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About megustaleer

  • Rank
  • Birthday 31/07/1945


  • Location
    Sussex UK
  • Interests
    Reading, Gardening, Grandchildren
  • How did you hear about this site?
    via bookgroup.info

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  • Location
    Sussex by the Sea

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  1. what is everyone doing?

    I make my own custard - but with custard powder, not a real egg custard, and I make it in the microwave, so no chance of burning it. I don't use ready made as it is too sweet for our taste (as most ready-made foods are nowadays). We had banana custard for our pudding last night - Sainsbury's-next-door had a load of perfectly good bananas for 4p each on their 'reduced' shelves. So simple, but such a comforting pud! This morning started so well. There's a lovely clear sky, sun and a good breeze - a good drying day. So there I was at 8am, pegging the first wash load on the clothes line, got to the last item, a sock, when the line snapped! Luckiy it all fell across the hooped netting over the raised beds, not on the soil, but there I was, holding up the broken end of the line, the end furthest from the house of course and still laden with washing, trying to call Mr meg's attention away from his breakfast and out to help me (but not disturb the neighbours) by lobbing clothes-pegs, left-handed. at the kitchen windows. Eventually, by sort of wrapping the lineful of washing around my shoulders I managed to get close enough to the window to knock on it, and got him out to help. He held the broken end of the line at head hight so I could remove the washing, and then we did a temporary repair. Luckily there was enough spare line bundled up at the end, so I let let it out at the post and he tied the broken ends together. That should last long enough for me to get a replacement. A better quality one next time - Mr meg got us that one - probably from the pound shop.
  2. what is everyone doing?

    Having some wild weather tonight! Rolling thunder, followed by lightning, strong winds, and rain battering the windows. Mr meg had only just got into bed when it started, but went straight off to sleep without a murmur. Wish I could switch off like that!
  3. what is everyone doing?

    Blackcurrants (which I am trying to grow). other currants and woody-stemmed berries like a period of chilling in the winter if they are to produce fruit the next year. I think this has something to do with the timing if 'bud-break' in the spring - not sure of the actual technicalities. Anyway, I like to have a few weeks of proper winter to be sure I get enough blackcurrants to put in my breakfast porridge!
  4. what is everyone doing?

    I didn't know, or had forgotten, that My Last Duchess was based on a specific family - just knew that in those times a woman was a man's property, and that marriages were arranged for political and monetary advantage by the men of powerful families. The phrase "the Duke’s compulsive revelations" in the linked commentary seems to be saying that, once the Duke started talking about his dead Duchess, he was driven by some compulsion to reveal all. That's not how I read it. I see the whole enterprise - the visit to the gallery, the viewing of that particular painting and the story behind it as a quite calculated warning, to be passed to the father of the prospective bride, and subsequently to the daughter, of the kind of behaviour that would not be tolerated in his next Duchess. But that might just be me - I don't remember if that was how it was taught in school or not - it was nigh on 60 years ago. Clavain - so sorry to hear of your asthma attack, it must have been very scary to get one out of the blue with no previous history. Could well have been a result of pollution from post-Nov5th celebrations. I hope there are no recurrences. Haven't there also been very high pollution levels in Delhi too, after the Diwali bonfires? Ooh, Momac -snow! Still very mild around here. Very heavy rain & wind last night, blowing in from the Western Approaches and giving the Channel coastal areas a good soaking. More due tonight, and during the day tomorrow (it has already started, I can hear it rattling against the bedroom windows, which face west). Most of the hours of daylight were dry and bright today, and quite mild - temperatures about 5 degres above the seasonal norm. I shall soon be moaning about not having had any frost for my blackcurrants!!
  5. what is everyone doing?

    At this distance in time I can't swear that I saw it on the first reading, but my memory of it has always been of dawning shock as I realised what "Then all smiles stopped together" implied, and then saw the hidden message the Count's representative was to pass on to his master. I just hoped that the Count withdrew from the contract, but in those times it would have been a vain hope. I thought it was very clever the way that Browning made the Duke's threat so subtle, but clear.
  6. Poetic Wanderings

    That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said “Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not Her husband’s presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek; perhaps Fra Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat.” Such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart—how shall I say?— too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men—good! but thanked Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech—which I have not—to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse— E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master’s known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretense Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! My Last Duchess by Robert Browning I think this is my favourite poem by Browning. I remember reading it at school and being chilled at the veiled threat made indirectly to his prospective new Duchess. A very obvious message nowadays with what we know about coercive control, but quite new to me as a 14yr(?) old.
  7. what is everyone doing?

    It is illegal to dig up wild English bluebells, but the bulbs can be bought from reputable nurseries. Not that there is much point trying to grow them if there are any Spanish bluebells in the vicinity as they hybridise very promiscuously and the delicate English variety are soon swamped by their coarser relatives.
  8. Poetic Wanderings

    When all the women in the transport had their heads shaved four workmen with brooms made of birch twigs swept up and gathered up the hair Behind clean glass the stiff hair lies of those suffocated in gas chambers there are pins and side combs in this hair The hair is not shot through with light is not parted by the breeze is not touched by any hand or rain or lips In huge chests clouds of dry hair of those suffocated and a faded plait a pigtail with a ribbon pulled at school by naughty boys Pigtail by Tadeusz Różewicz
  9. what is everyone doing?

    We did some clearing up in the garden over the weekend. Turned the compost over and bagged up the most-composted bottom layer to spread on one of the raised beds (when we've pulled up the leeks). We would have left the compost until spring, but the box was getting rather full and there's a lot still to go in it - especially as the grass is still growing. I also pulled the remaining rhubarb as the fox was finding patches of diggable bare soil earth between the leaves, and I needed to net the bed before he digs up and eats all the double snowdrop bulbs I brought from our last garden. Very mild today - I have turned the central heating off.
  10. Poetic Wanderings

    Mushrooms - Sylvia Plath Overnight, very Whitely, discreetly, Very quietly Our toes, our noses Take hold on the loam, Acquire the air. Nobody sees us, Stops us, betrays us; The small grains make room. Soft fists insist on Heaving the needles, The leafy bedding, Even the paving. Our hammers, our rams, Earless and eyeless, Perfectly voiceless, Widen the crannies, Shoulder through holes. We Diet on water, On crumbs of shadow, Bland-mannered, asking Little or nothing. So many of us! So many of us! We are shelves, we are Tables, we are meek, We are edible, Nudgers and shovers In spite of ourselves. Our kind multiplies: We shall by morning Inherit the earth. Our foot's in the door. Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath
  11. what is everyone doing?

    The supposedly country-wide frost didn't make it to the coastal fringe of East Sussex, but it was a mistake to base our decision on what to wear on a trip to the High Weald on the temperature down here. It was decidedly chillier there. This was our second visit to Standen House and Garden - actually, just the garden - low temperature notwithstanding, it was too lovely a day to spend any of it indoors, so we just walked round the garden enjoying the views and the autumn colours of the foliage. It was just as lovely today as it was in spring when the bluebells were in flower. We noticed on the drive there and back that there is a magnificent crop of berries on hawthorn and holly this year. Everything looked beautiful against the blue skies. Hope Mrmac is back home and recovering well from his spell in hospital.
  12. what is everyone doing?

    We had heavy rain overnight (started at about 9pm, so hopefully dampened down the exuberance of any early-teenage Trick or Treaters and quietened the evening for the anxious). Also rained heavily on and off during the day - the first decent amount of rain we've had in ages. At least I won't have to worry about the remaining veg plants or the pots under the eaves for a few days. I was probably the only person happy to see the rain today - no school kids at home on half term, and high on last night's sugar rush to keep entertained.
  13. what is everyone doing?

    With you on that Clavain. Luckily for us most of the properties in this part of the town are bungalows occupied by elderly folks who don't answer the doorbell after dark, so a visit to this street by trick & treaters is known to be unrewarding. Even our grandchildren won't come all the way down here just to call on us. Hope you feel better soon.
  14. what is everyone doing?

    We used to have one with a dome under the food, so that the squirrels couldn't climb up from underneath to get at the hanging feeders - but even then we had to grease the metal pole because the could still get themselves on top of the dome one they got to it. Very acrobatic little beasts. We had to position the pole well away (6ft I think) from any buildings, fences, and overhanging branches. Fortunately we had a big lawn so were able to do that. It was fun watching the squirrels make a dash for the feeder, get half way up the pole and then slide down again. There is a dearth of songbirds around here, so I no longer put out a bird feeder.
  15. Thanks - I will be consulting his parents before actually buying anything.