It is quite busy round here.
I have been to Cornwall to film a little bit for Gardeners World (mostly because my friend Joe Swift is in France eating cheese and swilling down the cheeky Bordeaux). It is, I believe, serving as a brief intermission between the wise words of Mr Montagu this Friday. Lovely garden near St Michael’s Mount. We had lunch in a pub there (thank-you, licence payers) that served good crab sandwiches: although I think the use of Ciabatta instead of thinly sliced brown is an insidious urban habit that should not be allowed.
I have been thinking a bit about names over recent days. So much of our lives is governed by nomenclature. If things did not have names then we would be a bit scuppered. “Pass me the whatsis” or “Nobody move this is a thingamajig”
I have always wanted a shorter name. Not because I have any particular objection to the one I have (although it is always annoying trying to explain that half of my surname is actually a christian name, not my Christian name but somebody else’s) but because I would like to have the sort of name with which one could answer the telephone. In a gruff and businesslike voice.
Ring, Ring. Ring, Ring. Ring, Ring.
Doesn’t really work does it? Too many syllables.
Likewise “The name’s Alexander-Sinclair, James Alexander-Sinclair” would not quite have the same knee-watering effect on women.
This would be better:
Ring,Ring. Ring,Ring. Ring,Ring.
“Gadd” or “Frond” or “Carder” or even, “von Harnstadt”
Snappy and authoritative. Instant obedience from a multitude of subordinates.
It is one of the main reasons why I never became a titan of industry or a private detective, you can’t say Alexander-Sinclair, Private Eye. It lacks snap.
That and the waiting around while peeing in an old Red Bull can (the detective, not the industrialist: although in certain boardrooms it may be de rigeur).
Gardening is quite dependent on names. Sometimes people complain that there is too much unnecessary Latin in the world. There isn’t but, even if there was, it is one of the few places left where Latin is actually useful (although my father talked Latin to taxi-drivers in Rome and they seemed to get him to the right destination). I can see that I would (deservedly) be prodded with sharp sticks were I to start pontificating about Bellis perennis rather than a Daisies. But there is emotion and poetry in Latin names while English equivalents (quite aside from occasionally being grossly misleading) seem a bit, well, doughy.
Not always, but sometimes.
I prefer Nettle to Urtica dioica – which sounds like a fungal infection.
But I love the sound of Verbascum bombyciferum, Zauschneria californica, Pittosporum or Sanguisorba canadensis.
I could go on but will restrain myself and thus earn your undying gratitude.
August is usually a somewhat torpid month – I may well have written on the subject last year – but not this time. This is because, just beneath the surface, things are roiling. I have mentioned “the thing” before but it is now becoming reality. After many months of quite hard work.
My next blog will be very soon and will bear news of great moment and significance. Kindly wait patiently with polished shoes and neatly brushed hair.
The photograph is of some of Cleve West’s dangling raspberries.
I am listening to Over The Border by Saint Etienne.