Good morning dear reader and welcome to a sunny Sunday at Comb Towers. The weather is very hot and dry. My computer says that rain is coming, but the Met Office says not today. It will be interesting to see who is right. I hope you are well and in good fettle and enjoying the summer.
Spouse and I ventured out to an out of town shopping centre near York this week. The days have been very hot and so we set out in the cool of the early morning, to make the hours journey before the day hotted up and the crowds came out. Spouse was driving and I was texting with my friend, Jenny. Or I should say, trying to text. How bossy is the predictive text on my phone? On a scale of one to ten, I would say nine and a half. It tried to interfere with every sentence I wrote and was not up for taking 'no' for an answer, even though it was writing nonsense. I started off trying to type, 'Good morning, Jenny, how are you today?' Left to the phone my conversation with Jenny would proceed thus :
Me Good going morning, thank afternoon. However, aren't area yours this?
Jenny I am fine and what are you up to today? Are you OK?
Me Well, we're, I'm imagine OMG, ingredients! Glad going tonight, tomorrow to yoyo toupees.
Jenny I know it's a bit early, but have you been out on the razzle?
Me No, not now. I'm just sorry going out home through my day dinner, driving in the garage.
Jenny Too much medication ...?
Me You and your friend and your family?
Jenny Not me, you chump. I mean you. You're not making sense.
Me Sounds WhatsApp going with me.
Jenny Or your phone has taken over control of you.
Me I think I have hope, it's aleatory.
Jenny What is that?
Me The inherent uncertainty due to the probabilistic various bar.
Jenny Have you just made that up?
Me No, of now. I'm still statisticians attached until the hope it heads off.
Jenny Err, is Hubby at home today?
Me Yes, he's just going to take care of you both.
Jenny Really? That sounds a bit alarming. How do you mean?
Me He's got a big pot of water and he's going to take it off to clean up the garden.
Jenny But I haven't got a garden.
Me Yes, I am sorry to say that we have yet to see how much we can get this week.
Jenny Maybe you should put your phone away and go and lie down.
Me Maybe you should come over later. I think it's aleatory again.
Jenny Put your phone away and go and lie down. I'll ring you later on. Aleatory! As if ...
Me O.K. Plymouth has always enjoyed a bit of the garden.
Jenny Have you been at those wild berries?
Me Fermented foods are good for you.
Jenny Everything in moderation.
Me Don't think so.
Jenny I think I'll risk coming over. God know what you're up to.
Me OK, because I have know it is really right.
Jenny I'll just pop round.
Me No, not good.
Jenny Why not?
Me Brillliant idea but thank goodness it is not too easy to play with.
Jenny What isn't?
Me Yes, I have got a few jobs that I might play with.
Jenny What kind of jobs?
Me Zoo day tomorrow and then put your Christmas shopping list in you garage, house, car.
Jenny Bit early for Christmas shopping.
Me No worries, Christmas shopping going good here.
Jenny I still think I should come round. What are you doing? Not buying stuff from the internet I hope.
Me A sausage and a cake for lunch, dinner and then we can get some coffee on sunday morning, afternoon, night.
Jenny I'm on my way.
Me Yes, because the weather at the other house is dodging me.
Jenny On my way with a flask of very strong coffee. And then a long lie down for you.
I could quite get to enjoy these conversations dear reader. Somewhere in them there is a weird kind of logic going on. I think I have just invented a new pastime, a bit like the old paper game of 'Consequences.' I hope you have a good week. Perhaps I should do as Jenny recommends and go for a long lie down. Things can only improve.
Good afternoon dear reader and welcome to a truly beautiful summer day in North Yorkshire. It is wonderful to see the sun. The plants and shrubs in the garden are all in bloom and look bloomin' beautiful. We await the arrival of a new water storage tank and my new shed. Unfortunately, this will be much delayed as the sawmill supplying it is snowed under with orders for summerhouses - pandemic staycations are changing the way we use use our gardens. So Spouse gets a rest from his outdoor labours and can catch up with sorting out his own shed for a change.
I have had an interesting week - garden wise. The bottom of our garden gets very moist, as our neighbour's underground stream ribbons under our boundary and on into next door's garden. My latest planting ideas to absorb the moisture and give some interest and colour in spring and summer are Gunnera and bog garden plants. Gunnera are pretty spectacular - they're not known as giant rhubarb for nothing, although they are not edible. But, dear reader, trying to get hold of Gunnera at this time of year is nigh impossible. Partly that I am late in the season in looking and partly that the pandemic has meant meagre supplies this year.
So ... I tracked some down to a well known plant and seed supplier. I will spare their blushes and keep their annonimity. Some weeks ago I placed an order over the internet and paid for my plants. No more was heard and no plants arrived. I emailed enquiring as to their whereabouts. Josh replied.
Dear Patricia, after reading through your email today I am able to confirm there has been an unfortunate back order while trying to process this. The revised dispatch date I am being shown is 1st August. You will be issued with a tracking number upon dispatch. If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to get in contact. With best regards, Josh B. Fifteen - Love. Patricia to serve.
Dear Josh, thank you for your email. I have to admire your elastic use of the Queen's English language - I would venture to suggest almost to the point of terminological inexactitude. "There has been an unfortunate back order whilst trying to process this" ??? Senseless gobbledegook. Do you mean you lost the order? Best wishes, Patricia. Fifteen - All. Josh B to serve.
Dear Patricia, sadly for me I only attended a secondary modern school. Yes, I am quite ancient and well past my sell-by date, but as a retired nurseryman some of my knowledge comes in useful here. I don't really understand your email, I think you were having a dig, but in spite of that I think I have got some Gunnera for you. Best wishes, Josh. Thirty - Fifteen. Patricia to serve.
Dear Josh, Thank you for your email. Nothing wrong with a secondary modern education. At least in that era a spade was a spade. So where did you acquire the phrase, "an unfortunate back order" from? Sounds modern algorithm-speak to me. Best wishes, Patricia. P.S. Thanks for the Gunnera info. Thirty - All. Josh B to serve.
Dear Patricia, Josh has gone to lie down in a darkened room. Your talk of algorithm-speak finished him off. I think he thinks he has accidentally slipped through a time warp and has come up against a whole new language. Don't think he's ready for that. I have taken on his caseload for now and I am very sorry for the delay regarding the delivery of your Gunnera plant. I am going to investigate this back order and find out when we can give you an accurate delivery date. Thank you for your patience in this matter and apologies for the inconvenience caused. Best wishes, Carol H. Forty - Thirty. Patricia to serve.
Dear Carol, dear oh dear. We are back to "back orders" are we? I still don't know what one of those is; I suspect is is a mislaid order if we are being charitable. That aside, I am slightly alarmed, as you only mention Gunnera plant, singular. I ordered Gunnera plants, plural. I hope you recover my "back order" soon. Best wishes, Patricia. P.S. Please give my best wishes to Josh. I always find a good lie down works wonders. Deuce. Carol H to serve.
Dear Patricia, thank you for your email and good wishes for Josh. I have passed them on to him. The good news is that he is slowly rallying and we hope to have him back on the team soon. The bad news is that we have sold out of Gunnera plants and will not have any in stock until next year. We have issued you a ful refund to be paid back into the original method you used to place this order. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Regards, Carol H. Advantage Patricia. Patricia to serve.
Dear Carol, the mystery of the disappearing Gunnera! It could be the title for a new book. Perhaps Josh could help me plot it, when he is not lying down. We could write a horticultural whodunnit, utilising his vast plantsman's knowledge. Now there's a thought to cheer him up, or possibly send him back into orbit to fall through another time warp. Ah well, roll on next year. Maybe I'm gonna getta Gunnera then. Best wishes to you both, Patricia. Game, Set and Match.
Goodbye, dear reader. Have a lovely sunny week and enjoy your favourite tipple under the shade of the sun umbrella. I will toast your good health with a well-earned G & T, whilst I plot "The Mystery Of The Disappearing Gunnera." Cheers.
Good morning dear reader and welcome to a slightly misty morning at Chez Comb. I am delighted to be misty - well, not me but my garden, the more moisture the better. I know I will complain when it is hurling it down with rain in the winter, but I am very grateful for the intermittent drops we have had this week.
We spent a few days in Teesside this week, visiting old friends and old haunts. It was a lovely trip, but as ever in our lives, not without incident; funny and not so funny.
The main reason for our few days away was to spend time with our friend Andrew. He leads a full and busy life fitting in lots of voluntary work in spite of his spina bifida. But, he has been on enforced bed rest for over a year now, to allow a deep ulcerated wound on his back to slowly heal. And it's a very slow process. Andrew has been amazingly forebearing as his life suddenly ground to a halt, but even his patience is wearing thin now. So, believe it or not, dear reader, we thought a visit from our good selves might alleviate his boredom and even cheer him up a bit. We had a lovely time and it was all too short. We'll be going back again soon with new strings for his guitar and hope between us that we will raise the roof with live music and song.
Spouse and I had a little trip down memory lane in the late afternoon and visited our old special places and country walks. We arrived back at Ann's house, (Andrew's Mum), hungry as hunters and ready to make our choices from the Chinese takeaway menu. Job done and we all trooped off to Andrew's small bungalow to have dinner with him. And then, Ann discovered she had left her handbag at home - with the takeaway orders in it and the money!! As home was only a short walk away, Spouse volunteered to go and collect it for her. His offer was gratefully accepted and off he went. Never, never, my dear reader, in all our years of marriage have I ever managed to get Spouse to even momentarily hold my bag for me, but for this lovely lady he happily strode through the streets clutching a strappy white handbag to his manly bosom. Ha ha, and wouldn't you know it, he met someone he knew! 'Didn't think that was your style lad,' said the gent. 'It's not mine,' says Spouse. 'My friend, Ann, left it at home.' The acquaintance grinned broadly. 'Aye, that'll be right lad,' and walked on. I think, dear reader, that's the first and last time Spouse will ever carry a bag.
After a lot of eating, drinking and talking we were late to bed and I anticipated a little lie in as there was no hurry to rush away the next day. Sadly it was not to be. if you don't like gory descriptions look away now, my dear reader, it gets a bit grim. It was a beautifully sunny summer morning; Spouse was sleeping peacefully beside me and I was half-awake. I was busy designing a garden in my head and gorgeous images of lush rolling lawns and flower-filled borders floated past my closed eyes. Don't ask me where this amazing garden was going to be as the ideas were swiftly driven out of my head.
As I mentally pottered around my Garden of Eden, Spouse stirred and I sensed him turning towards me. Reluctant to let go of my beautiful garden, I kept my eyes closed. Big mistake. When I opened them, Spouse was looking over me, smiling his happy morning smile - and drenched in blood; not only that, but spilling blood all over me too ... and the sheet ... and the pillows...
'Oh my God,' I shrieked, 'what's going on?' For a moment Spouse looked puzzled and then he saw the blood spilling over himself and on to me. He put his hands up to his face and they came away covered in blood. Both of us leapt out of bed, blood spattering everywhere and on to everything. 'I think my nose is bleeding,' says Spouse, grabbing a flannel and rushing off to the bathroom.
Honestly, dear reader, I don't think I've every seen as much blood on the set of a Midsummer Murder programme. I know Spouse has got round about ten pints to keep him going, but I reckon about three of them were spattered about the room, all over me and trailing out to the bathroom. I ventured out on to the landing on my way to see if Spouse was still alive and met up with Ann. Well, you can imagine, can't you? Your house guest emerging from her room covered in blood, raises a smidgen of alarm in the calmest of breasts. And alarmed Ann most certainly was. 'What's happened?' she asked. Looking at her upset and bloodstained guest, I fear she was not actually looking forward to the answer. I hastened to reassure her that no-one had died. Oh, the look of relief on her face. 'Well, it looks like a scene from 'Midsummer Murders,' she said and peering through the open door to our room, she questioned my statement. 'Are you sure ... where is he ... Is he alright?'
Thankfully, just then, Spouse emerged from the bathroom, still bloodstained but cleaned up a bit and very much alive. The nosebleed had stopped and he still had a few more pints of blood keeping him going. If it had been a Midsummer Murder, a forensic scientist would have had a field day in that room, never mind a paper trail ... follow the blood!
Spouse was despatched to sit in the fresh air of the cool summer morning and we cleaned things up and laundry was done. Mercifully all was well and no trace of the incident remained afterwards, but I think it will be a long time before the bloody images and memories fade. It may be safer to sleep in the summer house next time we visit - come to think of it, I adored doing that as a child! Spouse appears to be fit and well once more and is as busy as ever about his projects. Let's hope it stays that way.
Good luck to our wonderful England team tonight. We are keeping everything crossed for their success and hope we will all be celebrating long into the night. My very best wishes to you, dear reader and have a great week.
Good morning dear reader. Just a short note to let you know that Spouse and I are playing hookey away from the old homestead and are visiting old friends in the north-east of England. I will be back with you again next week. In the meantime, stay safe and I wish you a very happy week.