A Severed Thread

Ants farming blackflyI learned something new this morning.  Some of Jackie’s marigolds are covered in blackfly.  Underneath the next pot is an ants’ nest.  She tells me the ants plant the flies onto the flowers.  The farmed slaves then produce a sugary substance for the industrious insects’ sustenance.

Scented liliesBeautiful scented lilies are now in bloom, blending their aroma with others such as nicotiana and petunias.  I always wondered why we had the phrase ‘smelling like a petunia’ until I was educated by my lady.  Most petunias we see have had the scent bred out of them.  Older varieties have not, and well deserve the description.

NicotianaThe nicotiana, being particularly fragrant at night, are greatly appreciated by our neighbour Vanessa as she walks her dog around our corner before retiring to bed.

Three sunflowers are forcing their way to the top of the pots.  They were not planted by us, so we assume we have the birds to thank.

I have previously mentioned on-line Scrabble, during the playing of which I have found a number of good corresponding friends in all parts of the globe.  One of the most delightful of these is Heather.  The added bonus of this relationship is that she lives near enough for us to meet.  Today Jackie and I joined her and her husband Brian for lunch in The Plough Inn at Tiptoe, where we spent all afternoon without noticing the time.  We all had plentiful Sunday roast meals after excellent starters.  The ladies and I followed this with cremes brûlées.  Various beers and pear cider were drunk.

I have been worrying at something for several weeks now.  It was during my roast lamb dinner that I was at last relieved of my burden.  On 19th June I wrote of my loose wisdom tooth ‘hanging by a thread’.  Today, almost painlessly, it cast off its moorings.  It was easy enough to extract this from my masticated mouthful.

About thirty years ago in my Social Services Area Office in Westminster, I was completely unaware of another extraneous object in a mouthful of food.  In those days I wore hard contact lenses.  Sometimes if I’d got a bit of grit under one I would take it out and put it somewhere safe until I could get to the solution I needed to apply when reinserting it.  The safest place, it seemed to me, was between my bottom lip and the gum of one of my front teeth.  It was a perfect fit.  Like Queen Elizabeth I, I was wont to go on a progress around the building, so that the staff could bask in my presence.  On one of these occasions, I believe it was Tom who gave me a cheese roll.

There was once an old joke that went the rounds.  Maybe it still does.  It went like this: ‘What’s worse than finding a maggot in an apple you are eating?’  The answer was: ‘Finding half a maggot’.  My own personal version could appropriately begin with the question: ‘What’s worse than finding a contact lens in a cheese roll you are eating?’.  I believe my readers will be able to provide the punchline.  I never did find the other half.

After leaving our friends we chose to drive home through Burley.  Passing Clough Lane Jackie remembered she had seen a house there for sale on the internet.  We had a peek through the roses climbing over the front gate and looked it up when we returned to the Lodge. Cherry Tree Cottage Unfortunately it is too small for us.

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