A tale of a grapevine

Five years ago in the Scandinavian backwoods, I planted the stock of a vine in a pergola and enjoyed watching it grow strongly, up and over the framework each summer; duly flowering and offering up a few bunches of green grapes every year.

Just before the Beast from the East passed through, I pruned it back and transplanted it into a biggish pot for its move to Blighty, hoping it could survive its man-handling. And here it is! Three weeks into its life here, it is just starting to come into leaf (almost a month later than ‘normal’), encouraged by a spell of weather better suited to its Mediterranean origins.

As you can see, I have planted a few strawberry plants for company, and it has a commanding view of my neighbour’s manicured English garden. And a little Greek pot provides nostalgic comfort for greyer days.

Later this year, I’ll post another picture – which I hope will show how it has thrived in sunny Sussex.

Absence makes the heart…….break

The thing is I’m dragging my Backside back to Blighty – to reside in sunny Sussex. So I’m busy with the rather complicated process of de-Viking(ing)* us and preparing for a Spring return to our green and pleasant land.

I mention it because it’s about time there was some real news hereabouts and I know my patient reader will be mildly intrigued and might occasionally be inclined to follow the new exploits of the Janus/Backside combo.

ETA late April. Meanwhile Jack Frost and the Snow Drifters are promising to visit the wild woods very soon.

* © Janus 2018

A name to conjure with

Carles Puigdemont. It’s a cracker, anagram-wise.

Let’s leave aside the bizarre concept of an elected European pollie seeking political asylum in Belgium – whose own cultural conflicts deserve serious attention!

CP offers us some marvellous phrases:

Is he RECOMPUTING DEALS? Does he come from the CAMPGROUND ELITES? Is Catalonia now an IMPREGNATED LOCUS? Is Madrid PROSECUTING LAMED ducks? Or are they all MODULATING CREEPS? Is there a MOULDERING ASPECT to all this? Is JP PERMEATING CLOUDS? Or is it a storm in a SMOLDERING TEACUP?

Have your own fun with it – the list is endless.

A favourite voice

 

John Motson OBE, of the sheepskin jacket and Midlands twang, is retiring after 50 years on the mic. The Evening Standard celebrates appropriately:

”The 72-year-old has covered 10 World Cups, 29 FA Cup finals and more than 200 England matches.
He is renowned for an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game – and the occasional on-air gaffe.

Here, we recall some of his most memorable moments behind the microphone. Continue reading “A favourite voice”

A Pyrrhic victory?

The ever-vigilant meeja continue to report that the EUroprats are sneering at the efforts of the UK team to negotiate BREXIT, led by JC Juncker himself. But if it’s obvious to me it must also have struck others that the EU members have a lot to lose from driving the UK into a corner. Why? Because whether the EU’s feelings are hurt or not, the UK will remain an important trading partner. And trade goes both ways.

The Chambers of Commerce of Britain and Germany seem to have reached a similar conclusion, pointing out to the EU that businesses will suffer if more positive moves are not made – and soon.

Let’s hope that as their suntans fade the EU’s supercilious expressions will also give way to serious attempts at agreement. Otherwise, who wins?

Life ain’t easy

Prince Philip’s dignified withdrawal from public life last week is not mirrored by his counterpart in Denmark, for whom the rôle of second fiddle has long been a bone of contention with his Queen, Margrethe.

Charles+Camilla+visit+Queen+Denmark+-sm0NZ-x0THm

Prince Henrik (whose name was modified from the French, Henri) performed his duties as consort for several decades until 15 years ago when his son, Crown Prince Frederik, became first reserve whenever the Queen was unable to turn up. Henri saw it as a slight. More recently he made it known, rather forlornly, that he should be promoted to King; and only last week he announced his burial place would not be alongside his Queen in Roskilde, the traditional resting place of Danish monarchs. He no longer participates in royal events at all. (The above meeting was in March this year.)

Perhaps, if pressed, he would point out that his predicament could never happen to a female consort – witness his son’s Tasmanian spouse: eventually to be Queen Mary (not Maria!) when Frederik accedes. All I can say is, life ain’t easy, Henri.

One of those voices

Entertainment in the ’50s and ’60s was all about sound, not so much about images. The wireless played a leading rõle in family life, with the morning pips reminding us we were already late, the evening news gathering us together at 6 o’clock and favourite programmes on weekdays and at weekends. And in our house the cricket coverage was eagerly awaited, especially the voice of John Arlott.

So it was probably my generation of listeners who first welcomed what is now known as TMS; a sporting institution. Down the years Brian Johnston (sans the ‘e’) and his younger pupils have bemused and amused us every year.

But Henry Blofeld has been a star in the firmament, with erudition and wit we should hardly expect from a mere sport programme. And now he too is going to retire.

Thank you, Bloers!

The dance begins

As ever the meeja think the Brexit talks are a tennis match. Wrong. It’s more like chess. Sacrificing a pawn opens up new possibilities. Remember M Barnier has so many masters to serve, while David Boyo has a clear mandate: to do the best for the UK. While the cynics sneer, he can make concessions and win territory without the serried ranks of Europrats second guessing him. Give it time, friends!