union jack tattered 1
A ton of golden gravel.

There it was sitting like some baleful monument, wrapped in its white bag waiting for the next move .I took delivery of it just before the rain came down . It’ll have to be barrowed and wheeled around the house to the bottom of the back garden. I’m sorting out a proper apiary for the honeybees ; an area where I don’t have to take a lawn mower near them . They don’t like that kind of annoyance and neither do I.It makes sense doesn’t it ? You wouldn’t want some noisy beggar upsetting the quietude of your working day either.

So there I am in November sorting things out as Winter’s creep slows things down. I put up a stout, decorative trellis on two sensible fenceposts to demarcate the two areas , covered the piece of lawn with a membrane to kill off the grass and topped it with stones. There you go girls ! That’s your very own patch…It’ll save me cutting all that extra grass around them too .No more swooping in quickly, hoping they won’t notice this noisy, smelly juggernaut romping through their households. They always notice of course and can chase with some persistance.It’s best to just get out of their way at times like that.Once they light up , they can be persistant to the point of death.it’s strange how that suiicidal tendency is built into their DNA.No honeybee escapes a stinging attack with its life intact.. The idea of the trellis is to act as a barrier and force them into higher elevation immediately , rather than zooming up the length of the lawn and colliding with some unsuspecting pilgrim, like me , their caretaker. They’ll have to rise up to six feet before taking to the skies.Hopefully well out of harm’s way.
Well, I finished wheeling that ton, before thinking of breakfast.The light mizzle turned into heavy rain as I sat down to my porrige. I like to make it with a half cup of oats , a cup of milk and a generous pinch of salt .Then three and a half minutes at full power in the microwave oven and serve it with some honey that I’ve stolen from the bees, and a light sprinkle of cinnamon and whatever fruit we’ve bought. Today it was some chunks of pineapple and a few blueberries.The garden fruit is gone long ago.;the strawberries, raspberries and the wild bramble blackberries. There ‘s nothing like shovelling and wheeling a ton of stones to improve the appetite, mind .
What to do on a day like this, though? The lady of the household dragged me out shopping.As we drove along the road with the rain hanging in the air like grey smoke, my mind conjured up a new game; counting the still -fluttering flags above our heads , on this wet hoary November day. I should say “counting the half-flags”. I’ve decided that there is obviously an Irish-Republican plot afoot to deplete each Union Flag by at least 50%. .I counted seven of these depleted flutterers rattling in the wind . It makes sense doesn’t it? If some loyal citizen is so keen and moved enough to climb all the way up and attach this glory of past empire to the top of a telephone pole , then it stands to reason that some counter -response might occur on a later dark night of the soul when, with revolutionary fervour ,poles were similarly re-climbed and scissors wielded to shorten at least half of the flutter power . Blows against the lost empire and all that….
Or maybe not.On the homeward journey , after meeting my daughter and indulging in some light recreational shopping{ I found a book that looked interesting} and a a little lunch,it occured to me that maybe the answer to the puzzle was much more vapid or trite . It was so obvious that it was much easier to put up a nice bright new flag in the balmy summer sunshine of July , but that pleasure did not stretch into the more inclement winter months when there was obviously no thrill in re-climbing that now much greasier pole. It was evidently much easier to simply allow the winds and gales of winter to slowly strip each red , white and blue thread and scatter it to the four compass points. That made much more sense and that was what I was actually seeing. A more organic approach. Like the autumn leaves Letting nature do the work….
.Some people are a wee bit too precious about such things as flags. Some might believe that they are symbolic of greatness and should be treated with a modicum of respect . Obviously not everyone has that mindset. They have seen the mundane truth and have come to a similar mundane conclusion…
In the end it’s only a piece of cloth and it could easily be replaced next year, when the current one has tattered back to the bone of the flagpole…..like the Autumn leaves leaving their parent tree and rollicking and rotting in the coming Winter wind.
Now back to that project…..


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