I worked extremely hard today potting our tomato plants into their final pots. I have 30 really healthy plants sited in our back garden. I can never believe the size these large healthy plants have grown, when I look back and consider the tiny black seeds I planted. Although Margaret is unable to eat tomatoes as she’s developed an allergy to them we both enjoy growing them.
Our geraniums are looking splendid this year, I always find these wonderful standby plants so easy to grow. Geraniums require the absolute minimum of attention and they come in some glorious colours.
These photographs show our beautiful blue tea rose. I bought this rosebush as a present for Margaret 12 years ago and it has rewarded us with a multitude of magnificent blooms, year after year. This is certainly the most successful floral present I have ever bought for her. The blooms get bigger and better as the years go by. The blooms have an extremely delicate perfume, so fresh and enticing to easily intoxicate any passing bees and insects to promote pollination.
However in my experience, roses are one of the hardest plants to grow in the garden and need a great deal of tender care and protection. In Spring the shrubs need to be pruned and all the dead wooden branches removed and a good measure of rose food needs to be applied around the roots. They need careful, regular examination to detect any attacks by pests, in the shape of greenfly, black fly or aphids. A good quality bug spray needs to be applied at the first sign and regularly throughout the season. Then there is the dreaded rust-like fungal disease that looks unsightly and causes the leaves to discolour and drop off. A regular spraying with a fungal deterrent is the only method I know to counteract this.
Regular watering in the dry spells is essential to encourage the buds to swell to produce new wonderful blooms. Another measure of rose food should be applied halfway through the Summer.
Sometimes spurs pop out from well down below the bush, I always remove these as they take energy from the bush that could go towards promoting the flowers. Finally at the end of the flowering season, which can last through to the years end, I have to prune the branches right back to prevent wind-rock. The winter wind blows fiercely and rocks the plant, loosening the roots in the soil, causing weakness or in extreme cases, death.
In my mind looking after my roses is simply a replacement for taking care of small children, keeping the roses fed, watered and protecting them from predators. The reward of my labour is the smile on Margaret’s face when she picks a perfect rose to photograph and view again year after year.
I took this brief paragraph of the origin of roses from Wikipedia, there is a lot of information, myths and information there.
‘Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. It is estimated that 30 to 35 thousand rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use as flowering plants. Most are double-flowered with many or all of the stamens having morphed into additional petals.’
My picture today reflects the turbulent sea. I recently became aware of the still prevalent problem of refugees and people- smuggling, that is still happening, in spite of the current pandemic that is raging around the four corners of the globe. I’m sure the last thing that springs to mind when one is frightened and desperately searching for a new life in a new land, is social distancing. These unfortunate travellers are crammed together in small dirty boats, or sealed into the backs of lorries using every inch of available space. Many of these people are caught and escorted back to where they came from. Sadly a high number die on the journey. The hidden, unknown, almost unthinkable side of this ongoing situation, is the thought of the uncountable number of people who actually get through and melt into the population. The incalculable risk of the spread of Coronavirus by this means is something that can never be included in the Scientific data.
These photographs bring back a lovely memory of a time in March 2017 when we attended a wonderful concert performance by Andre Rieu and his wonderful orchestra. I can’t help thinking that these days are over now for the foreseeable future.
I remember we entered the crowded arena, where our bags were screened and we joined a throng of people attempting to locate their seats. I must admit there was order in the chaos and the security people were very helpful in locating our seats, we were soon seated comfortably awaiting the show to begin.
A spectacular colourful musical extravaganza followed, featuring the orchestra, a female choir, three tenors and three diva sopranos. This was professionally overseen and put together by Andre Rieu, a showman and a character supreme. The female musicians in full length colourful ball gowns and the smartly dressed male members of the orchestra made for wonderful entertainment. They all seemed to be enjoying the experience enormously, which added a wonderful flavour to our evening’s entertainment.
Then the stunning scenery and dramatic effects added to the occasion and brought out the wonderful timeless music. The audience were invited to dance in the aisles and sing to the popular strains of well known songs.
The show seemed to go on forever, with encore after encore. People were dancing in the aisles and still singing to the music, as the security people were trying to establish order and safety.
I have to look back on these unrepeatable photographs and think how sad it is, we will probably never again feel the unabandoned exhilaration of being a part of thousands of people crammed together just enjoying a musical extravaganza such as this.
Life for everyone has changed out of all recognition since the arrival of the Covid19, Coronavirus pandemic. Some changes will be permanent. Although the current social distancing measures will certainly be eased in the future, I doubt if the memory of the ease of this sort of disease transmission will ever be forgotten and crowded arenas such as the one shown in these photographs will surely be a thing of the past.
Life goes by like lightning as the happy years unfurl and seem to drift by at the speed of light. The cruising holiday went well, we toured around some popular ports around the Mediterranean Sea. The food was plentiful and available in many forms. The carefree consumption of many high fat, high risk food didn’t concern me. I have always been an extremely fit man, indulging in some healthy exercise on my allotment, in our garden and on the club bowling green. With an always optimistic outlook on life I was sure I would contentedly go on forever.
We were at our Bowls Club when the first signs of something untoward occurred, although I suspect the signs and warnings were already there, silent and unrecognised. I stood at the edge of the bowling green where I suddenly became aware of a strange pain in my chest. I immediately sat down and began to take some deep breaths, I suspected I was suffering from a bout of indigestion. My wife Margaret, asked if I was alright and I nodded and said,
“Don’t worry, I have a funny pain, probably just a touch of indigestion.” I took a drink of water and after a few minutes the pain seemed to disappear.
We played a great game of bowls together, we were drawn to play on the same side and we gave each other the support we needed to win the match.
We returned home and enjoyed a super-tasty chicken meal, prepared by Margaret. After an evening spent watching television we went to bed.
At 01.30, I woke with a pain in my chest and neck, about ten times worse than the pain I had suffered at the Bowls Club. Margaret woke and became concerned, “Do you have pain radiating down your arm?”
“No!” I replied. “just a funny pain in my chest and my neck.”
Margaret then decided to immediately telephone 111; NHS Choices. Margaret spoke to an efficient operator, who advised I take 4 Aspirin, chewing them as opposed to swallowing them for a faster effect. The operator then telephoned for an ambulance. A paramedic arrived within 10 minutes closely followed by an emergency ambulance. My pulse was taken, my blood pressure was measured and an ECG was done which proved to be slightly abnormal. The ambulance personnel then informed me I would have to go to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital for further tests. Margaret decided to drive herself to the hospital to give me some support. On the way to hospital, I had a further four ECG readings which were still showing an abnormal reading, with many other tests. The young lady paramedic was polite and caring and extremely efficient, as she filled in her forms collating the readings and information.
The ambulance arrived at the A&E department, where I was subjected to a barrage of further tests and several blood samples were taken for analysis in the lab. I waited on a trolley for around half an hour before Margaret arrived, bringing several things for me in case I was admitted to hospital. I was really happy to see her. After about another half an hour doctor arrived and said,
“You have had a heart attack, we are waiting for some results of blood tests from the lab. I am afraid you will have to stay in hospital for a few days.”
The doctor then turned to Margaret and said she should go home and sleep as things may take a while from here.
An hour later, after a further chat with the Doctor, I found myself in bed, in the male admissions assessment ward. This was an experience that I will remember for a long time to come. I was shown to a bed next to a window, with a pleasant view of the greenery in the hospital grounds.
It’s a sunny day in the popular seaside resort. Michael is constructing a garden shed for a customer of his DIY store, when his pager goes off. He scans the device briefly then turns and starts running. His colleagues are not surprised. They’re used to it. Within minutes he arrives at the local lifeboat station on the southeast coast. Soon he and the rest of the crew are at sea, powering towards the rocky cliffs, where two swimmers are trapped against the rocks by a heavy swell. It’s a tricky operation to steer the rigid inflatable boat close enough without it being smashed against the rocks. The team have to bring it in quickly then hover, balancing carefully at 90 degrees to the swell. The crew hoist one man out and manoeuvre the boat round for the other man before turning for home. With both men delivered safely to the emergency services, the lifeboat is rehoused, washed and prepared for the next incident. Within hours Michael is back at the store. This is just a solitary incident in the life of an unpaid ordinary member of the public who devote their time and efforts to saving lives at sea. Imagine for a moment that you’re part of the crew on a lifeboat. It’s 2.30am on a freezing January morning and the pager’s just woken you from a deep sleep in a snug warm bed. You then head out to sea in complete darkness and 10m waves rise and fall around you, ready to swamp you at any moment. Strong gale force winds throw the lifeboat around like a toy. Most lifeboat crew members are volunteers, ordinary people who simply and selflessly want to save lives at sea. When the pagers go off, they drop everything and are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A donation to to the RNLI, is always money well-spent, to enable this important rescue work to continue.
I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…PROCRASTINATION.
MUSING ON PROCRASTINATION
by John Yeo
I now appreciate absolutely, the meaning of the word, PROCRASTINATION
When we returned from the church service today I had every intention of beginning work on the next chapter of my book. First the iPad was the lure away from the work in hand, I found there were many light hearted, unnecessary things that needed my urgent attention, such as who has read and liked my latest posting on the social media. The Scrabble word game App takes another slice of my valuable time as I sit and think, and work out various combinations of letters to defend my honour. We enjoyed tea and biscuits, before the continuation of a drama series began on television and this took my attention away from the keyboard and the continuation of my story.
By this time I am renewing my resolve to begin work! But before I begin I have to just check on the outside world on the social media pages again, then Margaret and I do battle at Scrabble and complete our game.
I still haven’t written one word and it is time for dinner. Margaret has been preparing a wonderful meal in the kitchen and we sit and enjoy our Sunday dinner together in front of the television.
I then begin to focus in spite of the pull of the interesting selection of programmes that are being broadcast at this peak period on a Sunday evening.
I then give up writing and procrastinate by reading and posting an article on procrastination on my social media page before I retire to read poetry in bed.
Procrastination is the thief of time, if you delay doing something, it will take longer to do later on.
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.