The Stave

It all began with the lack of a shower screen in the guest bathroom.

Regular readers may remember that the shower above the bath hung flaccidly off the wall when we arrived at the house. The Lady Plumber fixed it proudly in place, but there was nothing to keep the water from ricocheting off bodies and splashing into the room. Last week we ordered a screen from City Plumbing Supplies and went to collect it today. This was after we had first paid a visit to Gallo Ceramics to order replacement tiles. Mike, who was to fit the screen, advised retiling to ensure adequate waterproofing. He had also suggested a panel to replace the dodgy DIY wooden strips that were currently in place.

David, at City Plumbing, helpfully carried the screen to our Modus. It rapidly became apparent that with both Elizabeth and me in the car there was no way the screen was going in too. This meant Jackie had to take us home first, then return to collect the package. David carried the screen back inside.

We had chosen the side and end panels that we required. Then I had a thought. Suppose we bought a new bath to go with the panels? How much more would that cost? I left the ladies in the car and returned to discuss this with David. Eventually it seemed worth opting for a new bath with its own panels. But we weren’t sure that the standard fittings would fit into our available space.

Back at home I double-checked our measurements, and gave Jackie my card, so that, if the bath would fit, she could pay for it.

Off she went back to City Plumbers. It was still difficult to fit the shower screen into the car, but David did manage it.

Soon afterwards I received a call from Jackie. They didn’t have a bath that would fit. Except for one known as a Pee bath (named I assume for its shape, rather than its potential use) This was especially designed to carry a shower, and came with its own, shaped, screen. It was more expensive, but I would receive a full refund on the screen I had already bought. ‘Go for it’, I advised, and thought that would be that.

Jackie came home for lunch and informed me that I was going back with her this afternoon. This was because we would also require new taps and she wasn’t going to choose them on her own. I certainly wouldn’t have minded if she had. However, back we all travelled. We could all fit into the car because we were not needing to make room for the shower screen. We eventually placed the order for materials which will be delivered nest Tuesday.

After this we paid a visit to Molly’s Den where Jackie bought a metal owl for the garden and a hand-knitted jacket for Poppy. I was ready to leave before the others were, so took myself off to the car to wait for them. As I reached our vehicle I heard, high above, a melodious chorus.

Birds on crane

Looking up, I spotted a stave stretching across the sky. Crotchets and quavers were clustered upon it. Being unable to read music, I can only assume that the hidden voices were trilling the correct tune.

The garden has received a considerable amount of rain in recent weeks. This has had the benefit of promoting growth, but also giving it a battering and sending some buds mouldy.


Japanese anemones 1Japanese anemones 2

the Japanese anemones are lending their usual autumnal radiance to the beds.

Roses are flourishing. Of those newly flowering are:

Rose Shropshire Lad

Shropshire Lad, presumably named after A.E. Houseman’s classic autobiographical poem,

Rose Crown Prince Margareta

and Crown Princess Margareta.

220px-Margaret_of_ConnaughtCrown Princess Margareta of Sweden, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was an accomplished landscape gardener who, together with the Crown Prince (later, King Gustavus VI Adolfus of Sweden), created the famous Swedish Summer Palace of Sofiero in Helsingborg.

During World War I in neutral Sweden, Margareta organized supply drives and acted as a go-between for her relatives whose Allied and Axis countries were divided by the war.

An infection following surgery whilst she was pregnant with her sixth child, who did not survive, sadly ended her life at the age of 38.

Perceptive readers will understand why Jackie termed her new dish this evening toddler tandoori. This was served with savoury rice, onion bahjis, parathas, and salad.

Preparation of toddler tandoori is as follows:

Take tender chicken breasts, which you marinade in the fridge overnight in low fat yoghurt and a mix of tandoori spices found in Lidl, at least. Skin and score the chicken; mix the yoghurt and spices together and plaster them over the chicken. Thighs work equally well.

Bake them in the oven with a little oil, gas mark 2 or 150 electric, for about an hour.

That’s it.

With this Jackie drank Pays d’Oc sauvignon blanc 2014, and Elizabeth and I consumed ValdeVista merlot 2012.


  1. Oh, home improvements! They are seldom easy or simple. Beautiful, beautiful flowers. And woo-hoo! A recipe. It sounds delectable. I will be giving it a try soon.

      1. Thanks so much, Derrick! I will be trying it soon. After Daughter Dee leaves. She’s a vegetarian. With the yogurt marinade, I bet the chicken is very moist.

      1. Thanks Derrick. My name has been thought of around the world! I once stood on the steps of St Peter’s in Rome and announced loudly: I declare Bruce Goodman to be a saint!

  2. LUckily, I don’t feel compelled to make home improvements as we rent for now. Makes me a little nostalgic for my favorite house of the past…In any case, a new tub will be great and good luck with it! Also enjoyed the historical part.

  3. As I was reading I wondered what on earth you would need a piece of an old whisky barrel for. You couldn’t use it as a batten to fix the shower to because a stave has that beautiful curved shape. I thought maybe someone artistic might use it as a gently curved towel rail. I was really quite impressed by that aerial line of music written in the sky. That’s one of the things about reading – the reader bring his own pre-conceptions to the conference and makes the written piece more elaborate still. Very nice little story of the trials and joys of home improvement. And some nice flowers too. And I liked the stave even if it had nothing to do with whisky.

  4. I love the Japanese anemones – such wonderful flowers! Your rose look fantastic for the end of summer (mine are usually a petri-dish of back spot by summer’s end!)

      1. The roses are all treated for fungus and blackspot soon after planting, D!! Also a lot of research goes into choosing disease resistant roses, a lot of the modern roses are now healthier. Sometimes I chose a rose despite it being prone to diseases, if it has a wonderful scent or unusual flower.

      1. Of all the roses in our new rose garden, only 3 are unscented, I wanted to sit in a scented heaven. Of the three unscented roses they were chosen because of their unusual looks or their function, i.e. ground cover. Rose ‘For your eyes only’ (rose of the year 2015.) is a Persica floribunda rose and is so lovely I got it even though the Persica roses have little or no scent.

  5. In the long ago days when we had a garden of our own, we wanted to plant some Japanese anemones, but gee! We had a hunt to find some. Eventually located in a nursery in the Southern Highlands, an area outside of Sydney which has a cool climate. They thrived in our garden, surprisingly I suppose, because summer temps could be high 30s, and they made such a pretty display that I was always pleased we had made the effort to track them down.

      1. Not so much self seed as the roots spread and they constantly pop up in the paths and other places not always suitable. I love them and have dug up the errant plants and moved them around the garden, but do admit to pulling them up now and they go to compost, I like that system, to have a plant that simply needs a little control from time to time but is happy and healthy. So glad you found some eventually and they do so well.

Leave a Reply