Patience Rewarded

A few days ago, our friend Barrie sent me a CD of his weekly radio programme in which he had featured my post ‘Death Of The Brown Velvet Suit’. A day or so afterwards I received a ripped open envelope with nothing inside, packaged in The Post Office’s transparent apology envelopes. These containers bear a phone number for complainants to use. Suspecting a deliberate act here, I retained the package, intending to check with Barrie.

Today, a lengthening thread on Streetlife, the local internet noticeboard, was begun. Apparently this is now rife in our area. I smelt a rotten apple, and telephoned the complaints department. This is what I then posted on Streetlife:

‘I have just phoned the complaints department. After the usual string of options, I got a person. I made it clear that this problem is rife in the area, and that ‘someone in your office is tampering with our mail’. I was given a reference number, a promise to report it immediately, and also of a written response. Watch this space’.

Damaged envelopeMy own notes have been added to the envelope.

Jackie has done a marvellous job of eradicating most of the more persistent brambles and sticky Willies. Today I put in my twopenn’orth and cleared the few I could find.

Bee on geranium palmatum

Here is the now customary bee picture. This one collects nectar from a geranium.

The parent starlings, striving to satisfy their boisterous brood, are now becoming quite cantankerous with me. In fact I was thankful I was not another starling, such as the one Jackie had seen yesterday daring to approach this family’s territory. Starlings normally gather in a murmuration, such as that collective that stole the chips at Mudeford on September 9th 2013. But not, apparently, when they are rearing chicks. Our pair saw off the intruder in no uncertain terms. They are satisfied with warning me off from a safe distance.Starling 1

Now they perch on the rooftop for a while, squawking at me, fly off in a feint

Starling 3

then return,

Starling 2

drop down, and dive into the facia.

How they can create such a racket with their beaks so full is beyond me. It took three days of intermittent standing with varying degrees of patience to get these shots.

There was a queue outside Mr Pink’s fish and chip shop in Milford on Sea, where another bout of stationary waiting around was rewarded by the usual fresh and crisp cod, chips, and pickled onions that we enjoyed sitting in the car on the sea front.Queue outside Mr Pink's

The gentleman in the check shirt told me that this queue was nothing. It usually trailed many yards down the road. Whilst enjoying our meal and, in Jackie’s case, Hoegaarden, and mine, the last of the Cotes du Rhone, we watched a soaring seagull make a beeline for the P&O cruise ship Adonia passing yachts and the Isle of Wight on its way out to the ocean.P&O cruise ship and yachts on The SolentP&O cruise ship passing Isle of Wight

This made me think of our friend Jessie, who is rather partial to her cruises.


Lake on fieldStream overflowing

Heavy overnight rain had left lakes on the landscape and pools on the roads. Tractor tracks disappeared into a field now occupied by waterfowl. On my walk home from  car trip to Milford on Sea, I took one look at the overflowing stream alongside the footpath leading to the nature reserve, and decided to take the Park Lane route to the clifftop. As I received a sparkling cascade thrown up by a speeding motorist, I realised I may have been slightly mistaken in this.

Councillor Matthew Goode has been helpfully engaged in a conversation on Streetlife about the replacement of the footpath that fell into the sea last summer. Local residents are concerned about the time this is taking. It seems to me it would be rather rash to replace it before proper geological studies have been undertaken. It is easy to see where the next falls could possibly occur. The dog in the photograph was perhaps conducting its own survey.

Dog on clifftop

Crow on stumpCrowsWhenever rooks or seagulls find themselves a convenient post on which to perch, they are dive-bombed by relatives wishing to supplant them, and generally take off in a hurry. So it was this morning.

Later this afternoon, I finished reading Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Orlando’. Woolf herself termed it a biography, which was why it was less popular with booksellers than with the reading public, because the shops believed biography did not sell as well as the fictional genre. Quentin Bell, in his introduction to my copy, describes the work as a prose poem.

James Joyce, in his lengthy novel ‘Ulysses’, manages to occupy no more than twenty four hours in the life of Leopold Bloom. The shorter piece from Mrs Woolf has Orlando, born at the end of the sixteenth century, still living in 1928, changing sex from male to female at the midway point, bearing two children, and reaching the age of just thirty- six by the end of the book.

Having met in 1922, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s friendship developed into a two or three year sexual relationship, perhaps culminating in this gift from Virginia to Vita, first published in 1928. The writer has found a fascinating form with which to celebrate her lover; her lover’s family, the Sackvilles; and Knole, their ancestral home. Orlando/Vita glides through three centuries of largely indulgent life in elegant surroundings described in beautifully flowing, opulent, and gloriously seductive descriptive prose. Woolf was having fun, even to the extent of calling it biography.

Vita Sackville-WestIllustrations of the adult, female, Orlando are photographs of Vita Sackville-West.

My copy purports to be no. 191 of a limited edition of 1000 of the Hogarth Press Collected Edition published in 1990. The £1 pencilled on the flyleaf suggests I bought it second-hand with no dust-jacket. Although the boards look genuine, I was surprised to find the book perfect-bound; containing several typographical errors; and a number of blank pages, not, as in Lawrence Sterne’s ‘Tristram Shandy’, deliberately left so by the author.Stamp

Two stamps, one superimposed on the other, giving an impression reminiscent of the London Underground, are in what my uneducated eye imagines to be Chinese. The only signs that the book may have been read before me were a few splashes of what I hope is coffee on the page edges; and pages 212/213 pasted in. Where has it been, and who drank the coffee?

Second-hand books do often give scope for such speculation.

Becky is, I know, not responsible for the stain, because that was in place when I lent it to her recently. She did, however, take the trouble to find the two missing pages of text on the internet and stick them into the blanks. Other empty pages should be part of the appendices.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s juicy chilli con carne and my plain boiled rice, followed by Pearl’s delicious Dutch Apple Cake with a.n. other’s cream. I started on an excellent bottle of Arene des Anges Costieres de Nimes 2013 given to us for Christmas by Helen and Bill.