Tag Archives: irises

Wednesday 8th July Part III


We just had tea and biscuits for a mid-day break. then I washed up from breakfast, including the poaching pan, which looked like an explosion of ectoplasm. Then I let the compost caddy slip from my wet fingers. The lid could be more robustly secured…

So after clearing compost from the kitchen floor (in the shape of tea bags, egg shells, avocado skins and slippery veg peel) I am once more sitting down to work.

SMART Plans were, as I recall, my next subject.

They are plans which have a snappy acronym, and are thus better than ordinary plans. SMART, for those of you who haven’t been exposed to fashionable jargon in the last twenty years are plans that are:





Time Related

They can be other things too, but this has always done for me. All it means is that you have to say what you are going to do, how you will measure it, who will do it, how you will do it and when you will do it by.

I spent a whole week once filling in the plan for a Junior Rugby section – including recruiting, training or obtaining coaches, first aiders, team managers, match officials, safeguarding officers, equipment, and several things I’ve forgotten, though I remember there were twelve things.

Somebody looked it over and said: “You’re mad, you’ll never do it.”

By the end of the year ten of the twelve things had been done and one had nearly been done. If I’d have just gone ahead with a vague plan in mind I would have managed three or four of the easier things.

I’ve just cut out 150 words on the philosophy and meaning of failure. I can sometimes be very pompous and boring and have to guard against it.

I will just say that real failure consists of not trying.

One of my plans for today is to write a number of blog posts covering the entire day. That seems to be working. Cooking breakfast was also on the list, as was catching up with the washing up. I now need to write a SMART Plan for my writing over the next year, sort out some books for the charity shop, do the grocery order for TESCO online and start the outlines for some magazine articles.

Julia is currently on the phone in the front room and the TV is off, so there is no temptation to wander through. She has been busy sorting out one of her clients (which I cannot discuss even though it is interesting), sorting out some office inefficiency (which I probably discuss, but it would be tactless) and generally chatting to people who are bored and still aren’t sure why they aren’t allowed out yet.

This is why.

I’d better get back to work now.

Flowers are from  A Bunch of Irises.



Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

Monday, a Day of Promise

I rose at a moderate time, washed up and made breakfast. I tried to make Julia a heart-shaped fried egg but the egg didn’t quite spread inside the frame and then it started to stick to the pan and in the end it looked like three-quarters of an egg, as long as you knew it was supposed to be an heart. If you didn’t know what it was meant to be you wouldn’t have known what it was. My own egg was much more successful as I set out to produce an odd-shaped free-form fried egg with crispy bits, and that was exactly what I ended up with.

Once they were shoved into a cob with bacon and mushrooms it didn’t matter what shape they were. All that matters to me is that my yolk is hard. I don’t really like runny yolks at the best of times but they are a hazard to shirt fronts when used in a sandwich. Julia likes her yolk soft, but as my wife of thirty years, she is accustomed to disappointment.


I have read the comments on my posts, added the word ‘cyanosis’ to one and added a couple of lines to another.

My first post of the day is now done, my new medication has been delivered by a hospital volunteer and Julia is clinking with menace as she sorts jam jars and emanates expectations. She wants me to start filling the skip with bits of shed. She has dragged it to the driveway and it is now time for me to do my bit. I will potter out to offer support and supervision in a moment, then come back to this.

By the magic of WordPress I am now back.

She had been struggling to dismantle a bookcase which had suffered from years of standing in a leaky shed and is therefore un-salvageable. This is the sad state of quite a lot of stuff, including things that had been safely stored in the dry garage last time I saw them. Married men will recognise the note of pain in my writing.

Anyway. the bookcase fell apart from a few taps with a rubber mallet. If I had been able to access a proper hammer it would have taken considerably fewer taps. With a proper Enoch I reckon one blow would have done it. That’s right, when I am in full swing, we are never far from a Luddite link.

Last night, whilst relaxing, I started to read WordPress. I haven’t really done that for years now. It was a very pleasant experience. I’m going to write another few posts to top my total up to two thousand then I’m going to cut back on posting and increase my reading.

Don’t get me wrong – I like all the blogs I read, but I’ve been limited in the last few years and have struggled even to keep up with sporadic reading of my regulars. Given a little more time I’m going to enjoy more reading, particularly as I was able to catch up with a few people I haven’t read for years.

Despite the weather, which features a cold breeze and a threatening low grey sky, I’m feeling quite sunny today, and am hoping that this frame of mind persists.

I’m going to throw in a few cheerful flower photographs from Harlow Carr Gardens and make beans on toast for lunch.

All photographs are irises in spring from our visits to Harlow Carr Garden, apart from the header which is Julia in the Mencap garden at Wilford.

36 Minutes

I have a post mainly written, but it still needs a bit of work. Therefore the post for 23rd May 2020 will be on the subject of having 36 minutes to write and post before midnight. It’s not an original subject as I have written similar posts many times – the only thing that dioffers is the number of minutes.

There have been two bright spots in my day. One was looking at the pictures in the previous three posts. I really enjoyed getting out and sitting in the sun. The second was hunting down a hot water bottle and sitting with my hands wrapped round it. As if by magic my finger joints unlocked and as I type I almost have two trouble-free hands again.

Simple pleasures…

That’s 125 words and I still have 28 minutes left.

There was actually a fourth highlight – when I was able to click “Dismiss” on the screen when it told me I could use the new editor. As it was a couple of days ago I have already linked to that post. I will, however, link to the Arkwright post once more, as I just noticed it whilst linking to the other posts. That was also a high point of the day. There’s something about the incongruity of a tortoise walking along the footpath that means you have to smile even if you don’t like tortoises.

Arkwright the Tortoise

Arkwright the Tortoise

It’s one of those episodes where truth is stranger than fiction. Over the years I’ve written up several such incidents, either as short stories, haibun or poems, and they have always been returned. Once or twice the rejecting editor (the commonest sort) has expressed scepticism about the incident. Sometimes people just don’t appreciate the truth.

Talking of highlights – we had rhubarb and apple crumble with custard for tea. One of the surprising elements of lockdown has been Julia cooking a lot of crumbles. I like crumbles. I like them even better with custard.

So, to sum up.

Reasons to be cheerful –

Sunshine, fresh air, flowers, Julia, tortoises, hot water bottles.

Twelve minutes to go. I’m getting quite fast at writing inconsequential drivel.

Thirty two minutes, including loading photos and tags. Phew!





A Bunch of Irises

I try to buy Julia flowers nearly every week. The “nearly” is significant as it stops her taking me for granted. Even after 28 years of marriage I feel it’s important to stop complacency setting in.

I also feel you have to ensure you buy them often enough to avoid the suspicion that you are feeling guilty about something.

Mostly I buy roses because they are very reasonably priced all year round, apart from early February of course, and they last well. Younger men may buy with romance in mind but the more mature gent shops with value as his guide.

There is a delicate balance involved – on the one hand it’s an important business in Kenya and I’m supporting an industry in the developing world. On the other hand I’m exploiting poor Africans and the growing and transporting of flowers is damaging the environment. I keep thinking that we should grow our own flowers for cutting, but I always end up leaving them in the garden and buying more.

I try not to buy out of season vegetables, but don’t seem to apply the same thought to flowers, and have never, ever checked the air miles associated with chocolate.

Once the roses start to die back Julia dries the petals of the dark coloured ones for use in pot pourri. That is why I tend to buy the red ones -I feel less guilty about the ozone layer if we upcycle the dead flowers.

However, the choice of roses has not been good recently and I’ve been looking at alternatives. he alteratives are often dire, but they had irises this week. I like irises. Fortunately Julia likes irises too.



The lighting seemed to good to miss, and the tight framing emphasises the beauty of the blooms. It also hides the fact that the living room isn’t as tidy as it could be…