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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Hosta Heaven

Finally, a Saturday without rain. A chance to sit in my little corner of England and be glad. As the Great War ditty/bit of verse had it:

          Two things have altered not since the world began,
          The beauty of the wild green earth, and the bravery of man.

Of course, we need to add 'woman' into that, and my back garden is hardly 'wild', but it is a bit of green. Today the sun shone on my potted hostas:

Hostas, as any gardener at any level knows, are big, juicy, slug and snail food plants. These (almost) pristine examples are like this because a) it is early in the year, b) slug-death pellets lurk, and c) I STAB ANY SLUG I FIND NEAR THEM!!! I love hostas, there is no end to the varieties available (and I await Springinsfeld's identification of the varieties I have above - having forgotten their names myself). They also remind me of my maternal grandfather, who was born in 1880, was a 100% respectable working class Victorian in thought and deed, and moved from keeping birds and dogs to creating a beautiful garden in the aftermath of the Great War, which he served in as an infantryman. He was a hosta man, and they remind me of my early childhood.  The good men do live after them. 

Funnily enough, I have resisted adding to my collection of hostas, and, since finishing my Hawker Weather Build Hurricane, I have been resisting ordering more Hurricanes. I tried to get a clearer photo of the MkIIc Trop this morning, but, as you can see below, I wasn't too successful:

The IIc to the left of  O-P is a night intruder version, piloted by a Czech who flew with the RAF. Even the model looks sinister, and I am sure that plenty of returning Luftwaffe bomber crews found out that the real thing was even moreso.

I must stop all this aeronautical stuff, and return to the toy soldierly and wargaming theme. On the painting table this evening is the Lince in 28mm, still with plenty of work needed, and posed here with some now out of production RSI troops - for more on that see my Military Illustrated article, 'Defending Mussolini', in the right hand panel here.

Finally,  a quotation from a story I read last night:

'Though he had both esteem and admiration for the sensibility of the human race, he had little respect for their intelligence: man has always found it easier to sacrifice his life than to learn the multiplication table'.

From one of the Ashenden short stories - 'Mr Harrington's Washing' - by W. Somerset Maugham. If you like carefully crafted, elegant prose, and rather realistic spy stories set during the Great War, then the Ashenden stories might do.


  1. This is getting like the identification tests we had at horticultural college (not that I mind in the slightest). Hmmm, tricky as I there are so many varieties, but I would hazard a guess that in the middle I can see Blue Wedgewood (or Halcyon), at the very top Regal Splendour or Ground Master, bottom right with the big leaves Sum and Substance, little leaves to the left September Sun, and Frances Williams at the bottom?? Must try out those Ashenden stories.

  2. I am just amazed that you can remember so many of the names - shades of multiplication tables for me, I'm afraid. The Halcyon name certainly rings a bell, as does Frances Williams, but the others I've had for over a decade and I just can't remember (as the writer character in The Long Goodbye says). I'm really looking for a really deep blue-ish hosta - any suggestions?