Monthly Archives: September 2011

the natural world and I fall out….

…from time to time. I have already ordered the annihilation of six wasp nests since June, and I feel guilty.  I now have a seventh, in the belfry. Yes, Dear Reader, we have a belfry, on our roof. Once used as a mechanism for calling the exhausted estate workers in for meals, it is now a glorified high-rise des. res. for jackdaws. Despite extensive cladding with chicken wire, the little darlings nest every spring and use it as an eyrie from whence to terrorise every finch in the garden. I have even been known to attempt to ring the bell in the hope of shocking them out of it, but they have filled it so completely with twigs that the clapper can’t clap. I’m not going up there to evict them. No siree. Now, the jackdaws have vacated their Spring residence, anyway, so the wasps have moved in. More problematic as the little blighters keep coming in the house to check out the winter accommodation. I am afraid that Lance the Exterminator is going to have to return.

But surely,  I hear you say, the problem must be bats, not wasps? Belfry = bats; no? Well yes, I do have bats. Lots of them. In the attic. And now I have one in the cellar.And it is definitely a problem.

Maybe the current heat is too much for a bat more suited to the damp and frankly freezing climate that is our garret for eleven months of the year. Maybe it has decided to Leave Home and Explore the World. Whatever; it is currently doing an excellent reprise of its Hammer House Of Horror act whenever I turn the light on and venture down the cellar steps. Hence the dilemma. You see, Dear Reader, (if you are still here), the bat is between me and what passes for a wine store in this house. The Victorians probably had masses of wine: we have masses of space, but very little wine.  And that space is currently occupied by a bat the size of a blackbird (I kid you not). And my wine.

Lance the Exterminator? Vlad the Impaler?  Or patience? Answers on a postcard, please.

Aqua is the new blue….

I would describe myself as generally apolitical. Very proud to live in a society which not only gives me a vote, but which encourages me to use it. Admittedly, I have wavered from time to time over which box to tick, but I have rarely failed to vote. So with the prospect of a general election a few years away, but with increasing turmoil in Europe, I decided to watch young Ed’s speech to the Labour Party Conference. And that’s when I started to worry. Now, I know Ed is young in years, but he is so self-evidently, excruciatingly young in character and life lessons that I found myself wondering when his headmaster was going to ask him to leave the stage. Claims to be ‘his own man’ ring hollow when delivered in a strangulated and rising pitch of tension to an audience which includes some very large and determined union leaders…True, those who asset stripped Southern Cross did indeed sell the nation’s grandmothers for a profit, and like Ed, I find that despicable. But the economics which encouraged such debt leverage were promulgated under the last, Labour government. But then again, it’s nothing new: Phoenix and the rape of MG Rover was a real low point for capitalism.

I guess I do believe that the time has come for the voice of the moral majority to be heard again in all sorts of areas: the outcry today over the poor Northern Irish farmer who objected to Rihanna being filmed topless belittles his feeling that what he saw was ‘inappropriate’. So when a political leader calls in idealistic fashion for a more moral form of corporate life I feel that I should find it easy to cheer. And yet, I don’t. The Victorians knew a thing or two about the sort of muscular morality required to build Boards of Education, promote Temperance or create benevolent partnerships with employees. I didn’t see a muscular, moral figurehead, but a petulant prefect, pandering to the Left with threats to ‘predator’ businesses; assuaging the Right with telegenic gestures and courting the Mumsnet vote with cynical reference to his presence at the birth of his son.

With two of my children now voting age, I realise that I am watching the faces that will dictate the political landscape of their futures. I hope that the future for this country holds leaders of both sexes, of strong intellect, with real, tangible work experience outside politics, with an education that reflects the demands of excellence, a social understanding that reflects the complexities of modern life and the courage to work for as long as it takes to build real change. I don’t want a TV-style makeover for the judges. I want that farmer to feel that his opinion counted. I didn’t see that in Ed.

The tile colour is to be aqua….how wise of Smallest to have an alternative option for consideration. Now the wall colour is easy. Aqua…….easier to live with than blue, red or orange.

Decisions, decisions….

Most of the really good decisions I have made in my life have been quick ones. Spur of the moment, rapid and effective. Like starting a family; having another…and another…and yes, another! Becoming a JP. Starting a postgraduate degree thirty years after  leaving uni. Even this Blog. Big decisions, made swiftly. And you know what? I have never regretted any of them (well, in the case of my degree studies, there’s always time..). Trusting my instincts, or jumping in feet first? Well, for someone who is afraid to jump into a swimming pool, I prefer to believe that our instinctive decisions are usually the ones that will suit our natures best. So why, given the small matter of the colour paint to use in Smallest’s bathroom, do I find it impossible to choose? Now, before you think I give a damn about interior design, let me disabuse you. My tried and tested method is to choose all paint colours from the same small range of paints made by one company. This limits choice, and speeds up my decision making. Usually. This time, its different. Smallest would like purple walls. I can see her point. There is a smaller, younger, more daring me that would also like purple (or possibly aubergine) walls too. But instinctive decisions in favour of purple may suit our natures but not the bathroom. Nor His Nibs’ taste, and he is paying for the paint. So, I am weighed down by the weight of this small issue: a safe uncomplicated and probably minimalist shade, or….not? The possibilities are endless. I cannot decide.

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