Monday, September 19, 2022

Dockyard Doris


Yesterday was another day of catching up with household tasks. Most significantly, I trimmed the front garden, which had become an overgrown urban jungle. I've had it on my radar for a while but Mrs. Kravitz mentioned it to me last week, so I figured I'd better do something about it. Technically, according to our lease, the front garden is the responsibility of the landlord. But rather than dealing with the management company to try to arrange a trim -- which could take weeks or months -- I decided to go the easier, faster route and do it myself. I filled two yard waste bags with clippings from the shrubs and honestly, the garden still looks like I barely touched it. But it will do.

I also cleaned all the kitchen counters and cabinets, which I've been meaning to do for ages. It's the kind of thing Dave will never notice but those countertops were bugging me, especially in the corners and under the microwave, that kind of thing. You could eat off them now! (Oh, wait.)

In a sign of the times, I got an e-mail from the coronavirus testing center where I went in April to get a PCR before traveling to Florida. Remember that whole drama? Well, anyway, the e-mail said the center is closing due to falling demand for Covid tests. I guess those days are more or less behind us.

I also read a New Yorker article about the Queen that originally ran back in 2002. It was in an anthology issue of previously published pieces focused on celebrity, and although the article (by Martin Amis) was excellent, the thing that most stood out for me was the revelation that Prince Edward was known in some circles, before his marriage, as "Dockyard Doris." (Edward was long rumored to be gay but I don't think anyone has any solid evidence that was ever true.) Anyway, I got a good laugh out of that. I'm still laughing about it, honestly. Probably inappropriate to relate that tidbit on the day of the Queen's funeral, but there you have it.

(There was a London drag queen who performed as Dockyard Doris in the '80s and '90s. More about him here. I'm not sure whether Prince Edward's nickname inspired him or vice versa.)

In early afternoon I took Olga to the cemetery. See that cross at left in the top photo? It's one of the most unusual grave markers in the whole cemetery. Where all the others are granite, this cross -- with its twining ivy vine -- is made of iron.

While walking around and trying to avoid a large scary-looking doberman, we heard and eventually located...


...the turaco! Yes, it's still there. I hadn't heard it since the spring and hadn't seen it for a year, so I was glad it showed up again. It was sharing the tree with a bunch of pigeons, which made me happy. I've been concerned about the turaco's social opportunities, given that it's an exotic with no companions of its own species. At least it has friends.


It seemed quite relaxed, preening in the tree as we watched. You can barely see a hint of the bright red feathers on the underside of its wings. My ultimate dream is to get a photo of the turaco in flight, to capture those red wings, but so far the bird has not cooperated. I have seen it fly, though, and it is a stunning sight.

I came home to the sound of more power tools upstairs. Home sweet home.


Oh, by request, here's a photo of the blue bowl I found in the skip while walking the dog Saturday morning. (A skip, for my American readers, is basically a dumpster, though shallower and more open and thus easier to scout for treasures.) Not bad, eh? It's wide and shallow and perfect for holding produce on our newly scrubbed kitchen counter.


And here's the rhinestone button, which I suppose is really more of a pearl-toned button with rhinestone accents. If you want to be super-picky. (Anna Wintour I am not.) As I said yesterday, it's in my bowl of found objets on our dining room windowsill.

It's very Dockyard Doris, come to think of it.

22 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I wonder if the turaco enjoys intimate relations with the pigeons? Also noted is the continuing power that Mrs Kravitz seems to have over you. She snaps her fingers and you jump. Love the blue bowl. Well spotted Steve.

Frances said...

I hope that they aren't " tempting fate" by closing that testing centre. My DIL has got covid and feeling very poorly!
Do you think they are diamonds on that button? No probably not!

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Juts came here from New Darma Bums and clocked the cemetery, interesting one, which one is it to be so overgrown like that. I have been to Highgate. The wrought iron cross is a bit unusual though I have seen quite a few along with cast iron ones in the Churchyards I visit. I take it the birds are some of the ones that have taken residence after escaping in London

Unknown said...

Docklands Doris. What a great name. I remember Prince Edward being described as 'theatrical', a bit of a code word back then. If the rumours are true, he has kept it very well hidden. Top end rent boys who are paid enough to keep their mouths shut?

Ms. Moon said...

Oh! The turaco! What a most beautiful bird! Those colors are magnificent.
And I do love the blue bowl. One man's trash can certainly be another man's treasure.
It would not be at all out of the ordinary for at least one of the Queen's children to be gay. If he is, I am sorry he's had to lead a life of hiding.

Ellen D. said...

Thank you for the photos of the bowl and button!

Debby said...

That bowl is great! I wonder why it would be pitched? You know, I like the collection of found things. I think I am going to do that.

The Bug said...

I had completely forgotten that Prince Edward existed until I saw an article the other day talking about the Queen's three children. I was like, wait, what?

That bowl is really nice! I don't blame you for rescuing it. I also really need to do a deep clean of our kitchen counters. I think I'll put it on the agenda for tomorrow!

NewRobin13 said...

Love seeing that Turaco. What a beauty. Your blue bowl collection of found items is very lovely too. You do find some interesting stuff there.

Sharon said...

What a fantastic photo you captured of the turaco. Such a beautiful bird. It is sort of sad to think of it all alone out there.
That is a nice bowl. I think I would have saved that too.

Ed said...

We are part of a gourmet club and we have to host the club about once a year. The week before our turn hosting is when our cabinets and counters get a thorough scrubbing along with everything else in the main part of the house.

The Bug said...

BTW - something has happened to the blog feed. Yesterday your blog stopped showing up at the top of my blog list with your latest post - it's at the bottom and when I click on it I see gobbledygook (I have to delete the feed stuff from your address, and then it comes up). I came to check & my blog is doing the same thing on your feed. Not sure what's up. Very weird!

ellen abbott said...

That is a very nice bowl! I'd probably have taken it too. And the turaco, so colorful.

Kelly said...

I appreciate the items in the bowl to give us perspective.

I had't even noticed the iron cross until you pointed it out. It's a lovely photo! You know... there are folks who would be just as intimated by Olga as by a Doberman. 😉

Allison said...

The blue bowl is lovely. I would have taken it, as well. Nice picture of the Turaco. It's too bad there's not another one, some birds are very social.

Margaret said...

I remember that rumor. As you said, it would be amazing if that were the case as those kinds of secrets are difficult to keep.

Boud said...

A lot of royals and their partners are gay or bi. What's sad is the way it's made scandalous and secret.

The bowl is a nice find, yes.

Why is it that most partnerships have one who likes the place clean and one who could trudge through dust bunnies without noticing? Is it the same cosmic joke that matches people who like warm bedrooms with people who prefer a nice 40f with a moderate gale?

Linda Sue said...

I WISH one of the royals would be out of the closet gay. It certainly would seem more human. Blogger is effed up, by the way, you have disapeared from my roll.
The bowl is gorgeous, good save!!

jenny_o said...

Thanks for posting pictures of your blue bowl and your found objects bowl - both are very pleasing!

Ah, Olga with the the thousand watt smile :D

River said...

Dockyard Doris? I've never heard that. The Turaco is such a pretty bird, one I've never heard of before.
I like the blue bowl very much and that pearl button too.
I used to clean corners and under the microwave every day, now it's once a week.

Steve Reed said...

YP: Well, in this case, Mrs. K is right. I've been meaning to do it and she just provided the prompt!

Frances: Covid is definitely still going around, but I guess the testing industry isn't needed now that airlines don't require tests and you don't need them to cross most international borders.

Billy: Welcome! Highgate is very similar in age to this one, Hampstead Cemetery, and like Highgate parts of Hampstead are very overgrown. Yes, the turaco is an exotic escapee or released pet.

Andrew: I think people suspected mainly because he didn't marry for a long time.

Ms Moon: That turaco is a thrill every time I see it! And yes, I certainly hope (for Edward's sake) that he isn't really gay. How miserable to be forced to stay in the closet.

Ellen D: You're welcome! I hope your curiosity was satisfied! :)

Debby: It was filthy and looked like it had perhaps been kept beneath a houseplant. But a little scrubbing was all it needed.

Bug: The Queen actually had FOUR children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Thanks for pointing out the Blogger problem. I'd noticed it too, on my own blog, and complained about it. It looks like they've sorted it out now.

Robin: That turaco just blows my mind every time. I guess it is well and truly wild now.

Sharon: It does seem sad, but I like the fact that it's hanging out with the pigeons. It seems very pigeon-like.

Ed: That's a good prompt to clean regularly, isn't it?!

Ellen: It's not even chipped, and the glass is very heavy. The skip disappeared later that day so it was perfect timing for me to rescue it.

Kelly: Oh, that's definitely true! But the doberman DID have a fight with another dog while we were there, so it wasn't just scary-looking. It was scary-ACTING.

Allison: I do feel bad that it will probably never find a turaco mate. (Although other feral turacos have turned up elsewhere in London, so you never know!)

Margaret: I think it was just because it took him a while to get married.

Boud: Ha! Great question! It's the whole "opposites attract" thing, maybe?

Linda Sue: It would definitely make the family seem more modern, wouldn't it?!

Jenny-O: She's such a ham.

River: You cleaned under the microwave EVERY DAY? Now that's dedication! Let's just say I am less frequent than that.

Jeanie said...

LOVE your found objects! And that turaco is amazing -- never seen one of those before and now I'd love to see more!