Flower of the Day (FOTD): Blue Hydrangea

Self looooves hydrangeas. She has about six potted hydrangeas, and two in the ground. The two in the ground are dying. The ones in the pots are thriving. Her soil is so bad.

Most of her hydrangea are white, except for one. She re-potted it last year, and it nearly died. But this year, it recovered. So here’s a shot of her blue hydrangea, on the front porch.

Posting for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge, June 2022

Self is participating in bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge.

Her Last on the Card for June 2022 is a real heartbreaker: Roman Ratushny’s obituary in The Economist of 25 June 2022.

A Ukrainian activist, Roman Ratushny volunteered the first day of the Russian invasion. He was killed near Izyum on 9 June. He was 24.

Flower of the Day (FOTD): Chrysler Imperial Rose

Self’s newest rose is a Chrysler Imperial. She bought it in February from Home Depot. The following month she was gone, and she didn’t get home again until June. It had hardly grown. But a few days ago, it produced one enormous bloom. It’s past its first flush, and it’s been very hot here on the Peninsula, but the red is like nothing she’s seen before. She’s never seen an actual Chrysler Imperial, but if it’s red like this rose, well — !

Posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day.

The Pleasure of the Throw-Away Line

The Dr. Ruth Galloway series are about gender politics.

There are alpha males galore in the police departments of the various locales. But there are women just itching to unseat them. Such as DI Judy Johnson, who is in the forefront of the investigation in The Chalk Circle (Dr. Ruth Galloway # 9).

Here, Judy Johnson and her partner, a likeable but very alpha Dave Clough, interview a witness in a missing woman case. The missing woman’s name is Sam.

“When did you last see Sam?”

“It must have been on Monday,” says Meg. “The mother and baby group is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’m pretty sure Sam was here on Monday.”

“Can you check?” says Clough. “Do you take a register?”

Meg laughs. “No, it’s quite free and easy, Inspector.” Judy notes Clough doesn’t correct her about his rank.

The Chalk Circle, p. 202

That last sentence!

David Clough’s main characteristic is that he has to be constantly stuffing his face with junk food. But when it comes to interviewing a witness, apparently the man gets all the respect. He and Judy Johnson are friends, but — Clough doesn’t correct the witness when she calls him “Inspector.”

Stay tuned.

Alice in Wonderland: the Freudian version, in Ruth Galloway # 9, The Chalk Pit

Sometimes, self has questions. Such as: How did she get to Book # 9 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series? She only started Book # 1 in April, while she was in Northern Ireland of all places. You’d think she would be so taken with the surroundings (beautiful) that she would not have time to be into a new mystery series. But for some reason, she got hooked.

Every book in the series, self reaches a point where she says, Oh no, I can’t. This isn’t possible. I have to stop reading. But here she is.

In this book, Judy Johnson, DI, interviews a witness and immediately pegs the woman’s accent as “South African” and self wants to know how Judy can be so certain when Judy has never, ever left England, much less ever been to South Africa, and as far as self knows, there aren’t too many self-identifying South Africans in Norfolk, England for Judy to pick up any sort of acquaintance with the accent.

But only a few pages later, we are in a play, where Ruth’s young daughter has a small role, and this play and its director are so inspired! Sublime! The director is talking about the id and about Alice in Wonderland being on acid — to Kate’s daughter, a six-year-old! And Ruth is standing there, and doesn’t know what to think. But her daughter is so disarmingly enthusiastic about playing the young Alice (not yet hooked on acid), so Ruth suspends judgment and watches from the sidelines, and the scene is absolutely hilarious! It goes on for quite a few pages. It is a fully realized scene, it is served up in the middle of this novel, and has no relation to anything that comes before and after, much less any connection to the mystery, but it had self absolutely rolling on the floor!

And then, on p. 105, Ruth and Harry Nelson — who lead completely separate lives — have their moment. Which is to say, they bump into each other, by accident. This is always the point (in every book) at which the book’s tension picks up. It doesn’t matter how implausible the meeting — in The Chalk Pit, it’s a Saturday, and Ruth and her daughter are sightseeing, in the same place where Harry and his wife and daughter are shopping. See how perfect that is?

Side Note: Self borrowed most of the books from the library, which is a good thing. She just looked at the price (of the hardback, which she checked out of the library): $27.

Flower of the Day (FOTD): Royal Trumpet Vine

This Royal Trumpet Vine on her front porch just started blooming!

Posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day.

citysonnet Colors and Letters Challenge: June 17

The Challenge for today is OREGANO.

Self is taking that literally. She has a wee oregano plant in her backyard. It’s so wee that she hates to harvest any of it. She just keeps dribbling water on it every few days. It never seems to grow any bigger, but it does survive neglect.

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Green

Self is joining a new photo challenge: Friendly Friday, by The Sandy Chronicles.

This week’s prompt is GREEN.

The picture below is of the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, which she visited for the first time in early June.

Whatsoever Is Lovely Challenge: Week 22, 2022

Thanks to Xingfu Mama for hosting the Whatseover is Lovely Challenge.

As long-time blog readers know, self loves gardens. For this post, she spent a few moments in her backyard, taking pictures of what was blooming. It’s a gorgeous day!

Apologies, she forgot what those white flowrs are called! The rose is her Fourth of July, which throws off long sprays of red and white flowers, every summer without fail. The orange flower is abutilon.

Without further ado, the garden in June:

‘The Chapel Perilous’: The Mermaid and the Bear

Self is tempted to skip some parts of this novel (the torture scenes) but no, she just couldn’t.

Luckily, this morning, we’re still in the fairy tale parts:

My bowl of porridge was full, but it felt empty. The fire blazed in the huge hearth, but the room was cold, as if the snow had not melted after all, had not filled the woodland pool to overflowing and opened the roads for travel. Wee Thomas was forlorn also, his appetite less than I had seen in his illness.

“Ach, fit are the two of you like?” remarked Bessie, taking in our moping faces. “He’ll soon be back and then it’ll be Christmas. What a time we’ll have then. You think your party was fun wi’ the snow, but you’ve seen nothing like Christmas.”

The Mermaid and the Bear, p. 73

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