The Clueless Gardener

"fanaticus sine potestas"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

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Have Yourself a C-of-E Christmas...

here's how I do it over here at Clueless HQ:

**pipe in "classic fm" holiday muzak from Britain over [kind of nauseating, but ...]
**listen to "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" over the internet, via BBC World Service on Christmas eve morning at 10 [3pm in Cambridge England, natch]
**most important, The Queen's Christmas Message, check BBC World Service site for times...
**Take leftover/unwanted pressies out to the peasants in their huts on your ancestral estate on Dec 26, and call it Boxing Day

enjoy your figgy pudding!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Christmas Assistant...

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

this makes a good xmas card, right?

or does it look like a grave memorial?
[sans kind permission of Sir Roy
Strong, from his garden The Laskett.]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

happy xmas, all

now, if I could just figure out how to
print this on shiny card stock...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Kitty's Paws Are Too Small

Everybody else is already over it, but it has just hit me. The huge furry paws. Ace's beatific smile. A story that seems so heartfelt, so immediate, yet took place nearly 40 years ago. How's that possible?
At present I am a slave to YouTube, namely the viral video, 4:40 version, of "Christian the Lion." is the url. It spread around the world sometime last summer, caught the attention of the Today show and The View, and found its way to me via a gush by the writer Starlee Kine in the New York Times. Hubby sent it along with the memo "seen this?" about a week ago, and now I've 'seen this' about, oh, 100 times--?
This story hits so many of my buttons...
The video tells the story of a lion cub born in England, liberated out of Harrod's by two [very 60's cute] young Australian guys, and who was raised in swinging London's Chelsea as a housepet-- until he got too big.
I don't believe in God, but maybe s/he was hanging around Chelsea the day the McKennas, English actor and actress stars of the film "Born Free," walked into the furniture shop where the guys worked and cubby Christian lived apres being sprung from 'rods. The McKennas were instrumental in solving the problem Ace Bourke and John Rendall had to face--that they'd have to eventually give up the pet lion they'd raised so lovingly.
To finance a trip to Africa and the help of the great George Adamson, the McKennas filmed a documentary--soundtrack by Pentangle! -- of this repatriation adventure. That mysterious "someone on the internet" who seems to be responsible for so much these days, edited bits of the film, put in a heartstring-plucking soundtrack with Whitney Houston's pop song, "I Will Always Love You," and told the whole story in four minutes plus.
The kicker that got everyone in the world so excited is that this video depicts a fantasy most of us have had at one time or another: that it is possible to bond so deeply with a wild animal that the love it has for you is equally as intense an attachment. In Christian's case, one year after being gradually introduced into the wilds of a preserve in Kenya, the lion, now grown bigger, recognized and greeted the visiting Ace and John with a bounding hug, and a moment of gobsmackingly amazing love burst forth on film for the world to see all these years later.
I started my fixation with this video, my Button #1, concentrating on Christian's gigantic paws...oh, to be hugged around the neck by those paws! [Remember, this is a fantasy; I'd be knocked over, of course.] I've watched the computer screen with my own tabby on my lap, and I must say, Jimmy's paws seem woefully tiny these days. I once saw a bobcat walk through the yard, about the size of a 35-pound dog, and I thought, "That's the size kitty I want!" Christian very young, perfect !!
Button #2: London in the Sixties....Beatles, Beatles, Beatles, need I say more? While Ace and John were playing soccer in a churchyard with Christian, I was a junior in high school, totally in love with England. [Just the right age to fall in love with Angleterre forever; at present Brian and I are trying to get a gig in London for 6 weeks next summer.] The fact that Ace and John are Aussies is an important twist, but since we don't hear them speak on the video, their voices were a blank to me...
But what's causing the real stir in my soul when I see this? Is it the dedication given to Christian by the boys, the fierce commitment to lions of George Adamson? Or is it the wondrous heartbreak of letting go of this big furry cat, somehow getting on with life, then being loved anew? The closest experience I've ever had is letting go baby birds, bunnies and box turtles, after raising them at my exurban childhood home...never to be seen again, of course. Or is it saying goodbye to my own annoying, beloved doggie after 18 years? There was no re-do a year later in any of my experiences, so that must be it. Oh, so lucky Ace and John!
Then, oh my God, Christian must have passed away by now! I thought. How can I feel this way about a shadow on the computer screen of an animal who lived a magnificent life but is now long dead? But I do.
Next, I discovered that Ace and John had been tracked down and interviewed. Oh, the excitement! John is very dashing, and speaks easily about Christian and wildlife conservation. Ace is more subdued, but the smile is still there. That smile. Let's go to the video. At about 3:30, Ace gives one of the happiest smiles I have ever seen, looking on glowingly at the wonder of Christian one year on. He's happy for Christian, not for himself, and that makes seeing this smile all the more poignant. Destroys me every time.
I know that this is a nine days' wonder, and that like the world, I'll gradually get over this video experience, too. But, and let's get really soppy here, won't a bit of this stay on somewhere inside moi? I hope so.
"And, I.........................will always love you," Christian, John and Ace. Thank you.