Sunday, 28 June 2015

POPPIES, ALLIUMS, REVIEWS and ROBOTS

In my front garden, the poppies have suddenly performed their annual magic - and what a performance it is. On one occasion, David and I stood, like kids, for ages, watching the buds all fat and pregnant with the blossom to come, to see if we could capture the precise moment it happened (and no, cameras are not the same as human eyes), but we never did.  It felt like a stage magician's trick - pulling, no, !exploding! stuff out of a hat.

Yet another small garden miracle happened recently. Three years ago, we planted two spectacular alliums (well, we believed the pictures in the garden centre). In their first year, they produced masses of rather floppy green leaves, and in the second, likewise, but this year in Spring a single stem began growing out of the limp salad mess, and I didn't even notice it until it was tall enough to produce a round, fat bud, out of which came this star-burst. David, with his passion for all things astronomical, would have loved it.

And concerning other things astral, I'd like to mention Amazon's star rating system for books, which is so open to abuse. A very well-established author friend and colleague of mine, Jean Ure, recently posted on Facebook that one of her books received a one star review from a young reader who wrote that she'd absolutely loved the story, but had then detected an omitted full stop! I found myself wondering if she might have been related in some way to Michael Gove who (seriously mis-quoting Bob Dylan) could take the stars out of the night-time and paint it midnight black. Yes, punctuation is important, as is spelling - they're both vital elements in the communications toolbox - but stories and poetry and the sheer music of words are so much bigger than the rules. It's a complex problem, though... I know I couldn't read a badly punctuated book because it implies ignorance of the craft of wordsmithing, but I doubt if I'd notice a single omitted full stop unless I were actively looking for it, which is not what reading's about.

A few days ago I was given a general anaesthetic for a minor wrist operation, and I'm still recovering from the after-effects of it. The reason I'm mentioning it is because Jude, my daughter, came up from Cornwall to stay with me, and we did, as always, do a lot of talking. One of the things we discussed was the fate of one of my Y/A novels: SIRIUS RISING, which has been doing the publishing rounds for a number of years, and which has nearly, but not quite, made it. If I put it on Amazon KDP, which I've been long considering doing, then formatting and cover design become major issues. Jude is now quite a whizz at Photoshop, so we began playing. The other important thing she talked about was "SPILLIKIN", which is the play her company's pitching to the Edinbrough Festival. Its theme is fascinating and thought-provoking - the use of advanced robotics to cope with the problems of dementia in an ageing population (a robot has infinite patience, and yes, there's a real one in the play). I will be saying more about this in my next blog, but in the meantime, do take a look at Pipeline Theatre's website.

And lastly, of course ...






6 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

I share the magic of those poppies with you, Enid. It seems that, one minute there's the promising bunch of leaves appearing and plumping up, then a few stalks climbing up out of them with fat buds, and suddenly one morning, they've exploded into those glorious splashes of red, orange or colours that need an artist's brush to convey them.

Oh, and a piece of advice from a fellow wrist-surgery case, don't mow the lawn. I did that yesterday. The grass looks great but, in terms of recovery from the operation, it wasn't a good idea.

Enid Richemont said...

Thanks Bill - advice heeded. SO difficult to rest one's dominant hand, though - too many things to do.

Anna Munden said...

Your Anna here, lovely blog. We too have wonderfully large poppies in our back garden, which amaze me with every look. Im going to grow some indoor seeds to have with salads tonight, and that can be my token bit of gardening for a while! The best kind, with almost instant gratification. Hope the wrist eases up, sending healing thoughts your way.

All my love, Anna x x x

P.S its funny that I had to tick a box saying 'I'm not a robot' before posting this, given the play we are rehearsing! (and thanks for the mention!)

Lydia Bennet said...

yes poppies are wonderful especially fields of them, it's interesting and a lovely gift, that the oilseed rape fields of yellow are left standing and all the poppy seeds which had been lying dormant and unseen for years now have a chance to come up and blaze away.

Sandra Horn said...

What a delightful post, Enid! The power of nature...I planted an asphodeline recently, as much for the name as anything, and a new clematis to replace the one climbing up through the crab apple, which has died. Then stepped back and trod on the asphodeline. Snapped it clean off. Now it's sprouting!! Yayy!! Take care of the wrist, please.

Enid Richemont said...

Good to see you on here, Anna. And ticking a box is a lot easier than those awful Kapcha things to prove we're not robots. Keep reading our blogs - there are some fantastic writers here, and it's well worth a visit, not just for me. Much love to you too.