Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Husband is feeling a great sense of achievement at the moment - the Wisteria has flowered for the very first time.

It doesn't sound a great thing, except we planted it as a young plant against the back wall if the house at least 12 years ago. Neither of us had any experience of this type of plant and, of course, we were both working at the time and so we left it to do its own thing. This was a big mistake as we later discovered as it needs proper pruning to shape the plant and to encourage it to start flowering.

Once we had both finished with work the Husband decided to try and get the wisteria to flower. So for a couple of years he pruned it, albeit rather tentatively. Nothing happened. The Husband got a little frustrated about this and announced that the wisteria had one more opportunity to flower or he would dig it up and throw it away. I wouldn't call his pruning this time as tentative - it was more like buchery. Real kill or cure. After he had finished this task there was very little left, it looked like a few stems and very little green.

And it worked. We've had a good first flowering from the plant. And, hopefully, we'll have more flowers on it in future years.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Does anyone else have the problems I do in choosing greetings cards? Every time I go in a card shop to buy a card my brain fuses. It isn’t the massive amount of choice in cards, it is because I have such difficulty finding any cards that I would actually want to buy.

Virtually every card is addressed to someone – and nowadays the cards will be clearly marked on the front of the card as for: husband, wife, brother, sister, friend, best friend, fiancee, aunt, uncle, gay lover, dog or cat (I’m not joking about these last three, I have actually seen greeting cards for sale addressed to them). And inside these cards is some sickly sentimental verse which usually is so bad it makes William McGonagall seem like the poet laureate. (The standard of verse in Valentine’s cards is especially notable.)

The less said about the so-called “funny” cards the better. I usually look for something like this for my nephew (aged 22, and so of the right age to receive such a card). You have to plough through a huge amount of dross to find anything that is reasonably humorous without being totally offensive. Who on earth sends some of these cards with humour that borders on the obscene? And what does the recipient think?

What is wrong with a nice card with a nice picture on the front which says inside “Happy Birthday”? That’s what I like to find but usually I have the dickens of a job to find anything suitable. I like to think that by sending a card that it goes without saying that I am thinking of the person. I don’t need to send card with some meaningless verse inside to say so.

The local card shop is exceptionally large and full of cards. But those of the type I like fill just a couple of feet of space in the very back of the shop and I generally have to hunt to find them. And even then the choice of decorations on the front of the cards often does not inspire. I can usually find something suitable for a lady with perhaps flowers or something else feminine and pretty on the front. But try to find a card for a man. Just what “manly” picture do you find on the front of a card? Racing cars, yachts and then only if you are lucky.

Often nowadays I go for a card with no writing inside. That always seems the best option. Then I can chose something with a picture I like and am suitable for the person I am sending it to and write something suitable inside.

Am I being too picky about greetings cards? I am just aware of a close friend who was sent an ordinary Christmas card with a printed verse inside that wished her “the best Christmas ever” two months after the death of her son. It was obviously done totally unthinkingly by a sender who just hadn’t thought of what was printed in the card. But seeing how much hurt that card caused made me think twice and forever about the potential impact of a sent greetings card.