It Doesn’t Comfrey, You Know

I learned yesterday about a saying in German where if something goes wrong someone will say ‘That wouldn’t have happened if you’d put your glasses on.’ I don’t know what it is in German but it’s good to have a phrase like this which smooths away conflict, a joke which everyone recognises as such and which creates common ground where there might have been argument. This happens in families too: like most families I suspect, we have catch-phrases that have to be said in a given set of circumstances. When coffee grounds spill somebody will always say ‘that’s grounds for divorce!’ and when things go wrong on a Thursday it is compulsory to comment ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.’ And on The Simpsons, Homer comes up with the phrase ‘it’s my first day’ which people start using all over the world to justify the most horrendous cock-ups.

So it is inevitable when I tell OH that I’ve spent the afternoon gathering comfrey that I will hear the phrase ‘it doesn’t come free, you know.’ Which is funny but entirely untrue because it is free and it grows all over the place. I now have a bag-full of the stuff which will be melted down – well, left to liquefy anyway – and then added to water to fertilise our plants. Comfrey leaves are high in nitrogen and make an excellent plant food. You can place the leaves round the base of a plant as well if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the liquid.

And that was Monday. It’s bloody wet here, what’s it like where you are?

Kirk out

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24th Century Who?

This was our conversation this morning:

OH:  Someone said my writing is like 24th-century Dickens

Me:  24th-century Dickens?  I can’t begin to imagine what that’s like

OH:  It’s like my writing.

Me:  Right.  Well that’s me told…

It’s terribly bracing out there, like Skegness in July with a brisk breeze, a wind that rolls up its sleeves and says ‘right, let’s get that washing dried quick’, an invigorating environment that stirs you up and rouses the blood, just so long as you don’t spend too long out in it.  I’m happy to see that my broad beans are poking like tiny green hands through the soil and the spinach is tenderly sprouting.  Potatoes and butter beans are already showing so as soon as everything’s up I can start weeding in earnest.

My comfrey seeds are in and I’m only waiting for it to be a little less bracing before I plant out all my seedlings.  The basil will have to wait a bit though as it needs to be really warm for it to thrive.  Sadly I don’t think it’ll ever be warm enough for this to happen, but it looks good.

Apparently I got the date wrong yesterday and it’s May 4th today.  Who knew?  (Well, everyone else I expect…)

May Al Stewart be with you.

Kirk out

Comfrey Cuttings? Cut!

Image result for comfrey open source images

I just discovered this post lurking in the drafts folder: I wrote it a week ago and thought I’d published it, but not so.

I’ve got a bit carried away with gardening this week, and while the two lavender cuttings were settling into their pot, I looked up methods of propagating comfrey.  Mark used to joke about this herb, ‘it doesn’t come free, you know,’ but actually – it does.  Not only that, if it’s in a place where you don’t want it, it’s very hard to get rid of.  But I wanted to take some from between the cracks in the front garden and transport it to the back – to which end, I did some research – and, surprise, surprise, you can’t take cuttings.  I more or less knew this, but whereas the recommended method is to divide the plants and transplant one half, the only comfrey plants available to me have wedged themselves so tightly between paving-slabs that it is impossible to get any garden implement in there.

But all was not lost.  As I wrote ‘comfrey cuttings’ on my notepad, a small twinge occurred in my brain.  It reminded me of something.  Some poking around revealed this to be an abortive follow-up to Dad’s Army called Parsley Sidings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley_Sidings

And all of this set me thinking about sequels to sitcoms.  Ones which failed include Joey, the unsuccessful follow-up to Friends; Going Straight, the much less exciting spin-off from Porridge, and one which only I seem to remember, Constant Hot Water, which featured Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner of Coronation St) as a B&B landlady.  I didn’t know, however, that there had been a sequel to M*A*S*H called Aftermash, but so it was.

However not all spin-offs are doomed to oblivion.  Some do even better than their progenitors.  Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? is widely considered to be better than the original, and Frasier is far superior to Cheers.

None of which gets me any further with the comfrey.  I did attempt to dig up a couple of roots, but they both perished.

And this post has gone all squashed.  Maybe that’s what happens if they don’t see the light of day…

Kirk out

 

 

Don’t Drink That – It’s Had a Troll Washed In It

Once Holly as an exercise in writing decided to write down bits of conversation we were having in the household.  I probably still have them somewhere, but I have now accumulated so many notebooks that I can’t begin to contemplate trying to find it: however, I do remember that one thing she wrote down was ‘Don’t drink that, it’s had a troll washed in it.’  The children used to have these little plastic things with long combable hair which I used to call Gonks but they knew as trolls.

 

There was a glass of water hanging about, and at some point somebody said the immortal words: ‘Don’t drink that; it’s had a troll washed in it.’

I guess every family has its sayings, the mere repetition of which is enough to provoke laughter in the family and bemusement in everyone else.  Ours are, apart from the troll thing, ‘I can’t face it!’ (a joke about when Mark had a hissy fit), ‘it doesn’t come free, you know,’ (Mark’s perennial joke about charging people for comfrey cream) and – oh, I’m sure there are lots of others but I can’t think what they are now.

Do your family have sayings which make you laugh and baffle strangers?  Let me know what they are.

Kirk out