Wednesday, 3 December 2008


VERY LITTLE TO REPORT LAST MONTH, not because there wasn't anything going on, but because there was too much - a lot of family stuff including older generation illness and death. But also more work than I could cope with around the business of finding eager buyers for This Strange and Precious Thing, i.e. my new book. Marketing! That's the last thing I wanted to let myself in for, but it seems to be the inevitable consequence which follows writing a book.

And now it's December. And Christmas rushing up. Lordy, Lord! Which brings me to ... BANANAS

Late last Spring I noticed a strange bump. We have this banana tree in the house - we've had it since it was a baby, and almost lost it at the old house where we kept it in our conservatory which went unheated through the winters. Twice it almost gave up the ghost. But three or four years ago we downsized, and moved to a two floor cottage in Combe Down. Small as you enter it from the street, but amazingly spacious when you get inside - and, it included a built-in conservatory at the end of the sitting room. So our plants, as it were, live inside with us.

Discovering this bump one day, I took a closer look. A strange growth! I had to look closer. Hard to believe what I was seeing. Hidden under its great green leaves was a purply flower and a couple of mini bananas. My friend Kirsten, who was with me at the time and heard me squeal in disbelief, rushed over, camera in hand. (She just happened to have a camera in her hand.) Maybe this is everyday stuff; maybe everyone has bananas growing in the corner of their rooms, but for me it was sheer magic.

Throughout the dreary summer -- remember it? -- it rained -- but the flower flourished and the nanas kept on growing. Today I fondly inspected it again, wondering if it had taken fright at the frost on the windowpane. But the bananas are still defiant. A proper hand of half sized fruit, and I'm beginning to hope they'll go on growing through the winter.

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