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Sideshow Meg

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You're a great gardener Meg, very organized and it must be helpful and satisfying that you are making good use of your own produce.  Sounds like you have your garden organized for the winter.

 

Hope you have a nice showing of bluebells in the Spring Madeleine.  We don't have bluebells in Canada although our English born neighbours I think managed to get some for their back garden from visitors from the UK - don't think you are supposed to bring in agricultural products but it would be nice if they grew - don't know if it was successful, shall have to enquire when next I'm speaking to them.

 

The alyssum in the flower beds is still looking good, gardeners should be here this month to winterize the two little flower beds and add some more bulbs to replace those dug up by the squirrels.

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Wonder if they were English bluebells, were they plants or bulbs?  I don't think you're meant to pick them, let alone take them out of the country!

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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. 

 

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I bought a few English bulbs in M & S and have planted them in a tub, we have quite  a lot of the Spanish ones in the garden so they're well away from those, so we'll see what happens.

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I don't want to derail the poetry thread so I'll post here. I first met My Last Duchess as a fourteen year old too, at school.  Thought it was wonderful but didn't see the coercive threat, even when pointed out.  It may not have been familiar back then either.

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 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.

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Had a serious asthma attack this week and very frightening it was.Now on two types of inhaler and steroids.Strange you think as you get older your not going to get the illnesses that strike the young. My doctor thinks it could have been brought on by increasing pollution. or maybe because it happened on Monday when massive amounts of smoke and chemicals were put in the air because of someone who nobody cares or remembers but know his name and like to explode and burn stuff.

Everything in the news is Trump or Brexit. No matter your views it would be lovely to have something good to come from both. Fingers crossed.

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Sorry to hear of your asthma attack Clavain, I hope the steroids and the inhalers do the trick, breathing problems are unpleasant so I hope you get relief soon.

 

Maybe Trump will be put in jail and we can all cheer.:hmm:

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Not sure what the discussion was all about, however, I picked up the name of The Last Duchess and thought I'd have a look at the poem by Browning.  I never had come across it at all in school, we did all the oldies and had recitation competitions, some of the girls had a real flair for the dramatics and it was interesting, but we never seemed to dissect the poetry all that much that I can remember.  Except for Wordsworth's 'trailing clouds of glory' which the teacher, as I remember, put a spiritual spin on it.  Anyway, back to Browning, I read the poem then read the analysis of it and the analysis was about twice as long as the poem and I realized I would have to have known something of Browning's background to even guess at what he was saying.  Maybe someone who has a background in the time period of this poem might like to give me some "BGO" Notes about it. When I was in 5th Grade the historical thrust seemed to be hovering around the Franco Prussian wars and the history teacher would come in and for the whole period would just run off dates and was deadly dull, the way she droned on made it seem like she wasn't too interested in it either.

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3 hours ago, momac said:

Not sure what the discussion was all about, however, I picked up the name of The Last Duchess and thought I'd have a look at the poem by Browning.  I never had come across it at all in school, we did all the oldies and had recitation competitions, some of the girls had a real flair for the dramatics and it was interesting, but we never seemed to dissect the poetry all that much that I can remember.  Except for Wordsworth's 'trailing clouds of glory' which the teacher, as I remember, put a spiritual spin on it.  Anyway, back to Browning, I read the poem then read the analysis of it and the analysis was about twice as long as the poem and I realized I would have to have known something of Browning's background to even guess at what he was saying.  Maybe someone who has a background in the time period of this poem might like to give me some "BGO" Notes about it. When I was in 5th Grade the historical thrust seemed to be hovering around the Franco Prussian wars and the history teacher would come in and for the whole period would just run off dates and was deadly dull, the way she droned on made it seem like she wasn't too interested in it either.

 

Try this Momac : My Last Duchess 

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Thanks Luna, had already looked at the Sharp's Notes and another lengthy analysis on Google, it was the history surrounding this I had not been aware of and I can search that out should I be really curious, just wondered about a thumbnail reference to the time period which attracted Browning's interest.  Sort of the 'lazy woman's' curiosity.😊

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Have just beenwatching a black squirrel gather up mouthfuls of freshly fallen maple leaves and then  carrying them up the trunk of the big maple to its nest which is way up near the top of the tree.  The temperature for today is predicted as 2 for this afternoon and zero for tonight, squirrel making the nest warmer to withstand the colder temperatures.  There's even the possibility of snow mixed with rain for this afternoon.  Time for winter woolies.

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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!!

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Thanks for the input Meg, I guess in those days and even until fairly recently and not just among the gentry but the ordinary folk there were rules of behaviour. In reading all the books lately about the two wars and the attitudes of the people, even in the most poverty stricken households, the man ruled the roost and any spare pennies very often went to his beer consumption rather than food for the family plus it wasn't unusual for the man to use his wife and children as punching bags.  The gentry 'the Duke' took it to another level in being the decider in life or death it seems.

 

What does the frost do for the blackcurrants?

 

Just another thought, spousal abuse didn't go away even in today's world although the woman, or man, can get assistance from the police, at least in western society.

Edited by momac

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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!

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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!

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Not my favourite kind of weather Meg, I like hearing the rain pattering on the awning above the front window or on the bedroom window if there is a bit of wind, but I don't like thunder and lightning storms, I find the noise frightening, which is silly because it's the lightning that's dangerous, not the thunder.  Fortunately thunder doesn't bother our two dogs, Charlie is pretty near deaf and the younger one isn't bothered.  A couple of dogs we used to have were very frightened of thunder.  Hope your weather has improved by now.

 

All the leaves are off the deciduous trees now and it looks quite bare and the temperature is down in the single digits.  However, it's nice to see the change of seasons.  We have a couple of seasonal hanging baskets hanging from the arbour with nice red tartan ribbons and lots of greenery and some little fancy decorations,  We can see them from the living room window.  

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I don't like thunder either when it's really loud, although as you say it's just noise and not the dangerous bit!  Our old lab used to be terrified of thunder (and fireworks) until she got deaf, she used to try to hide from it.

 

Yep all the leaves are suddenly coming off now and it's very messy and slippery everywhere, quite mild today though and sunny after all the rain over the last few days.

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I love thunder and lightning storms, especially if I am indoors (or even on a covered patio) and can watch the lightning and the skies.  

 

It is very cold (for us) right now, which I don't like.  The leaves are just starting to turn, which we do get some of, but not like places with real Fall leaves.  However, we are coming up on my very favorite holiday:  Thanksgiving.  I've already made my pie crusts and will make more food this weekend.  Then Wednesday, November 21 will be tons of baking.  I usually wear my Wonder Woman apron that day.  On Thanksgiving, I wear my Star Wars apron because I want the Force to be with me.

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Binker I envy you your energy, can't remember the last time I made a pie - am fine with cookie making and shortbread but not much ambition for anything fancier, biscuits is another easy to do bake and always disappear quickly once out of the oven.  Hubby used to make bread when younger but wouldn't have the hand strength for kneading the dough now.  When he did make it the family would be on hand with a knife and the butter quite quickly after it cooled down a bit.

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I like thunder storms too and now that we don't keep dogs it's easy to enjoy them.  I once drove to may grandmother's (around 20 minutes away) to see the chain lightening we were having at the time against a navy blue velvety sky.  There was no rain and my grandmother lived 12 stories up in high flats.  As soon as I arrived she knew why I was there and led me into the kitchen where she opened a window and let me hang out of it (my mother had made the suggestion but knowing that my gran would let me hang out of the window 12 stories up declined to accompany me because that always made her uncomfortable).  I'd had a look at the world out of that window before and knew that there was very little chance of falling out of it.  The chain lightening, however,  was astonishing and something that I'll always remember.  

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Luna, I have some things that I can make but find it hard to stand to do any mixing or whatever, so I've ordered a bar stool where I can sit on it and I'm above the table height and can see what I'm doing in the big mixing bowl, so the kitchen table with me sitting down is where I'll be having a go at some Christmas baking.  One thing I do want but not to make myself, is I would like a Christmas pudding this year, seems any time we had pudding everyone was so full of the main meal that the pudding didn't get eaten.  The only thing I would have trouble with is custard, it is wonderfully easy to burn custard, used to be that so many things were easy for me but each year I find I'm cutting corners because of arthritis more of a problem than in yesteryear.  Sitting at the computer it all seems so easy!  :hmm:

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