By late morning today, the recent storm that has left the population of America’s eastern states digging out heaped piles of snow, having warmed itself on the way across the Atlantic, petered out to heavy rain that lasted all day and is expected to continue for a few more.
The Head Gardener is a regular customer of Otter Nurseries. Like all garden centres, this one, especially in the winter months, must diversify to survive. Like all regular customers, Jackie receives a collection of bargain tokens. One of these was a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer for lunch in the cafe. Like all bargain tokens this had a limited life span – the end of this month to be precise. It had to be done.
Leaving the soggy, scantily clad, sylphs and cute, damp, cherubs beneath the falling rain and among the flickering plant labels; and passing through the main showroom with its staccato overhead pattering precipitation; we entered the warm cafe, its rooftop raindrops silenced by effective double glazing. It was clear from the other token-clutching silver-haired diners, that one had to belong to the third age to be there at this time.
My choice was steak and Stilton pie; Jackie’s was scampi, chips, and peas. Not at all bad.
Later, I finished reading a Christmas present from Tess, Mat, and Poppy. This was ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ by Natasha Pulley.
Who made the bomb? is the essential mystery forming the theme of Ms Pulley’s fantastical novel. The lives of English and Japanese protagonists are interwoven into the fabric of Victorian England and Japan in an intriguing tale which holds the interest throughout. The writer is an imaginative storyteller, the elements of whose plot are indicated on the front board. There is no great character building in this tale which would probably make quite a thrilling film, especially given that the key theme could easily be translated to today’s world.
The said cover, designed by David Mann demonstrates similar imaginative skill of the artist. A circular panel cut out from the board represents the glass of a fob watch, the chain of which stretches down Parliament Street in the frontispiece. Filigree Street does not exist in this part of London.
This evening we dined on Tesco’s Finest Mixed Meats pizza, and Jackie’s fin salads, including the tomatoes and basil in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to which I am rather partial. We shared Fortnum & Mason’s Chablis 2014 – a Christmas present from Luci and Wolf.