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Wednesday, 16 January 2019 Dereel Images for 16 January 2019
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Mayday!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Last night I went to bed wondering, as so many others, by what margin Theresa May's Brexit bill would be rejected by the House of Commons. 40 votes? Even 200 votes? That was the range that the commentators were expecting.

This morning I woke to find that their worst fears (if that's the word) had been exceeded: the bill was rejected by 230 votes (432 to 202, apparently the largest defeat for a sitting UK government in history).

And now? They're running out of time. Maybe it's time for the British to realize that they're no longer living in the times of Queen Victoria, that they no longer rule the waves, that they're just another country in Europe that happens to have the slight advantage of lingua franca. They'd be a whole lot better off accepting the fact, toeing the line and staying in the union. What would a second referendum bring? The first was only borderline in favour, and that was before anybody understood how difficult and expensive the whole thing would be.


Garden flowers in mid-summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

The middle of the month, time for my monthly flower photos.

One of the things that I discovered only slightly before these photos was that I wasn't watering the garden enough. I had a similar problem last year, but I didn't recognize the magnitude. I had had the sprinkler to run for 20 minutes per circuit, increasing to 30 in hot weather. But now I'm up to an hour per circuit, and though it isn't obvious from the photos, I think it's improving things.

Some things are just dead, though: the Acer negundo that we coddled this time last year, and one of the birches. The birch is trying to come back, but given that it died in early spring when it was neither too cold, too hot nor too dry, I don't have much hope. Even this time last year it was playing autumn:


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And now the surviving one is doing that same thing this year:

 
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That could be due to the watering, of course.

The Paulownia kawakamii, on the other hand, seems to be benefiting from the additional fertilizer, and it now growing a little (though still far from the 3-5 m that it should be by this time). Here last year and this year:

 
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Our second Buddleja x weyeriana is now growing well (though at a distance it looks as if it's drooping):

 
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But the ones to the left of the big one have all died. This time lack of water can't be the issue. They're in the overflow area from the tanks, so they may have been drowned. I don't see any point in replacing them.

Last month's Kniphofia flower has finished flowering and is in the process of maturing hundreds of seeds, but in its place no less than 5 new flowers have popped up. Here four of them:

 
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The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis that I got from my uncle Max, and of which I have cloned many times, is currently not flowering. It does that from time to time, and I'm not overly worried. The one that I planted outside two months ago has recovered from the shock and now looks about as good again as it did when I planted it. Then and now:

 
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The other one, the one with the erectile dysfunction, is flowering, but with very small flowers, though the style is at least erect:

 
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Maybe this is the size that it's intended to be, or maybe it, too, will benefit from more water.

The roses are also flowering, but I suspect that they're not getting enough water, like this « Monsieur Tillier »:

 
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I'll see how the added water helps.

Some of the flowers in the shade area are doing well. While we lost one of the fuchsias that we bought two months ago (proved not to be getting any water), the other one is looking quite happy, and compared to this time last year the tree fern is also doing well:

 
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Cooling down
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

While taking my garden flower photos, found Nikolai relaxing:

 
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One of the few cool places, I suppose.


Happy Birthday, Margaret Swan
Topic: general, food and drink, gardening Link here

An out of sequence dinner tonight: it was Margaret Swan's birthday, a significant one. So we had a birthday dinner for her, with gratin dauphinois, apparently one of her favourites. Also a cheese soufflée, this time with Parmesan cheese, not quite how we expected it to turn out, but after greasing the form it at least didn't stick. And for a birthday present, of course yet another Hibiscus rosa-sinensis clone.


Thursday, 17 January 2019 Dereel
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Breakfast with Pene
Topic: general, food and drink, animals Link here

Pene Kirk along this morning to go riding with Yvonne; it looks as if this might be a more regular thing. After the (relatively short) ride, Yvonne made her version of Eggs Benedict, with a special sauce mayonnaise instead of the more normal sauce hollandaise. On the other hand, for the first time ever, we ate them on “English” muffins (I suspect that “English” implies an US American background). Pene said that she she liked it.


Nikolai: free!
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

While she was here, Pene took a look at Nikolai and decided that the wound had healed enough to be able to take his shirt off. I suspected that he would then remove the (1 cm wide) scab, but that doesn't seem to be serious. Certainly he looked happier enough.


A history of Israeli settlements
Topic: politics, history, opinion Link here

A question on Quora today: “How can anyone educated actually believe this Al Jazeera propaganda history about Israel?”.

OK, that's worth looking at. The “propaganda” was in fact an apparently well-documented overview with the somewhat inflammatory title Israel's settlements: 50 years of land theft explained. And clearly it has to be wrong, because it comes from “anti-semites”, a term that more and more Jewish people, particularly those with extreme views, are applying to anybody who disagrees with them.

So it was here. There were answers were like “The key word is educated. Al Jazeera’s audience is not educated at all”, and “I believe that it starts with a deep seated bias against Jews. There after it helps to be generally ignorant of history, religion, and gullible enough to believe anything that helps reinforce a person's worldview.”. Nothing to back up these claims, no argument refuting the points made in the article, both suggesting belief rather than proof. I wonder how prevalent these views are in Israel.


Transplanting the Hellebores
Topic: gardening Link here

Finally got round to transplanting one of the Hellebores that look so unhappy, into the garden in front of the “library” at the house entrance:

 
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I wonder if it will survive.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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