Sunday, March 2, 2008

WHERE I LISTEN AND LOOK IN MY GARDEN FOR STORIES ABOUT MUSIC!

A bit of a mish-mash this week and I'm sorry Blimpy, I can't seem to find a picture of one anywhere, but I'll add something in a minute. Some weeks ago someone started a thread, "Where I listen to Music", I didn't respond then nor did many others, so lets give it a second go. I have two favorite spots, this is one, my hot tub in the conservatory. A taste of heaven is to choose a CD, put it on in the living room with the hot tub speakers on and then get a large glass of brandy and you're all set for the next hour. The hot tub is at 104°F and all the plants love the moist steamy environment about as much as I do, most hot tub use is in the winter. The second spot is exclusively for spring and summer, it's my hammock which is slung between two large trees in the shade. Ecstacy is to lay in the hammock late in the afternoon with the iPod on shuffle and again with the requisite glass of brandy, sorry, don't have a picture of that, I'll have to speak to the staff.

On the gardening front 'Spring is Here' as Ella reminds me. We had a nasty winter, an unheard of 10 weeks of frosty overnights but hopefully that's now passed. Days are now warm and sunny and all the soft fruit trees are in full blossom. We have a variety of fruit that's probably not made it to the UK, it's the pluot, about 20 odd years ago a Californian horticulturalist started crossing plums and apricots, he succeeded hence the name plu-ot. All my life my idea of god's gift to 'personkind' was the Mango, I got to a point of only buying specific varieties, if you ever have a chance to eat a Bombay mango, go for it, it's sublime, it's the ultimate fruit; but then came the pluot! The first one I tasted did it, I was hooked, I promptly went out and bought a tree, then I tasted a different variety so I bought another tree, now I have six and feel that I must stop, there's only so much fruit that two people can eat after all and we also have about 20 odd varieties of apples, 6-8 of pears, two apricots, six citrus, two persimmons, six plums and grapes and figs and berries etc, etc, it just goes on and on. That's what happens when you grow up to be an obsessive, but I do make lots of jam and chutney.

OK, in the past several of you have been very generous with your comments re. some of my stories, I enjoy writing them and have just finished another but this one's different. It again deals with an incident from my travels but I have both pictures and audio of the event so I've tried to do it differently but unfortunately so far I haven't been able to get the audio to play at the site, I'll keep trying, suggestions are welcome. The story is at


http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgq4z9v6_7cvr8dssr


In addition I've been scanning a lot of my music oriented slides, specifically jazz and blues and I've posted them at my Picasa site which is at
http://picasaweb.google.com/goneforeign


some of you might enjoy those, there's a couple of new postings, color and B/W jazz, for some reason the B/W is at a different site and is still a work in progress, at the top left of the Picasa site there's 'Documents' link, click that and it will open and then insert a check into the Jazz artists item and click and it will open. While you're up there open the 'Garden' photos and you'll see what I have to deal with.

And finally if you haven't yet seen "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' you should make the effort before it disappears, an amazing and inspiring film. 'Nuff for now, more later....T.

14 comments:

ejaydee said...

Not too shabby. I'm trying loads of new fruits here, today I made a great discovery, it's called a Siringuela, and it's like a mixture of cherry and peach. There's also the nespera, which is great but I haven't been able to find any since the first tie I tried them. Have you ever had a cashew (not the nut but the fruit whence it's from)? It's the most interesting fruit I've ever tasted, texture-wise.
I think I've seen that picture of GSH somewhere before. And yes, THe Diving Bell... is something special.

steenbeck said...

I'm jealous, goneforeign, I've always wanted to grow fruit. Beautiful pictures inside and out. My brother and I used to imagine fruits that were combinations of others--peachapples, for one. I'd like to try a pluot, anything that's like a cherry and a peach, and a cashew fruit. We can get a lot of more exotic fruits at the grocery store here, I think because Jersey's pretty diverse, and people like to taste things that remind them of home. I'll take a look for some that you mentioned. Have you had a champagne mango? It's so smooth it's almost creamy. They sell them at a farm stand in town, but I don't think they could possibly grow near here.

goneforeign said...

Ejay/Steen: Thanks for the comments. I was just thinking about it and it occurs to me that almost every country has it's versions of food dishes but they all have different names. With fruit [until the advent of international transportation] you had to live where it grew so people in tropical climes were very lucky, I don't know any that you mention Ejay but when in Jamaica I often found totally new fruits that were just everyday there, dozens of 'em. The Champaign mango sounds like it might be related to the Bombay; in Ja. a Bombay sold for $2, run of the mill were 10-20 for a dollar!.
I don't think you've seen this pic of GSH before Ejay, I've never released it before this though it's possible that there's others like it out there, it reminds me of a classic picture of Lenin.

treefrogdemon said...

Another great story, gf, and I ADORE the pictures, especially the ones with bits of fabric in them. As for fruit, here in Kirkcudbright my quince tree is just starting to come into leaf...I've got my fingers crossed again but it's never had any fruit since we've been here. It did quite well in Stony Stratford though. I made lots of that Spanish quince paste called something beginning with m...

steenbeck said...

membrillo. I was obsessed with it in the fall. I tried making it twice, and the first time it was too soft, and the second it was too tough. Quinces are very expensive, though, I'd love to grow my own.

treefrogdemon said...

That's it!

Frogprincess said...

Green card anyone? Lovely conservatory GF. And thanks for the film recommendation. I was outside in Cannes when they presented the film and they let off a whole cloud of butterflies to mark the event. one of them landed on my best pal's back and stayed there, quite happy. She took it to be a good omen.

goneforeign said...

Lovely comments, thank you. My quince bush is in full bloom and the house is full of quince and daffodils , it's never fruited but hereabouts that's not a problem, people can't give 'em away, so I've also had a go at quince jelly. Re. the conservatory, it was derelict when we bought the place, my thought was a greenhouse but it became what it is.
Ms. Demon, I was searching through a stack of business cards this morning and one jumped out at me, it was "The Tree Frog Tree Service", complete with picture, I'll scan it for you.
I've spent the last two weeks searching for George Schaeffer online, this morning looking in the 'S' section of the phone book I saw 'Schafer' and wondered if that could be the spelling, I googled it and came up with:

Thumbnail Gallery # 4 - Alan's Art & Other Artists Work - 8:27am
GEORGE SCHAFER a German. psychiatrist, pre-Nazi era turned tantric (visionary) artist. ... He and his wife who was a guatemalan indian were ...
photostration.com/gallery4.html - 22k

This led me on another google search and I discovered that her name is Nan Cruz! So my guess at the end of the piece was correct, the search continues.

treefrogdemon said...

Why, thank you kindly, gf: I am a fan of all treefrogs. Just watched the LAST ep of David Attenborough's LAST ever series (he says) - the reptiles and amphibians one. Sob. I've got the book but it's not the same. I'm cheering myself up with a box of Hotel Chocolat chocs that came today. It goes with the sweeties theme.

Tempusfugit said...

Beautiful digs, GF. A far cry from Woolwich.

We make compote when we can get hold of quinceshere in the UAE, which is onve in a blue moon. In Yugoslavia it was a winter pantry staple - when the quinces were abundant we bought kilos and compoted and jarred them for the winter months. I always ended up with gnarled, twisted, aching hands after peeling and slicing the beasts. Gently poached in a syrup infused with cloves, the compote went nicely with the Chritmas turkey - replacing cranberry relish - or as a light, simple but tasty pudding.

glasshalfempty said...

Lovely conservatory and garden - we've recently sold our London house which was also equipped with one each of those soul-calming facilities, so you've got me pining. Our garden was formerly an orchard, and retained ancient apple and cherry trees, that still fruited. We had a lovely quince, but I only ever enjoyed the flowers - the fruit we just left till it dropped and rotted.
Regarding exotic fruit, despite the huge range now available in many supermarkets, there remain many wonderful fruits that we never see in England - in most cases because they don't travel. From my childhood in Trinidad, I still miss fresh guavas (tho' they do tin quite well); pomeracks (pink nail varnish skin, crisp white flesh, slightly pear drop); and pomsitays (tart). Also, for a mega tart gill-getting taste, fresh tamarinds (unfortunately the skin is like egg shell, so they don't travel).

You did have some serious adventures,gf, didn't you? The scorpions one still makes my flesh creep, but a 'locked room' in the dark with a stoned stranger would have me getting my coat too....

@ejd, in India last year I "enjoyed" fenny, an alcoholic brew from cashew apples - I discovered why it hasn't taken the world by storm...

goneforeign said...

Glass: All this discussion of fruits prompted me to Wiki 'Mango' - lots of info there, including a reference to the Champagne, a Mexican variety. I've been aware for some time that the British Empire was directly responsible for the world-wide distribution of various fruits and plants, wherever the army was posted they took their favorite plants with them, which is how the mango came from India to the West Indies. Plus the breadfruit, that was imported by Captain Bligh specifically to provide a food staple for the slaves. Re. tamarinds, I love 'em, even having to clean off the 'eggshell', they're available in some markets here and I use lots in chutneys. Guavas grow well in southern California, though probably not up here. The world-wide favorite mango is the 'Tommy Atkins', google that name as I did some weeks ago to start you on one of those never ending but fascinating trips, British army of course but lots more.

goneforeign said...

The story suddenly takes on new dimensions, I've been online for a couple of weeks trying to get info and suddenly it all happens, I've got several leads and will run a final chapter when I get it all together, thanks for the interest.

glasshalfempty said...

GF: Yeh, most people don't realise that mangos are like apples - loads of varieties with different textures, flavours and uses. Where I grew up I liked Grahams for chutney; Julies were the best for eating, with juice running down your arms; Rose were tiny, with a very perfumed flavour. No doubt all the islands have different names for the same varieties, just to confuse things further. I've never knowingly tried a Bombay, but I'll look out for them in Brixton market.