The Lion Is Rampant


Today was heavily overcast, the sun only making momentary appearances this morning. I wandered around the garden investigating its current condition.


Different varieties of daffodil continue to bloom; some Jackie has planted with pansies in the new urn we bought a few days ago. As can be seen in the last of this cluster, flies seem to like yellow flowers.


A range of tulips are beginning to burgeon.

West Bed

Plants in the West Bed gain in height daily;

Japanese maple

Japanese maples are coming into leaf.

I don’t think one is expected to doze whilst finishing reading a thriller, especially when enjoying it, but I did this afternoon. Well, it was soporific, and yesterday was a different kind of heavy.

The book was ‘The Lion is Rampant’, the first, written in 1979, by Ross Laidlaw, a Scottish writer of historical, thriller and spy fiction. It is a fast moving dystopian novel set in the Britain of the 1980s. Laidlaw’s story imagines a rebellion over Scottish Independence, a less violent political conflict concerning which continues to this day. Clearly bringing his experience of the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya to his British fantasy, Laidlaw’s work has an air of credibility. He writes fluently, describing human emotions, the tough Scottish landscape, and harsh weather conditions. He uses dialogue well. The action scenes do have a touch of Daniel Craig’s James Bond about them, but they are none the worse for such exciting derring-do. It is a gripping story with a suitably understated thread of romance. I regretted having taken nearly forty years to read it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi with pilau rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.




  1. My beautiful little Japanese maple has gone from flaming red to brown and is dropping its leaves fast now, so it is lovely knowing yours is getting underway for the season. That’s a long time to leave a book unread!

  2. Living in Sydney I don’t ‘get’ the value of bulbs but seeing how they transform the northern winter garden makes me appreciate them more.

    Good book review – a thriller that puts you to sleep.

  3. It always spoils it a bit for me when an author has chosen a specific future time which is now past and where one knows that what was supposed to happen didn’t happen! Better to leave that part of it vague.
    Never mind the Lion — your garden is rampant!

  4. That maple is gorgeous. Could the Head Gardener divulge the variety?
    Have you had these rotten gales? I planted an acer a week ago. Yesterday I dug it up again, put it back in its pot and nestled it in a corner out of harms way. I was afraid the stem would snap it was getting whipped around so much.

    1. We’ve not been lashed by wind lately, Jessica. I’ll ask the Head Gardener about the maple when she gets up 🙂 but she follows you as well. This one was here when we came

    2. Sorry Jessica, it was inherited with the garden, it has wonderful yellow leaves in summer, big chunk of it died last year, and as another one also lost its main trunk I was worried about Verticillum wilt, but they have both powered back this spring and there was no sign of the dreaded black rings in the wood so fingers crossed. It is about 4ft. tall at this the time. Not sure how old it is (at least 6 years old).

      1. Thanks Jackie. We have a similar inherited specimen and I’d love to know what that is too. I hope yours have got over their difficulties now and give you years more pleasure. An acer is a wonderful tree to have. They’re so elegant. Wind has dropped. Mine might find itself back in the ground today.. 🙂

  5. The denizens of your garden have woken up with panache. Mr Holmes has always been the hero to me. It is impossible for me to believe he didn’t exist. He is not unlike your garden which has periods of dormancy. Anything faintly resembling Agent 007 puts me off.

  6. You have brought into my conscious awareness how daffodils resemble the heads of lions. Lovely lions have gone rampant in your garden!

  7. I love a little cat nap in between reading. Very refreshing. And bright overcast is the best for taking pictures of flowers. Often hard to get.

  8. I enjoyed Ian Fleming’s books back in the 70’s in high school and college to divert my brain from the serious studying I was doing. Intrigue and spy novels have such great action filled plots! I prefer the dark haired James Bonds like Sean or Pierce. . . ?

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