Misbehaviour" is still on our list, as is "Parasite," which becomes available June 1 through Curzon online cinema.

Several weeks ago, just as this whole coronavirus thing was beginning, I had a consultation with my doctor. He wanted me to get a blood test and some other tests, but I delayed them all to stay out of the COVID-19 fray. I recently scheduled the blood test, finally, and I was supposed to go yesterday. But I still feel uneasy about walking into the Royal Free Hospital -- the belly of the viral beast -- for something so non-essential. So I cancelled it. I'm going to wait a while longer.

Above are our skylovers, a type of pimpernel -- we're down to just one little plant, from the original five, but it's lasted four years now! Pretty impressive for something that's usually grown as an annual.


  1. I recall the baked beans episode all too well. I castigated you for your behaviour. I now owe you an apology, consider it given.
    You're a good man Steve Reed. How could I have ever thought you would NOT make this good. ;)

  2. At last! After surreptitiously pilfering the baked beans - you have restored your reputation through an act of penance and like Alphie Soup I now forgive you for your trespasses. Let us hope that The Lord God Almighty also forgives you by granting the gift of life to the rescued lupin.

  3. I too have been putting off my own wellness care though I have begun to wonder at the wisdom of this. Surely our doctors will take precautions to keep us safe? I’ve begun to marvel at the doctors and first responders in the trenches everyday who are managing to remain healthy so far. My son, as one of them, assures me that PPEs do work.

  4. How funny! I read that same article last night! I was older when it came out but I watched some with my little brothers who were about your age then. It was genius. My own kids watched it and I'm sure they learned a lot from it.
    You are such a good man, Steve- making your contribution to the food pantry.
    I hear you on not wanting to go get your blood drawn. I've got some similar circumstances going on. Ugh. I do not want to go into those buildings.

  5. Mr Rogers Movie Blew My Mind And Wasn't At All What I Expected - I Throughly Enjoyed It - Excellent Work In The Garden There - Stash A Few Treats Around The House Foe Olga To Find


  6. I never watched Sesame Street even though I was 5 when it came out - but I don't think we got PBS on our TV (which seems weird - I mean, public broadcasting, right?). I think I'll attribute all of my social skill deficits to that fact. Ha!

  7. Sesame Street started just before my kids were born. My son learned to read from Sesame Street. Mr Rogers was another of their favorite programs.

  8. I've been putting off medical and dental stuff. Our dentist office finally opened this week. I keep thinking I should make an appointment, but the thought of it is a little bit scary. Roger has a CT scan in his future. That means going to the hospital. Ugh.
    I can't wait to see how the Lupine responds to your kind care.

  9. Mussels in a white wine sauce sounds like such a treat right now. I've put off several medical appointments for the same reason. I actually have a doctor's appointment in about 3 weeks. We'll see how I feel about going when the time is closer.

  10. we have the scarlet and that intense blue pimpernel that shows up every spring as one of the spring wildflowers. they've all gone by now.

  11. The Mr. Rogers movie is on my "to watch" list. These were great kids' programs. I think you are awesome for buying the plants that are on death's row and bringing them home to make them well again. Your plants look great! I'm going to take my time mingling with other folks. I'm in no hurry to take chances on getting sick. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  12. I marvel at the variety of flowers in your garden. And I envy you being able to nurse sad plants and make them thrive. SG doesn't have the patience for sad-looking plants, so I gave up on that a long time ago. I would have had no idea that that was a ladybird-bug! I've seen those before.

  13. When Erik was six, we gave him a video camera, He video taped a lady bug shedding its former self to become the beautiful red polka dot bug she was. It was pretty creepy actually but got the attention of the city land and plant management, they did not have anything like it in their files. Give a kid a camera!! We also watched Sesame street, didn't have a TV so watched videos that we could rent from the library, some we bought. Top quality programing! Erik still send clips to me just for fun.

    You are very brave to try precooked seafood!

  14. We watched (over two evenings) "Casablanca" once again. We both agreed that it is a marvelous film.

  15. I had no idea that ladybug larvae looked like that! I had to Google it to be sure that "bug" was what you meant by larva. It looks like a completely different kind of insect! I'll be looking out for those here, now.

    I remember seeing Sesame Street for the first time also - but I was 14 years old and travelling with my mother in Ontario. We visited a woman from our home village who had a small child, and he was plonked in front of the TV. I think I was as fascinated as he was. A little over ten years later, I was plonking my own child in front of the TV and never regretted it. It's a fantastic children's show.

  16. That. Last. Blue. Is Breathtaking!!

    Get that test done please!!

  17. We're supposed to go in for blood tests one week in June, and then physicals the following work. I'm still having the willies about being around people. Hopefully they will have their waiting room well controlled.

  18. Loved Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rogers! I had watched the Mr. Rogers documentary previously, and enjoyed this as well.

    We had Japanese neighbors in an exchange situation with Yamaha (piano) and the at-home moms learned to speak English watching Sesame Street. There is a documentary on the person who played Big Bird all those years.

    As far as the doctor visits during the time of Covid, I'd recommend pass if not essential. Each one I have gone to I've regretted. Would like to see my dental hygienist though. Getting my first haircut this weekend. So tired of wearing the mask. I hear this could be a 3 year duration. Ugh.

  19. Your flowers are so gorgeous.

    I'm with you on the routine exams. I was supposed to get a colonoscopy and a mammogram, and I've put off both.

  20. I hope that plant grows for you and for a long time and good on you for helping the food drive! I'm staying in, not going anywhere. I watched the Tom Hanks/Mr. Rogers film and thought about how lucky the world was to have had Fred Rogers in it and how fortunate Tom Hanks is to still be here.

  21. Alphie: No need to apologize. I was somewhat horrified by my own behavior. LOL

    YP: I'm not too worried about God, but it would be nice if the lupine survives!

    37P: I know! I feel like a ninny not wanting to walk into a hospital when some people work there every day. But the bottom line is, there's no urgency (as far as I know!), so why not wait?

    Ms Moon: It IS a genius show. Or was. I think it's gone downhill since Henson died and, as the article pointed out, Disney took over.

    Padre: It wasn't what we expected either! I thought it was a full-on biopic about Mr. Rogers, but it wound up being more about the journalist. It was really good!

    Bug: Maybe some areas didn't have PBS stations? But I would think Raleigh must have had one, being a university town and the state capitol.

    Red: It definitely helped me with foreign language -- part of the show (in Florida, at least) was in Spanish.

    Robin: I'll keep you posted on the lupine!

    Sharon: They were very good. There's a garlic butter variety, too!

    Ellen: How cool that you have them as wildflowers! I had no idea where they were originally from.

    Edna: Plant rescue is a fun challenge for me. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not!

    Mitchell: As much as I like sad plants, I can also see not wanting to mess with them. They do look like hell for a while. No judgments here! LOL

    Linda Sue: What a great story! Do you still have his film? You should blog it! I was lucky enough to capture an emerging ladybug several years ago with my still camera. It's on my blog somewhere.

    Catalyst: That IS a great film. Black-and-white movies were so beautiful, but Dave rolls his eyes whenever I put one on. As he says, "There are no photon torpedoes!"

    Jenny-O: Very often insect larvae look completely different from the mature insect. I dug up some larvae the other day when I was planting a plant -- I put them back in the ground and hope they'll survive. They looked a bit like earwigs but I think they'll eventually be beetles.

    GZ: It IS a beautiful flower, which is why we keep it going year after year.

    Allison: I'm sure they will. Health professionals aren't going to monkey around with this risk. For me there's no urgency so waiting isn't a problem.

    LL: Who knows how long it will last?! I hadn't heard of the Mr. Rogers documentary. I'll check it out!

    Elizabeth: Yeah, if we can wait, why not?!

    E: It's true. Mr. Rogers was a phenomenon. I'm not sure I ever fully realized that.

  22. I was talking to my daughter about Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Mr. Rogers and she can't remember a time when she didn't have them in her childhood. I can't remember either. But I can remember time without Henson and Rogers.

    Oh and Barney. My son Nathan was Barney's biggest fan and a guy named Raffey... Oh wow we all loved Raffey and I don't even know if I spelled that right but we loved him to distraction and I used him as a distraction on absolute exhausting days as a mother of 5.

    Have a awesome day!!!