Second Spring

The warm weather has filled our garden with a second showing of poppies, cornflowers, magnolias, rhododendrons and millions of passion flowers but the cool and rainy days (25.5 mm yesterday) have returned.
A1 is reading Holly by Stephen King. This is SK’s COVID novel, featuring his well-drawn private eye heroine Holly Gibney. Full of ire about Trump, COVID conspiracy theories and medical pseudoscience — “She didn’t die of COVID, she died of stupidity” — it’s an enthralling look at how the US citizenry reacted to the pandemic.
A2 is reading Death of a Lesser God by Vaseem Khan (thx A1).

Excess of Passion

Just a few of the hundreds of passion flowers that are growing all over our wall.
Admin1 is reading The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, a highly convoluted and (self-acknowledgedly) Dickensian tale of lost inheritance, mysterious (and fakecartomancy, decades-long lawsuits and a family at war with — and in love with — itself. The complexity and narrative unreliability increases for the first two-thirds of the book, but the hard work pays off handsomely in the final third. A difficult read in places (the included family tree is helpful), but very much worth it. Thanks Admin2!

Pop-up Poppies

Since the replacement of our back garden hedging with a fence, a number of these plants have shot up in the disturbed soil. They appear to be Papaver somniferum, otherwise known as opium poppies.
Today was our second ever sunniest day for the solar panels (13.430kWh), and the recent run of good weather means it’s on the 7-day sequence records.
Admin2 is reading Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon.

Adam and Eve

Yesterday the lovely Dave came round and cleared up a bit of our garden including this invasive, poisonous and highly suggestive Arum maculatum (aka snakeshead, adder’s root, arum, wild arum, arum lily, lords-and-ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, soldiers diddies, priest’s pintle, Adam and Eve, bobbins, naked girls, naked boys, starch-root, wake robin, friar’s cowl, sonsie-give-us-your-hand, jack in the pulpit and cheese and toast). Today the lovely Dave and family came for tea of roast beef, air-fried pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing balls, broccoli, carrots and peas with parkin for afters. We scored 11 (rounded up) on the GSQ. Our other visitor today was a stupid pigeon which hopped into our house and started eating the cat food, then hid in a corner and took ages to chase outside again.

First Poppy

A marker of the changing seasons.
Admin1 is rereading Lamentation by CJ Sansom. Admin2 is reading Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan. Malabar House, like Slough House, the Peculiar Crimes Unit and Department Q is a holding pen where misfit investigators are shuffled out of sight; and investigation takes a back seat — there is so much (interesting) Indian history, geography, theology, politics and sociology on show that the plot just fits in the gaps between disquisitions.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

The garden after an April that was cooler and wetter than the last couple of Aprils and had absolutely average sunshine. Bluebells up, tulips down, magnolias still going, poppies in abeyance, foxgloves nonexistent and the cool black tulips hidden behind all the other stuff. Admin2 mowed the lawn but it sprung back up again. It’s now No-mow May so go, go grass!
Admin1 is rereading Dissolution by CJ Sansom. Admin2 is rereading The Extremes by Christopher Priest; tldr: VRSF.

Raindrops on (Prim)roses

Admin1 has been reading Standing by the Wall by Mick Herron and Admin2 has been reading The Twyford Code by Janice Hallet; the cover art makes it look like a cosy crime caper in the mould of Richard Osman but it is a tricky misdirectional slow reveal in the manner of a Girl Book, though no girls were involved, presented as a screed of transcripted audio files. We are now reading other things so we need another photo.
Meanwhile we had our traditional Sunday dinner with the delightful inclusion of Frankie and scored a sad 9 on the GSQ.

Plum Blossom Time

Suddenly there are buds all over the little plum tree. Let’s hope there are plums this year.
It is also Booktally Day. So far we have read 2597 books in 10 years, 288 in the last year.
We had tuna pasta bake for Sunday tea (thx Admin1) and scored 11 on the GSQ.
Admin1 is reading Nightrise and Admin2 is reading Death’s Door, both by Jim Kelly.

Causing a Fence

We have been meaning to get our half-dead overgrown hedge which brings down the tone of the area removed for ages, even though it is a godsend to wildlife, but we just don’t have the time, tools, skills, energy or chops to look after it. So when a man came to our door offering to change it for a fence we were receptive. Asked him to leave his business card and later found a leaflet from a well-regarded company in the letterbox so told him to go ahead, having also been assured he had a chipper and digger. They were a different company with no machinery except a chainsaw. They ended up hauling away seven tons of trees by hand and we ended up paying three times the estimate. So it goes. Still we do have a fence.

Solitary Passion

Of all the hundreds of flowers that have bloomed on our passiflora (which lives in a small pot and has grown all over the patio, tangled up with the honeysuckles, beans and grapes) this year, only one has developed into a fruit.
September was slightly colder, wetter and sunnier than last year.
Admin1 is reading The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd. Admin2 is reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Both were disappointingly juvenile.

Lavender’s Blue, Lavender’s Green

We missed last week’s family meal so this week we had 2 quizzes to do. We scored 10 on this week’s and a mere 7 on last week’s, even with generous marking, so our running average is now below 10. That bee is definitely cleverer than us.
Admin1 is reading Dead Rich by GW Shaw and Admin2 is reading The Chelsea Murders by Lionel Davidson.