Thursday, 23 April 2015

What is Romnce?


What is Romance? Not an easy question to answer. I suppose everyone has a different opinion.


The cynical poet, Lord Byron wrote:

 Romances paint at full length people’s wooings,
But only give a bust of marriages;
For no one cares for matrimonial cooings,
There’s nothing wrong with a connubial kiss:
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch’s wife,
He would have written sonnets all his life?

 I prefer a poem written by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (17th Century)

 There is no happy life
But in a wife;
The comforts are so sweet
When they do meet.

 Two figures but one coin;
So they do join,
Only they not embrace,
We face to face.

Ah, you may sigh that is romance in marriage.

 But romance is much more. In the Middle Ages it was a narrative in verse or prose about the adventures of chivalrous knights and adoration of an unattainable lady, which had little in common with real life. King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table and the tale or Lancelot and Guinevere have fascinated the romantic at heart for generations.

Then there are the songs of troubadours, Henry VIII’s Greensleeves, and in more recent times one of my favourites, Unchained Melody.


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Too Many Strawberries?

On a sunny day the fragrance of ripe strawberries growing in the garden tantalises the taste buds. The pleasure of biting into a sweet, sun-warmed strawberry is far superior biting into one from the supermarket. With this in mind, I ordered 36 strawberry plants, 6 each of 6  varieties, which should provide fruit from April to September.

I'm an optimistic organic gardener, who always imagines bumper rewards from my small fruit and vegetable plots, some of which are in the front garden, some and in the back garden as well as those in pots. However, after I placed my order I panicked. Where would I find the space to plant them?

I decided to pot up the twelve plants which fruit earliest in the year and put them in the greenhouse where I will pollinate them with a paint brush.  The remainder should thrive in plant troughs.

If I plant all of them in John Innes Number 3 compost I should have plenty of fruit for the next three years which will repay me for my investment. Hopefully, not only will I have fresh strawberries to eat, I will also  have enough to make jam and, maybe, cordial.

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