Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen. I know it sounds dull at the moment, but giving the chapter a title hasn't been easy for your writer of pulp. The tentative title is Wine and Cafe which is very far from satisfactory because our hero has particular associations with the word wine and the word cafe. His understanding of wine is most allied to high level snoot factor, whining and wheedling, and around the word cafe our hero has a whole lot of allergic responses which are probably best summarized by the words Starbucks, briefcases and over priced double de-cafe lattes. 

Yes indeed, our hero is a complex character, he might even be too complex for your writer of pulp, his place on the Christmas tree more like a metaphorical recess in the psychology wards of academia than a bright shining bauble from which tinsel is strung during carol singing season. One possible solution to Chapter Seventeen is to give it the title The Garters which is the name of the establishment currently employing our hero. For my part I think The Garters might work as a title because I'm pretty sure that a substantial proportion of the world will share our hero's poor reaction to The Garters as the name for any kind of place that offers food and lodging.

Monday, March 30, 2015


In the year 2012 March 15th was Peak Forsythia Day. On this year of 2105 Peak Forsythia Day is probably sometime this week, or early next week. We're not talking geologically depressing time frames, but we are talking one person depressing time frames.

It would seem that this little part of the world is doing it's bit to slow the trend toward Alligators in the Green River. And I was so looking forward to reading the Headline "Green River Alligator Snaps Up Beagle."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Edward Lear, The Dandelion and Wine

Kerkyra is the island, Kerkira is the big town on the island. Or alternatively Corfu is the island and Corfu City is the big town on the island. It has the beaches, the umbrellas, the sun tanning  and your writer of pulp can almost guarantee the reader that it has the nighttime pictures of scantily clad people engaged in hedonistic activities around things like cocktails on Face Book. No point boring the reader with details of Sir Henry Knight Storks' life story, except to say that Albert Cromby, the owner of The Garters, may have been related to Sir Henry Knight Storks who was the last British High Commissioner of Corfu a tenure that ended in 1863. A provenance that was a big deal for The Dandelion, or Albert Cromby's much younger and very, very pretty wife Helen Cromby.

The Rabbit and our hero soon realized that Edward Lear, the Holloway illustrator, musician, author and Poet, youngest of twenty one children and his Albanian chef must at one time or other have spent time at The Garters. The gentleman's rest room was called "Owls" and the lady's room was called "Pussycats." A big silver punchbowl had been given the name "Runcible Spoon." There were frightfully funny limericks embroidered onto napkins that had to be folded like fortune cookies. And a person might think the joke would get old quickly, but with English Expatriate Communities there is no such thing as a joke that gets old. So it was all very easy, well fed work for our hero until The Rabbit found out that Edward Lear had illustrated Tennyson's Poems. Nor did it get any easier when our hero realized that in matters of his infatuation with the Dandelion, pretending to have no knowledge of the English language was a bit of disadvantage.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Eden, Heaven and Hell

To go beyond cultivation, change the garden narrative, might not be possible for your correspondent. He has an idea why it is people tear land up and he has an idea why it might not be the best thing to do. He knows what Eden would look like. It's a place where Creeping Grass would lie down with the Groundhog and where Frost would be subject to contract law.

Alternatively Eden is a place to visit, but for your correspondent something like the narrative of Cancun or Benidorm is pretty much out of the question, they sort of summarize for him what hell would look like. Then there are secondhand bookshops, and the trouble is not every secondhand book shop is an Eden, because some of them pretend to be heaven.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rampant Mysticism

There's a big difference between enjoying the idea of being old fashioned, and realizing the nature of being old fashioned. And here your correspondent isn't thinking in terms of abominations such as IPods and High Heels, he's talking about the relationship between soil and his shovel. The shovel is a short term easy solution and probably wrong.

A couple of hard weeks, there's a shine and a smile, and it all looks kind of ready. He sees what he calls tilth, he knows where his Potatoes are and he feels very proud of himself. He's got what he thinks is obedience and order, his beds no longer bark at him. But what he's actually got is something that looks right to his old fashioned eye. It's rampant mysticism.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Potato Growing

Twenty three Red Norland Potato just in time for a little rain. And I have to say the sense of accomplishment is big, it's an Everest Moment. The body however still has a few objections to the planting technique which involved some kneeling in a twelve inch trench. Not easy and not pretty to look at or to listen to.

 The Red Norland is an adorable Potato and it's not one of these bad tempered keeping Potato, rather it's a fresh faced, cheerful, eating as soon as possible Potato of good character, good morals and youthful appearance. And it's a well known fact that a gardener is obliged to say these sort of glowing things about a Potato because it's all part of the Potato growing process.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Naming of Parts

It's pretty much in the ear of the beholder, and to my ear Bernice is an American name. So is Kurt and Eugene, Holly, Morgan, Dean and Ricky. Daphne sounds like an English name to me, as does Diana and Paul. Some names are definitely American, like Katrina. And some names are definitely English names, like Philip. Other names are Sargasso Sea names, like Henry. Of course it's all a matter of opinion, but as we writers of pulp will occasionally exclaim, "Opinion Rules Dude!"

Then there's the question of why people give their children particular names. Do they wake up in the morning and announce, "We will name our boy child, Howard!" Or is it something truly thought out, with hours of research into the meanings associated with names, family history, long debates, terrible arguments, moments of icy impasse. Well if not I hope so, because that's what we writer's of pulp have to go through whenever our hero meets someone in something like a Grocery Store. Much more of it and our hero's just going to have to live in a cave!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Hope springs eternal yet there'll probably be a visit to town. Not a prospect anyone looks forward to unless there's something seriously wrong with them. And the thing about a visit to town is to avoid entering a state of ennui that can addle the list making process.

Never again will I mess with any kind of white Potato. They're not happy around here. And never again will I attempt to store Potato for longer than about six weeks. So sadly there's just going to be one quite long row of Red Potato the name of which I'll remember if I see it. So it's all very tense.

Monday, March 23, 2015


A little behind on the Potato. The ground has got to be over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and life proceeds, inch by inch, painful step by painful step, and it's probably unnecessary to repeat that the call of the Amorous Boy Cardinal can get a little grating.

There is however a House Sparrow who for the March and April of the last couple of years has successfully conducted his affairs high in the eaves of the barn. Can't say I miss his presence this year, because his courtship perch is such that the barn acts as a megaphone. And too, Boy Phoebe can be spotted flying around with insects in their beaks, which is pretty passionate behavior from a Boy Phoebe.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thou Canst Not

I guess the principle problem is best summarized by a Commandment such as "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Looks and sounds fairly straightforward, easy to remember, makes perfect sense, clear as crystal until a debate emerges about what God the Creator meant by "Kill." One argument is that in this context God meant "Do Murder." Or "Thou shalt not kill illegally."

Deciding what kind of killing is and is not legal, is then down to those who are related to the right people, who have studied in the right places of learning and who have decided they have God the Creator on their side and have persuaded others to agree with them. And then there are people who reckon that trying to work out why we people do the things we do is a totally pointless exercise that just goes nowhere. However, "Under No Circumstances Canst Thou Burn Other People Alive," does make a sort of God-Like sense to me. But maybe I'm just getting old.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Outdoors

Some of us are behind on the outdoor work. The list of things to get done is a long one, it goes on and on into the realm of pure fantasy.

And sometimes there's a genuine understanding of the valuable and important role played by indoor/outdoor carpeting and car parks.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chapter Thirteen

Some place names are tricky for a writer of pulp. Gat Thabo, for example, has all sorts of problems. To begin with it doesn't sound very nice, and it looks like a someone might have a lisp, so Gat Thabo is out. To call it the Golden Bay, reflects the meaning of the place name a little bit, but it lacks what we writers of pulp call "Umph." Just sort of sits there like a Mollusk.

The Timeless Place, is one option, but this too has a sort flatness to it, and our hero when he was there was kind of edgy, so he didn't really think of it as a Timeless Place. There's been some debate around the idea of naming the place after an M3 Half Track called Dotty Doodle, but really it was more about The Long Handled Shovel than the Half Track. So I'm just going to call it Chapter Thirteen for a while.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oh Happy Day

There's a degree of swaggering around in your correspondent, there's a gleam in his eye, a bounce to his step, a sense of accomplishment, and of passing a finish line.

Yesterday as temperatures dropped in a most dramatic and worrying way he thrust his shovel into one of the finished Compost Piles and it was like gold. A happy, happy day for a gardener. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Large Tussock Grasses

A person can inherit plants. Oh the time and effort and how beautiful, how tough, resistant and hardy. "They survived the drought of '73." And there's a sort of glow from a previous landholder. My own advice to anyone who might inherit what's loosely referred to as Pampas Grass, is "Fire, Swords and Roundup."

 And I know I'm not alone here. There are some who feel the same way about Privet Hedging. The routine of care begins and overtime a certain resentment builds, there's an occasional relocation, and with Pampas Grass that's not easy, then the years gather and a degree of what I'll call "hatred" develops.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Most likely there's a Merlin haunting, and much better for everyone if he moves on to some kind of military base where they respect that kind of despicable behavior. The thing about having a Raptor making a home within a couple of miles of the territories is that no one's safe, and we're all edgy and creeping about and feeling very jumpy and wondering about the point of it all.

 Haven't seen a Mockingbird since the last snow. Not the Close Mockingbird or the Cedar Mockingbird or any kind of a Mockingbird. Raptors do that, they kind of clear-cut because they're lazy and stupid and altogether very unpleasant. Hope his legs turn sooty and his eyes cloud, and that's all I can say about him.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Compost Piles and Their Vulture

Very convinced there'll be no planting of Potato tomorrow. Not only is your correspondent "stove-up" which is a gardener's expression for "steam-rolled" but ground is "bog-like and primeval" which basically means too wet to make much sense of.

 And too, the Compost Piles are so cold they might still have ice in them. But it was nice to see the Compost Pile Vulture yesterday. He or she did a quick fly-past, his or her wing feathers in excellent condition. The Compost Pile Vulture has a great deal of white on his or her wings, very noticeable.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Promotional Activities

The fanfare achieves nothing unless it includes a list. I'm thinking impactful, I'm thinking meaningful, I'm thinking some sort of end of the world scenario and there will be pictures of cats, athletic young people doing things like hugging each other, drinking, and having a jolly good time in Cancun. So it's all very exciting.

 The alternative to all this "Wow Factor" is what I'll call "Clint Factor." It's that "Go ahead, make my day" kind of thing, with a well considered sentence that ends with "punk!" But when your writer of pulp has outdoor activities to concern himself with, there are little voices which suggest that neither "Wow" nor "Clint" will make any difference at all to Mathurin, bless him!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


The wiser part of your correspondent has come to the conclusion that any confusion in The Windral has to to with Springtime Compost Piles. They're out there waving placards and making a heck of a noise when they're not sulking.

And then there are Strawberry and Asparagus, there's Potato, engines to repair, the endless confusion of the leaping forward, and there's a whole panoply of disturbances. Nor is your correspondent very good at what they call multi-tasking. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Creative Differences

A little bit of an impasse. Our hero is behaving himself in The Windral, but he's not happy about it. As a writer of pulp I have suggested that an accuracy of the narrative might not be absolutely necessary, but an heroic hero as opposed to an ordinary common or garden hero doesn't just gloss stuff over. He stands up, he bares his chest. And The Rabbit agreed that our hero's reply "I don't mind being a common or garden hero" just isn't good enough.

Either way we all know The Rabbit's own accounts of existence are very high gloss indeed. He's always been suspiciously vague about his relationship with Hyder Ali of Mysore. And it would seem that during the First Anglo-Mysore War when The Rabbit was in Hyder Ali's service, Hyder Ali was being courted by the French. The Rabbit may even have got his Mysore Rocket powder from the French. So there's what you might call 'creative differences' going on and it's not very pretty.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fist Sightings of Sheep

The big news from this very small part of the world is all about Mathurin. Not only has Mathurin been given the title Mathurin, which in and of itself is very big news, but he has now found his way downstairs and is with The Editor. And it's a tense sort of excitement for your writer of pulp whose spelling falls into the category The Grauniad. A Manchester newspaper the more proficient speller will refer to as The Guardian.

Mathurin's cousin who went by the name Derailment, if anyone likes to remember, when launched into the ether had a few spelling mistakes. The one I really enjoyed was "At his fist sighting of sheep." And with many thanks to the Friend Who Lives Too Far Away, "Fist Sightings of sheep" interesting though they might sound, will soon no longer be a part of Book Three of The Rabbit of Usk. However, a "Fist Sighting of Sheep" does seem to demand a definition all to itself. Several chapters, possibly in Book Ten.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Romper Wear

There's a good possibility of being hot soon. Some of us have been dressing in romper wear for what feels like years. And if anyone wishes to know what romper wear is, think of the roly-poly propaganda man from Michelin. Never understood why he looks happy.

But the thing about romper wear is that a person gets used to it. When time comes to give consideration to removing a couple of layers, it's not as easy as it should be. It's too much like tempting fate, what with the Bulbs looking perky and the Frogs all chirpy. We all know we're being teased!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Not for the first time your correspondent was asked yesterday whether he'd ever seen snow before. He was once asked whether he'd ever seen television before. He'd cleaned his ears, he'd shaved, he was under some stress, so to minimize conversation his reply to yesterday's question was "Only on television."

I guess it's the accent that puts a person in a place out of which it's very difficult to crawl. And it's a sad thing when what a person sounds like determines what he or she might have seen. Then I looked down, and my socks didn't match, which is a big No-No round here. But the "have a blessed day" on the way out, went down well, I think..

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Rescheduled Day

A rescheduled day. Three o'clock this afternoon. Several hours from now. A long cruel wait, which will probably include a great deal of Nowcasting. It couldn't be at a worse time. Never again. There's a ceiling light to look at, a clock, a little propaganda about white smiles to curl the toes at. And through the window there's a car parking area to look at.

And it's at this juncture your writer of pulp allows his mind to wander across the pages of Mathurin, who at least had the bottom shelf of his House Library to stare at. It was the shelf of H, and in the shelf of H there were sixteen books, all of which except one had been written by Henty. The first book in the row had been written by Habberton and that book was called Annals of a Baby Son.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Northward Bound

Sandhill Cranes may have decided to venture Northward. Some part of their being has been circling loudly. There's obviously been discussion amongst them, and last night your correspondent heard them calling. Have to think their decision has been made.

In the generations of these particular Sandhill Cranes that pass this way, the fossil record suggests that they've been making this same sort of decision for certainly two and a half million years, possibly ten million years. The first human settlers crossed the Bering Straight into the Americas something like forty thousand years ago.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Your writer of pulp has struggled with the title Mathurin. His main problem is that he doesn't actually like the name until he puts it into the context of Saint Maturin. Then it all makes sense to him, except for the spelling of the Saint's name. And true what sometimes makes sense to your writer of pulp doesn't make sense to anyone else. This he's been told is one of the penalties paid by those who dwell in splendid isolation and have reached that point in life where neighboring counties are foreign countries which should really require passports to visit.

Then there's the problem of naming places. Our hero has spent time in a number of them, developed an understanding of them that might not be entirely accurate but his opinion of them could well produce what the legal professionals have dubbed libelous activity, and it's that sort of area where some religious professionals see their opportunity to engage medieval solutions. But along with the title Mathurin, a time comes when your writer of pulp puts his sunglasses on, he comes down from the mountain with his stuff written in stone, and for a couple of minutes like Moses, he's kind of pleased with himself.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Good strong moon last night. The sort of moon that peers into sleeping rooms, somehow gains access, wanders around a little, pokes at things and asks questions.

The moon can't help it. Once or twice a month she becomes incredibly nosey, and it's best to remain calm. I have found that jumping around and cursing achieves nothing.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


There's a thin line, or a couple of thin lines, that run from The Wash all the way to Cornwall. The Wash is a big bay just above the south eastern part of England that bulges and is basically called East Anglia. Cornwall is in the south western part of England that looks like a witches toe pointing toward Brazil. These lines are roads or paths that have been there for thousands of years. The easy number is five thousand years, back to the Bronze Age. Others will say the pathways have been there for ten or twenty thousand years, but the Bronze Age is so much more comprehensible than the Stone Age to us people as we are today.

When the English enclosed their land, divided and marked it into chunks, these pathways had to settle with the idea of enclosed land. The route they took had been kind of random. It depended upon the weather, what bits were muddy what bits were dry. They couldn't just wander around on property without causing high dudgeon from those who reckoned upon the correctness of owning land, and as the years passed the lines too became more constant in their demand for their own rights, and finally when it was almost too late, they found support from the souls of men and women who have interests in hiking boots. It's not a pretty story, I know, but that's the way of it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jerome K Jerome and the Bull at Streatley

The Bull at Streatley figures in both Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, and in your writer of pulps own The Windral. Interestingly, Jerome K Jerome was of Hungarian parents exiled to the English Island following political turmoil. His father had changed his name from Jerome Clapp, to Jerome Clapp Jerome to better suit the English Climate. Jerome K Jerome was his youngest son.

Jerome Clapp Jerome fell foul of his investments, and his youngest son Jerome Klapka Jerome had to work for a living. His first job was with the London and North Western Railway, picking coal that fell along the lines from the steam trains. The company saw value in the occupation, it was their coal and not for general use by those who couldn't afford to buy their own coal. Jerome K Jerome died in June of 1927. In the First World War he was 56, he was turned down as too old for the British Army so he drove an Ambulance for The French Army

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Next September

I distinctly remember addressing last September with a long diatribe about the importance of good attitude and how determined I was to do my bit in the positive attitude department, and I've got notes on deep breathing exercises and cheerful whistling tunes somewhere to prove it. I considered positive thinking a civic duty on my part, kind of like a winter driving license, a wave to fellow road users, a "toodle-peg, chip-chip-chip" kind of thing.

 When next September arrives, as it probably will, and if I'm still alive, there'll be none of this positive attitude nonsense. It just doesn't work, it's irresponsible, it's anti-social and beyond combining somehow in the ether then reacting with some sort of community of Arctic Gnomes who rub their hands together and say "we've got another one" it has other appalling and gruesome outcomes so numerous I wouldn't even attempt to list them until sometime in June.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vaguely Spring

There was a moment yesterday when things that live upon this part of the Earth decided that the season had changed. Robins stood their ground and stared at each other, which is a sure sign they've decided their time to flock is coming to an end and that perhaps being in a flock isn't quite as much fun as they thought it would be. The Cheeseburger Bird was in full throat, it's rather alarming noise and he seemed to be everywhere.

A Boy Crow, it must have been, was flying around with a big twig in his beak and he was following after two other Crows, who must have been Girl Crows. They weren't that impressed, because there's still snow on the ground and it's a well known fact that Girl Crows find it a little embarrassing being followed around by a Boy Crow with a big twig in his beak. Snowdrops are considering bloom. Then we all heard the Turkey's forecast for freezing drizzle.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Windral

The fifth book of The Rabbit of Usk takes our hero into a world of aimless wandering. Nor does the title Aimless Wandering have the standup and count me expected from a writer of pulp. And here I could just call the fifth book Pointlessness, but that wouldn't be a proper reflection because there's always something. So I'm going to call it The Windral.

 And there might be those who question the word Windral. So far as I can tell it's not a word that appears in the dictionaries, which means it has no honest definition and could be a name someone might have given to a rowing boat, or a mobile home. All the same the word pops the blackberry wine cork for me as an overall description of our hero's experience of the years that followed his release from the Barracks of the English .