Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Breaking News: Mugger claims Scurvy made them do it!

Some day it will come to this.  One day I will hardly be able to fend off the scurvy and the madness and I will simply snap.  This will be my headline.  Mugger claims "Scurvy made me do it!"

I can tell you are confused.  That furrowed look on your brow, that raised eyebrow, that slightly narrowed eye tell all.  You cannot understand what I am talking about.  Well how could you?  YOU do not have scurvy.

At first I just thought I was tired from working too hard and maybe the tiniest bit lazy.  But then I realized the terrible truth.  I was in line to buy my handful of bargains at M&S when realization struck.  Out of all the things I could have selected to buy I had chosen to buy a lemon cake, a lemon mousse and a grapefruit.  I wasn't just tired and lazy.  I was craving fruit.  I had scurvy!  The hard yellow evidence was staring me straight in my scorbutic face.

Pirate birthday cake
Maybe the presence of this pirate cake alongside my lemon cake subconsciously started this whole thing? Nah, it was the scurvy.  Had to be.
Scorbutic, that's just such a great word.  No, focus Madder Hatter, you must stay focused.  Don't let the scurvy take you like this.

Ok, produce wallet, produce change, pay for citrusy products.  Almost safe.  No, the madness is taking over.  The scurvy... It. Is. Too. Powerful.

I stumbled back to my desk at work, delirious with laughter and the sickness.  I managed to obtain a spoon somehow in this state, peeled back the lid with trembling fingers and dug into the lemony mousse.  Ahhh.  The cure.  I could feel the sugary lemony goodness fixing me.  The madness slowly receded to a normal level and I went back to my work.  I had been saved from the scurvy, but not before I had realized my fate.

You see, it seems to be my fate to constantly battle scurvy.  I do not eat enough broccoli obviously, as I have explained before here.  So it is with a heavy heart that I must realize what my eventual fate will be.  I am destined to battle with scurvy my entire life.  Yes, tragic, but true.

I will not always be so lucky as to be within reach of a cure, however.  So, I am doomed to be the madman on the loose grasping at anything that even looks like a cure.

Mad with the scurvy I will scuttle down the street.  Nobody sitting at a quiet breakfast with grapefruit will be safe from my ravenous need for citrus.  I will be forced to grab lemony desserts from people's hands and down them without elegance or dignity.  Scorbutic hands trembling I am doomed to terrify the lone bearers of fruit flavoured cakes on public transportation.

With wild and anxious aspect I will spy the cakes from a distance, perched prettily on the lap of an unsuspecting bus passenger.  My desperate deficiency heightening my senses and screaming that I act now to restore my health, I will leap to my feet and race to my supposed salvation.  Muttering in demented demeanor aloud to myself about the scurvy I will pitch back and forth with the motion of the bus.  The scurvy will feel the motion, reach back into its ancient memory and believe with renewed audacity that it is afflicting a hapless sailor, demanding satisfaction in a fruit flavoured cake sacrifice to its honour.

I will battle with the scurvy.  I am a good person and won't want to take the poor passenger's cake.  But the scurvy will be strong and I will eventually be forced to steal their cake.  Unceremoniously, I will be found tearing into it to relieve my scurvy and become the world's weirdest and wildest mugger.  Stealing cakes from innocent people.  Once the scurvy has been sated and my sanity has returned to me it will be too late.  I will try to explain that the scurvy made me do it as I am led away in handcuffs for mugging some poor old lady bringing a lemon cake to her friends birthday.  But it will be too late she will already be terrified and traumatized by my public scorbutic debacle.

I am doomed.  Summer days may find me trying to pry orange popsicles from unsuspecting little fingers.  Fingers that will point me out as the orange-handed culprit.  Sure, sure I could have asked where they got their popsicles from, but scurvy doesn't heed logic.  Scurvy does not brook disappointment.  Scurvy is a law unto itself.  It is a bleak bleak future that awaits me.

Even if I try to stockpile on citrus products there is no telling when scurvy could strike.  I could be anywhere and nobody will be safe from my scorbutic mania.  Maybe I should get a lawyer.  Perhaps a good lawyer could explain that these innocent victims had knowledge of the whereabouts of the popsicle and cake vendors and that they were withholding that information from me.  I was forced to steal the popsicles and cakes out of great underprivileged need.

Or insanity.  The insanity plea could work.  The terrified lady from the bus could probably testify on my behalf even.  Insanity may just be my salvation. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Mother's Day in March

It is after midnight so it is officially Mother's Day here in the UK.   Across the pond we celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May, but here it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.  It just so happens that this year it is today, Sunday March 10th.  So, while I am not officially bound to celebrate Mother's Day today I think I shall anyway.  My mother is simply that great.  She deserves two whole days, not just one.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers here who are celebrating officially and Happy Mother's Day to you Mom.  It seems that it is tradition to give your mother daffodils here in the UK, a fact which has been made difficult this year with the cold weather causing a shortage of the cheery yellow flowers.  And, well, it's a bit hard for me to give flowers to you anyway.  So, what I will do is amass some pictures of flowers for you.  This will be my way of saying extra thank you to you today.

Here are some British Daffodils for you.  Some from Grassington and some from Roundhay Park.

Daffodils in Roundhay ParkDaffodils by the road in Grassington 
Now that I have given you these daffodils I have realized that flowers from England are not enough.  I need to travel the world to select the best and brightest flowers for your bouquet.  

Some of them I got to share with you in person, like these from Berkeley.

Climbing roses in Berkeley, CA
Orange roses
 Some flowers I had to travel further afield to find.  I had to go to Rome to find these for you.
Wisteria along a yellow wall in Rome
Wisteria across a private gate in RomeWisteria in the Roman Forum
Wisteria on a street corner in Rome
Then I realized I was lacking some yellow flowers since those are your favorite. So I went to Geneva to get you some yellow tulips.
Yellow tulips from Geneva
Delicate Iris with an ant climbing it, found in Geneva
While I was there I picked up an iris for you because I think they are pretty and I wanted you to have one.

I then came home for a rest and found these yellow flowers amongst the ruins of Whitby Abbey.
Yellow flowers growing along the ruined steps of Whitby Abbey

Yellow flowers growing at Whitby Abbey

Yellow flowers growing atop a door frame at Whitby Abbey
The drive home from Whitby Abbey brought us along Robin Hood's Bay and I stopped to pick you these pretty purple wildflowers.  I think the view made them smell sweeter.
Wildflowers overlooking Robin Hood's Bay

  Back in Leeds I picked these for you on campus and out in my favorite thinking place.

Striped tulips on Leeds University campusWhite summer daisy
Purple wildflowerYellow rose unfurling in a spiral

In Hebden Bridge I made sure roses grew on a trellis for you, lavender graced your windowsill and yellow flowers bloomed by your gate.

Pink climbing roses on a gate

Lavender in the window
Yellow poppies growing by a gate

Then I went to Italy all the way out to Hadrian's Villa to pick you some lovely red poppies to give you a bit more colour variety.  
These yellow wildflowers next to the ancient ruined frescoes were too lovely to leave behind.  So I brought those home for you too.  After all it was you who taught me to see beauty in the tiny forgotten things.
Yellow wildflowers next to ancient Roman frescoes

While I was in the area I stopped over by Villa D'Este to get a few blooms for you.  They suited you too, happy and cheerful.  The sort of flowers that just remind me of you.
Tulips in the gardens of Villa D'Este

Red and blue flowers in the gardens of Villa D'Este
Yellow tulips near a fountain pool in the gardens of Villa D'Este

Speaking of tiny overlooked yet beautiful things, these poppies in Pompeii couldn't be appreciated better by anybody else.
Red poppies by a column in ancient Pompeii
Nor could the beauty of a vivid dragonfly against an orange flower.
And very few people would stop to admire the red hibiscus flowers that dropped red petals on red tiles next to this red bench in the heart of Benalmadena, Spain.  But I know you would.
Red Hibiscus flowers in Benalmadena, Spain

Finally I made one last stop.  I went to Paris to find you the last most necessary flowers.  I needed to find you some lilacs and I did find them in this garden.
Lilacs in a Parisian garden

Pink blossoms in a Parisian garden
While I was there I also found yellow flowers dripping with rain, so delicate and lovely...
Yellow flowers covered in rain drops in a Parisian garden
Stained glass flower from St Denis, Paris
 and a glass flower.  I brought them along too because I know how strong you are and sometimes I forget that you are also fragile.  I didn't want to forget so I added them to my bouquet for you. 

 Pink flowers in front of Notre Dame

I know I haven't always been nearby and we haven't always been able to share all our adventures together.  But I want you to know that you have always been close to my heart.

Bleeding Heart flowers from a garden on Leeds University campus

Happy Mother's Day Mom.  I love you.


Worst View in the World?

Now typically I like to talk about the pretty things when I write.  I'd much rather think on the brighter side than dwell on the darker side of things.  But, every so often, a girl simply must admit to the stark realities of life.  One of those unavoidable realities, an unpleasantly true fact, is that I have one of the ugliest views in the world.

You see I live in Leeds, not the prettiest city in the world.  Sorry Leeds, you must remember that I first met you just after the bin collectors' strike, so the bar for ugly sites has been set rather high.  That being the case, what is it that makes my view so terrible?  Well, for a start I look out at an alley full of rubbish bins.

Ok, you may be thinking to yourself, rubbish bins?  Everybody has to look at rubbish bins.  There is nothing unusually ugly about that.

AND the neighbor children play football in the alley and frequently knock over the bins, strewing their contents about the alley.

Hmm, ok, maybe slightly worse.

AND there is a construction project going on across the way.

Well, again, you think to yourself that it can't be all that bad.

You may be right, the construction isn't so much the issue as the pace at which it is being completed.  It is halted every time it rains.  Hello!  We live in England!  It's ALWAYS raining!  So, I have the sneaking suspicion that the pile of rubbish and construction supplies will never actually disappear.

View from my kitchen window in Leeds
The bin collectors have just come and gone so it almost looks decent for the moment.

Ok, so it's not the best view in the world, but what makes it the worst?

View of construction from my kitchen window in Leeds
I just love heaps of construction waste, don't you?

The real sign that it's the worst view in the world has nothing to do with the construction or rubbish.  The test for ugly views is far more random and simplistic.  You know how everything looks better when it snows?  Well, I am here to tell you that my view isn't even improved by a snow.  And if a healthy coating of beautiful white snow can't even make my view pretty then nothing can.

I've seen bins that look exciting and almost fun in the snow, with giant domes of snow crowning them and making them not only funny but also somehow attractive for once in their lives.  Normally ugly shapes are suddenly interesting and lovely with some snow.  I've seen car parks (or parking lots) that by any normal standard would be judged a blight, that were transformed into a beautiful scene by snow.  Snow is the ultimate beautifier, yes, I just made that word up, and if snow can't fix a view then it's hopeless.

My view therefore fails the snow beauty test.  My view is ugly.  No it's worse than that; it's heinous.  My view is quite possibly one of the worst views in the world.  It is certainly the worst view I've ever had.

So, I have decided to enter the Worst Window View Competition by Wooden Blinds Direct to see how my abhorrent view compares to others.  Maybe I will be surprised, realise my view isn't all that bad, and come away heartened by the fact that my view could be decidedly worse.  Or maybe I will win a Kindle Fire HD.  It is a competition I cannot actually lose.

I didn't think I'd ever have occasion to say this, but I am actually looking forward to seeing the worst views the world has to offer.