Friday, March 27, 2015

on labyrnthitis and some garden photos

When I returned from buying a raincoat this morning, Shady had dragged his favourite cushion down into position for his morning sleep. Interesting that he chooses the most expensive cushions rather than the old cheapies to relax on.

I shouldn't have gone out this morning as I am taking two varieties of medication for the labrynthitis which descended out of nowhere on Thursday. This meant I spent yesterday morning either lying down to stop my head spinning, or throwing up when I tried to move my head. My lovely GP made a housecall to give me an injection to stop the vomits and then B filled my prescriptions when he got home from work. It was a completely lost work and everything day, and I missed out on a Sri Lankan feast that a staff member was bringing in for lunch so I was feeling really wimpy and sorry for myself all day. Couldn't even read my book! I must have been really sick.

I got my coat and then bought some stuff for dinner which I managed to leave in the supermarket and didn't realise until I'd got into the car to come home, then had to back track to pick it up from the slightly concerned check-out lady. I had to concentrate really hard on my drive home because there were all manner of crazy drivers on the road: I realised then it was the last day of Term 1 and all the people were madly fitting in shopping before picking up early finishing school kids or heading off early from work but the driving was shocking. I was going to look at a couple of op-shops but decided instead to get home alive and in one piece and off the road away from the nutjob drivers.

J went to Vietnam with the school last Friday night so we have been Darby and Joan all week. It's pretty strange: no washing, have hardly bought food. How very odd it is to only have two of us here! We spent all last weekend doing stuff in the garden: it is that time of year and I love it. You would think by the amount of time I spend agonising and talking about this garden it would be a show piece but is FAR from that. I do love it though and I like recording what it's doing in this blog.

A few photos of some bright spots:

 These are my Nerines (spider lilies). How gorgoeus are they? I planted a dozen or so as an experiment and they are dazzling.

 Bought some vegies to plant, more parsley and foxgloves. These will all go in on Sunday as I'm working tomorrow. B has made me my own vegie bed in a nothing bit of garden so I can plant vegies in my messy way: his are neat and orderly like a market garden. My style is a bit more

White plectranthus ecklonii flowering ( above) and mint below.

 I know the golden rule is to never plant mint in the garden because it will go everywhere but I want it to!
Gardening in the front if the house is like gardening on a volcano ( hard and dry) but herbs are going ok there and all my pot mint dies with monotonous regularity so I stuck it in the ground and it's going well.
 The window boxes are another dry shady area: chocolate begonias aren't my favourite but they're going alright so far. They're planted with New Guinea impatiens and red bergenias ( which have not flowered yet but here's hoping).
Now I'm going to have lunch and read my book. I'm re-reading Brat Farrar which I love: then I'll go on with volume two of the Grantchester chronicles. Have you been watching this on the ABC? It's really enjoyable and apart from the gorgeous villagey 1950s setting there is a handsome Vicar who is pretty easy on the eyes.

James Norton as Sidney Chambers in Grantchester. Very cute and the actor is all of 28 years old
( when did actors get SO YOUNG?)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I read... Sherlock Holmes ( A study in scarlet)

Until January this year I'd never seen a film or tv series about  Sherlock Holmes, nor had I read any of the books (4) and short stories (56) featuring  Arthur Conan Doyle's  "consulting detective."

I visualised the character either as just being the well-known stereotype seen above or as a tall skinny man in a silk dressing-gown with a receding hairline. Then over summer the ABC showed the first two seasons of Sherlock, the current series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and his flatmate/assistant John Watson. This was apparently shown on Channel 9 in its first run here, but since we don't watch anything on that channel it passed me by.

Well, of course we loved it as every other right thinking person in the entire world does, so then borrowed season three from work and watched those episodes, too. We watched nine episodes in about as many weeks.  I can safely say I almost never watch a screen version before a reading a book, but this time I was really keen to go back to the source to read the original on the page, to see how much of the clever writing was that of Doyle and how much of the modern screen writers. I was surprised by how faithful the modern version is to the original book.

A study in scarlet was written in 1887 and I enjoyed it very much. It begins with the first meeting of Holmes and Watson and their first case together. I was surprised by how short it was - for some reason I thought the Holmes stories were long chunky sagas. This book was 121 pages, broken into two very different sections. Half the book is set in Victorian England; the other half is set in Utah when the Mormons first settled there a generation earlier. The Utah half gives the back story behind the murder and is full of tension and just a great rollicking tale in itself.

I'll probably read some more because this one was really enjoyable: a great detective story.

 I would say this one definitely stands the test of time. It is no harder to read than something like Little Women or Dickens.

Elephant's Child let me know about a series featuring Sherlock Holmes in retirement, where he meets a fifteen year old girl called Mary Russell who becomes his apprentice: this sounds so absolutely gorgeous I'm going to track down the first one in the series and get stuck in. The book is called The Beekeeper's apprentice by Laurie R King ( first published 1994) and sounds EXACTLY like my sort of cosy crime story.

Friday, March 20, 2015

one more week

I've allegedly returned to regular blogging here but I'm in no rhythm with it all yet as everything is still a bit chaotic, mainly because I'm still doing my extended hours at work ( one more week to go).
I am really worn out. I know this sounds completely pathetic but I spend a lot of Friday doing absolutely nothing because I'm so tired.

After next week, I should be able to settle back down into my "ladies hours" and work won't preoccupy me so much, even when I'm not physically there.

Another reason for me being distracted is that J is going to Vietnam with the school ( tonight) and will be away for 10 days. I'm so excited for him, but of course anxious about this as well, even though he is a big boy of nearly 18, going with experienced teachers who've done this trip before.

So there will be only two of us here for a bit. I'm still not used to there being only three of us!
I feel like we will be rattling around the house and increasingly speaking to Shady in baby voices like mad old people.

Once we've got J away on the plane tonight I'll write some actual diary-like posts here. I want to write about reading my first Sherlock Holmes novel, and about extending the herb garden I've planted in the front garden, and planting winter vegetables in my new vegie bed. Maybe also about what I've been watching on tv. Are you watching Fortitude? It's freaking me out more and more every week and I think I'm going to have to stop watching soon. Grantchester with its adorable vicar bicycling about solving crimes is much more my speed.

Tomorrow a Sherlock book review. I promise.