Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Hops Goddess and Tulip Update


Remember Dionysus, whose portrait I posted a couple of weeks ago? Well, when I walked past the same pub in Cricklewood on Monday, I took a photo of his female counterpart. I have no idea who she could be -- when I look up goddesses of beer or alcohol I don't get any obvious answers -- but she's depicted with hops vines, if that's any indication. There's an Egyptian goddess of beer called Nephthys, a Sumerian goddess of beer called Ninkasi, and a Mesopotamian goddess of beer named Siris. I don't know of any specific equivalents in the Greek or Roman pantheons.

Then again, she may not be a goddess at all, and Dionysus may not, in fact, be Dionysus. Maybe they're just allegorical figures or generic faces. Who knows.

Yesterday was pretty low-key. After my marathon walk on Monday I rested my tired dogs and spent a lot of time reading. I finished "Hitty: Her First Hundred Years," which I really enjoyed. It was much better than I expected and I can see why it's a favorite for many people. Some of those older Newbery winners are so stale they're barely readable, but Hitty still pulls her weight. Next up: "Island of the Blue Dolphins," which was one of my personal favorites as a child.

Dave and I worked in the garden -- he cut down all the buddleias, and quite dramatically, too. I'm actually a little afraid for them, but they're tough as nails so I suspect they'll be fine. Pruning always makes me queasy. The last big cleanup job will be trimming the hydrangeas, and I'm going to leave that to Dave as well, because he's the hydrangea expert.


One of our geraniums, overwintering in the bedroom, has already started putting out flowers. It's obviously a bit confused.

Oh! I buried the lede again. We're having plumbing issues -- our bathtub and one of our toilets feed into an underground drain at the side of the house that seems to have become clogged. When we flush the toilet, water (to employ an obvious euphemism) comes up in the bathtub, and the shower is unusable. (We have a second toilet that still works fine, thank goodness, and the kitchen is unaffected.)

We called our management company and they put me on the defensive right away, warning us that we might be charged if they found evidence we've been flushing inappropriate stuff (latex gloves or wet wipes were their examples) down the toilet. I assured them we have not -- we never even buy wet wipes -- but I believe our upstairs neighbors also feed into the same drain, and God only knows what they might be doing.

Anyway, the management company sent a plumber yesterday, and he took the access cover off the drain and plunged away with a rod-like device, trying to release the clog. From the living room I could hear him grunting and sighing with the effort, and when I went out to ask him how it was going, he said, "Not good, mate." Turns out he was unable to solve the problem, so now someone is coming tomorrow to "jet" the drains clean. I have no idea what this involves.

Meanwhile, we're taking sponge baths.


Here's the state of our tulip bouquet. As some of you promised, they are indeed flopping picturesquely. I never knew that tulips continue to grow in the vase, but here's the evidence!

48 comments:

Moving with Mitchell said...

Those tulips are beautiful! The "water" problem is not! We'd have checked into a hotel.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

You rested your "tired dogs"? How many dogs have you got? I thought there was only Olga. As for jetting the drain, it is a highly technical operation that most people would find difficult to understand. It involves putting a hosepipe down the drain and from this water "jets" out at great velocity. I hope it works for you and Dave.

Debby said...

Amphyctyonis is the Greek goddess of wine and friendship. The management company has to prove their case before they charge you, I would think.

Debby said...

PS, every time that we've had problems of this nature, it has 100% of the time been due to roots occluding the drainage. If that is the case, 'jetting' (if it means the same thing it means here) will not help. They will have to call in a roto rooter, which is a spinning saw that feeds through the pipes clearing away the offending roots. Fear not, Steve. These things happen frequently, and it sounds as if your property manager was blowing hot air. I'll lay odds it has happened before in your old building.

Steve Reed said...

Thanks for that tip! As I was writing this post, I found a Wikipedia list of alcohol-related deities that included Amphyctyonis (who I'd never heard of before) but I was looking for something more specifically beer-related. Maybe Amphyctyonis is the closest the Romans/Greeks came to a beer goddess.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities_of_wine_and_beer

Steve Reed said...

In this case, I don't think roots are the problem. There are no trees growing anywhere near this drain. I don't think we'll ultimately be charged, because I don't think they'll find any evidence that we've abused the drainage system -- but if they do, I'm blaming the neighbors!

Steve Reed said...

Not including Olga, I have two dogs, as do you and all other bipeds! Olga herself has four dogs, I suppose, though admittedly I've never heard animal feet referred to with that word.

Steve Reed said...

I floated (no pun intended!) that idea to Dave but we decided to tough it out. At least here at home we won't get Covid!

Sabine said...

Maybe they are Dionysus and Demeter (Bacchus and Ceres in Roman terms) - often come as a pair.

The Island of the Blue Dolphins was the first book that made me cry. It's the one where the kid is left behind on the island, yes?

Ursula said...

You might like to feed this piquant morsel to those bloggers who will think "Pity it didn't come to pass".

A few years ago my Guardian Angel saved me, by a whisker, from stepping into an unattended sewer, manhole cover open, full to the brim, located just round the corner of the stairs I was flying down - at speed. Can you imagine what it must be like to drown in shit? Not least other people's? My stomach turns to this day at the memory. As potential and undignified exits go it's hard to beat.

I see your tulips do what tulips do - drooping. Apparently, once cut and in a vase their heads are too heavy for their stems. I shall resist the temptation to turn this into a metaphor for certain humans.

Evocative image of the fair hops maiden - to think that once upon a time even children drank beer because the wells' water was contaminated.

Your next shower will be more delicious than those you have taken on autopilot,
U

Bob said...

We're still quite cold here though not as cold as Texas, who has no power, but still chilly.
I cringed at the plumbing issues. As soon as the "water" came up in the tub, I'd have moved.

Ms. Moon said...

Plumbing problems do slap us into stark reality, don't they?
Glen pruned my confederate rose and when I say "pruned" I mean he cut it down so far that it will be years before it needs pruning again. If it even grows back.
I'm so glad you liked "Hitty"!

The Bug said...

Ooo the tulips are lovely! Our geraniums have never stopped blooming. I wonder if they'd be happier if we trimmed them back when we bring them in so they don't have to work so hard on flowers? I'm nervous about that - it's already a jolt having to come indoors & I wouldn't want to shock them with a big trim too. Plants are complicated (as is plumbing!).

The Bug said...

P.S. I rather optimistically checked my library to see if they have a digital copy of Hitty. Nope. Ha!

robin andrea said...

Plumbing problems are such a bummer. I hope that gets cleared up soon.
It's pruning season here too. I always feel a little bit bad when I'm whacking away at the plants, but they respond with so much life after a while.

Steve Reed said...

Demeter is a good guess, if they normally go together! And she is the goddess of grains, which of course are the foundation of beer...

Yes, that's the book you're thinking of! I remember being moved to my core. I loved it.

Edna B said...

Sure hope your plumbing problems are soon fixed. I don't dare to prune anything in the winter. The last time I did it, the rose bush died. It was my only yellow rose bush. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Steve Reed said...

Ugh -- falling into a manhole would be a terrible demise. (Or even if you didn't die, a terrible accident.) I've heard of such things happening, and also of manholes exploding, sending those very heavy covers flying through the air. I once saw it happen in New York. VERY surreal.

Steve Reed said...

It's pretty bad. I'll spare you a photo!

Steve Reed said...

And yet I'm always surprised that after Dave prunes -- and I cringe -- the plants DO grow back, and often thrive.

Steve Reed said...

Surely there must be an ebook version available. Or are you looking for audio? At any rate it's a pretty fast read, so you could probably get through a paper copy without too much trouble. :)

Steve Reed said...

They do! I can't off the top of my head think of anything that has died from our pruning, and yet, it always terrifies me.

Steve Reed said...

Pruning times vary from place to place. In our climate, February is ideal for roses, but in some colder places it's later. Basically you want to prune just before new growth appears.

Sharon said...

That goddess is a perfect companion to Dionysus. I hope the plumbing problem gets resolved quickly today. Those tulips look great!

ellen abbott said...

the tulips are so pretty. clogged drains are such a pain. the last time our toilet refused to flush all the way we ended up replacing all the plumbing in that bathroom and to the septic system.

Debby said...

I love a mystery solved! Thanks Sabine. Off to read about Demeter/Ceres!

Allison said...

Clogged pipes are just the worst. I could tell you stories about the house in West Seattle, built in 1920, with its quarter mile run to the sewer that went through several peoples' yards and under retaining walls. But, I'll spare you the details.
I hate pruning, it feels like I'm cutting their arms off.

gz said...

Hope the clogged drains get sorted..we had that problem a long time ago in an old terrace of houses..of course being at the top we initially had the blame, but it was the other end of the terrace, four down who were flushing happy liners...similar to wet wipes..and they backed up to us!!
Buddleia pruning, like Fuschia pruning is simple..chop it back! Hydrangeas needs to be more careful so that you don't lose this year's blooms

gz said...

Nappy liners!! Damn autocorrect!!

Barbara said...

Island of the Blue dolphins was one of my favorites too! Best of luck with the plumbing issues.
Xoxo
Barbara

Ellen D. said...

Hope they solve the plumbing problem soon. I have to put "tulips" on my grocery list - those are really lovely!

Margaret said...

Plumbing issues are the pits. (I almost used another word, but restrained myself) Hope they can get to the bottom of it. I love tulips, but they do always droop. So do roses. I do like flowers though. They just don't last as long as I want them to.

Red said...

Plumbing problems are some of the worst.

Unknown said...

Lots of videos on You Tube of drain cleaning with jets etc. Quite interesting to watch really.

Michael said...

Good grief, I am so sorry about your plumbing issues. I hope it gets solved soon!

Steve Reed said...

Those figures do go well together, don't they?

Steve Reed said...

I remember all that work you had done. Hopefully we won't need anything THAT extensive.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, that does sound like a nightmare. At least in our case there's not a lot of distance (or obstacles) involved.

Steve Reed said...

"Happy liners" -- LOL! I don't understand why people think they can flush such things.

Steve Reed said...

I hope it lives up to my memory of it! (I haven't started it yet, having been distracted by my back issues of The New Yorker.)

Steve Reed said...

These have lasted a long time, and we'll get at least several more days from them, I think.

Steve Reed said...

At least the drooping is picturesque. Even as they fall apart they look elegant.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I'll be happy when this is resolved.

Steve Reed said...

Oh, I never thought of looking those up! I'm not sure I want to see.

Steve Reed said...

Fingers crossed! I'll report back on Friday!

The Bug said...

No ebook. But come to think of it I only checked one of the two libraries I'm subscribed to. I'll check to see if they have a hard copy too.

Janie Junebug said...

I used to date a guy who was a water quality inspector. He told me about some of the things people flush. I was shocked.

Love,
Janie

Unknown said...

They can be a little gross.