I have just
finished readingCaptain Corelli’s Mandolinfor the third time and marvelled
more than ever at this great work of art, because that is surely what it is and
no argument. But the following short essay isn’t about this astounding novel but about
Greece itself, prompted by the history both mythic and real that the work
revealed in its scholarship, imagination, research and creation, with the
emphasis on the mythic, because although what I am about to tell you is
absolutely true, it tells, reads and sounds like something out of classic Greek
history, mythological or otherwise.
first published in 1985
Someone once said that in order to garden you needed
a cast iron back with a hinge in it. If only that was all. Since moving from
window box to acreage I’ve found that to garden you also need a gardener.
Now many of you younger ones might not know what a
gardener is, or I should was was, since Real Gardeners are now an endangered
species. Well, children, a Real Gardener was a man of indeterminate age and of
many skills. When I was a boy our Real Gardener was called Mr George, and to
this day I still don’t know whether George was his first name or his last.
(This is s a piece I
wrote when we moved to the country over 30 years ago. The most wonderful
horse we ever owned and still greatly missed.)
No, it’s not
a typo. I do mean horse and not house. Although of course the reason we had to
move horse was because we had indeed moved house. From smoke to sticks.
Horse was the
last animal we moved. The first convoy to Somerset carried cats (2) and dogs (1
½), for all of whom we had to find temporary lodgings because we couldn’t move
into our new home straight away.
LET’S FACEBOOK IT
Much has been
said and written about FB, some of it reproachful, some of it laudatory, but just
like most things it really all depends on how you use it. A car is nothing when it is not driven but put
the wrong person behind the wheel and it becomes lethal while with a good driver
the journey is a pleasure. So it is must be with Facebook. Facebook is what you
pretend to understand all the ramifications of this extraordinary medium, other
than to say I stood guided by the experience of the more responsible and
sensible users whom I know who warned me not to ‘go public’ and to keep my
Apparently I have the wrong sort of dog. Living as I
do in the deep country it seems I should own a dog that points, puts up rats,
or retrieves. Ever faithful at my heels, and trained to gun and whistle, I
should have – which I do not have – a Labrador, a Jack Russell, a Lurcher or a
Springer, not – as I do have – three Lhasa Apsos and one Bearded Collie. A true
country man’s dogs should be short haired sleekies with mouths that can carry
eggs without breaking them, not long haired shags of wool which look the same
at both ends.
Our little lake is now nearly a quarter of a century old. This was written in celebration of its second birthday.
A HOLE IN THE GROUND
lake which is now in its second season has exceeded my wildest expectations.
There it lies, shimmering, glistening, rippling and glinting, perfectly
reflecting the mood of each passing day and mirroring the mystery of every
falling night. Like all aquaholics I can happily just rest quietly by its ever
changing waters watching the trout quietly feeding, the ducks swimming or the
carp flashily rising without a moment's boredom, or sit in the stern of my old
rowing boat and let it drift while I dream about absolutely nothing at all.
This was written twenty years ago and I am republishing it in loving memory of Herny - our first Pug.
OI'M HENERY THE FIRST OI AM.
and I have just celebrated our first anniversary and a very happy first year it
has been too. A-bed with the 'flu it was Herself's opinion that I needed
cheering up hence Henry's precipitous arrival from Norfolk. It was not,
however, love at first sight for I thought him to be quite the ugliest chap I
ever did see, from the front and particularly from the back, an impression
which was not enhanced by his mood of abject misery.
I wrote this piece in 1994. Now in 2015, when I find myself looking for a new puppy to replace our much beloved and recently departed Dikon, by the grace of God and St Francis, because I have been asked to republish some of my old country pieces, I find myself given a timely reminder into the state of 'puppy production', a jolt perhaps weneed more than ever now that this wretched industry has taken off - thanks to the Internet and all those whimsicalpuppy sites.
I was going to
tell you about puppy farming, Particularly if you're about to pop out
to the pet shop or answer an advertisement in your local paper for a puppy.
This was written when hare coursing was still legal in this country - buit although it has been outlawed it still continues in secret in many places in the UK and IRELAND. It is worth remembering this is what we have done to one of our most beautiful creatures and if they repeal the Hunting Bill who knows? Coursing may well return. What ever happens we MUST preserve this gentle, beautiful animal.
appears there aren't nearly so many hares about as there used to be.
flashback with Doctor Who mumbling very loudly about losing someone or other
while Rev’s wife shouts back tearfully saying it was the fault of the woman who
was about to give birth to her pregnancy padding in the street while the man
with small eyes who is meant to have murdered these children in the next door
garden to his makes his escape from Doctor Who who is ( that is Who is) driving
a car he is not allowed to drive while possibly fighting off a heart attack in
pursuit of somebody or other.