To cap it all…

A strange week all in all. Work, in the shape of additional tutoring sessions owing to imminent exams and panicking pupils, kept me off the bicycle in the early part. Then, my planned outing with the Oxymorons (that’s a reference to Walkers Cycling if you haven’t bothered yourself to read my previous post!) literally came to a halt 100 yards up the road when my tyre mysteriously flattened. To add injury to insult, this brought on a migraine type headache of gargantuan dimension, involving projectile vomit and a weird vision pixellation of the sort you had to pay a lot of money to experience in the 60s. It also curtailed my Johnstone Wheelers outing today as the pain has not quite departed yet. I am reminded of the classic description of the two phases of seasickness: stage one is when you are afraid you are going to die, and stage two is when you are afraid you are not.

And so, Dear Reader, I fear I must fall back on the old diarists’ response when faced with a week of not a lot to say: I’m going to say not a lot but say it at great length.

A thread over on the Internet Bonsai Club raised the issue of a plant that calls itself “lucky Bamboo” which in fact is neither lucky as it dies with a certainty and a degree of melodrama best reserved for the baddies in a John Wayne western, nor is it bamboo, being part of the Dracaena family (Now, should I have ticked the Flora box as a further classification for this entry?). Nor is it a bonsai despite being sold in countless garden centres and stores as such. It is, IMVH(and not at all biased)O, an abomination on a scale with all forms of extremism or intolerance, or with Andrew Lloyd Weber getting prime time TV slots to recruit staff to his latest insult to music. However, the story:

I overheard a wonderful conversation between two members of the public in my local IKEA a month or so ago, where this “lucky bamboo” is sold as a bonsai. The conversation was along the lines of “it must be a bonsai because it’s small and it’s in one of they (sic) shiny pots”. The chat then got round to the issue of cruelty (with the female stating that the “LB” would grow to about twenty metres high if it wasn’t so cruelly inhibited) before veering off into a decision to buy a fairly hideous s-shaped Ficus because that was a “proper bonsai”.
It was a choice between walking away and running them over with my trolley. But as I was carrying glassware I opted for the former.

Quite apart from the “it’s not bonsai” aspect, I cannot stand lucky bamboo for the totally irrational reason that it reminds me of asparagus which I couldn’t hate and detest more if it were cyanide.

For no reason other than catharsis, I shall tell you that my other flora related irrationality is Hydrangea. I detest this for the very adult and mature reason that it reminds me of the swimming cap my mother made me wear when I was younger but old enough to be very aware of what constituted “cool” and what did not. The swimming cap had rubber “florets” which wobbled about much in the same way as Hydrangea petals do. And it was sweetie pink! Cool? Not on your nellie! It was almost as uncool as the early swimming costumes which were made of that hideous ruched fabric which increased its weight at least tenfold when it came into contact with water. I am sure whole generations of Scottish schoolchildren learned how to swim simply to avoid instant drowning at the hands of their own swimwear. The hydrangeal swimming cap, btw, met its (literally) sticky end when I discovered why manufacturers put the instruction “Do not cover” on radiators. Nothing deliberate about that at all! And this momentous revolutionary strike on my part was followed not long after by a major breakthrough for equality when the powers that be in leisure centres suddenly recognised that, wonder of wonder – who’d ever have known? – boys carried nits and headlice too, and rather than tackle the issue of making boys wear swimming caps “head on” (sorry!), they took the softie route and just made the offending garment optional. Pity. I’d have loved to have seen some of the great hairy bears of blokes that frequented the Hector NcNeil baths in Greenock wearing hydrangea swim caps.

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