Rhubarb etc.

I have discovered a new passion. Gardening. Bye bye painting. Today (a gorgeous day), I spent more time gardening than I did painting. Planted some rhubarb; dug compost out from the bottom of the compost-bin; went to the garden centre for some ericaceous compost (just listen to me!) to pot the blueberry bushes my mum gave me and ended up buying six little pots of alpine plants to go in the rockery – which then needed planting – which entailed rearranging the rockery and tearing out a big spikey thing and lots of creepery stuff… and so on. Later, I planted a clematis. Then everything needs watering. I’m getting a bit obsessive and it needs to stop! (I still have a climbing rose to plant…). I did do a bit of painting in between. It isn’t the first time recently that this has happened. Now, I’m indoors again and I’ve had to put some of Ioana’s posh handcream on to stop my hands turning into painful sandpaper, so I smell of roses.

Soon, however, my Romanian mother-in-law will come to stay for the summer and I can get her to water everything. Last year, she got bored and I had to confiscate the secateurs. This year I can just point at everything and say ‘apa’ – water! The Romanian word for mother-in-law is ‘soacra’ – pronounced ‘swacra’. Go on, say it: swacra, swacra, swacra. My swacra is coming. Oh, no, the swacra.

Random things: I saw a frog the size of my thumbnail and Ioana saw two toads at the allotment. Ioana made nettle beer and it actually tasted quite nice.

A rainbow is a way that the world appears

I like this phrase of Roger Scruton’s from The Aesthetics of Music (Oxford, 1997, p.4): “A rainbow is a way that the world appears”. It is part of a discussion about the ‘realness’ of sounds and rainbows. I like the idea that the world has ways of ‘looking’ – that there are types of phenomenon, or characteristics of phenomena, that are just part of the way that the world ‘looks’. Scruton also makes the sly observation that one can tell a ‘real’ rainbow from an illusory one (e.g. one painted on the side of a camper van), because, if you can approach it, it isn’t real.

How annoying banks are (or something like that)

I was planning to write a new blog post this evening, but I needed to ring the bank up about something first, so now this has become a bit of a random rant about banks. I think I was just on the phone to the bank for an hour and a half and now it’s too late to be bothered writing anything. Grrr! The chap from the bank said it would “only take about two minutes”. I had a rose bush, that I was about to plant in my front garden. I had the roots soaking in water prior to planting and I ended up planting the thing in the dark, because the ‘two minute’ phone call took so long. The neighbours must have thought I was mad: “That crazy guy is gardening in the dark!” Couldn’t even see if I was digging up any cat tods.
The unctuous greetings that the poor robotic souls in the bank call centres are programmed to repeat don’t help, either. That cheery robot greeting was probably written by some call centre greetings consultancy at the cost of several times my annual salary. “Please get on with it, this is on my phone bill!” Not only do you get bounced from pillar to post, but every new robotnik you speak to tries to sell you some stupid account you have to pay to have and which I have told them a million times before I don’t want! The more they try to sell it to me, the more obnoxious they become in my eyes. Let’s face it: I wouldn’t trust my bank as far as I could throw their entire world-wide staff, so I’m not going to believe you when you tell me this would benefit me (actually, I’ve done the sums and it doesn’t benefit me: what they don’t tell you is that to get that fantastic rate of interest you not only have to pay, but you are limited in how much you put in in one go – so the amount you can earn in interest is strictly limited anyway. You are better off with a lower rate and no shit attached).
There. There’s my rant about banks this evening.