squirrel with umbrella


Ever since I was invited to try out Microsoft’s spanking new system and duly installed a free copy of Windows 10 in a ten -hour upgrade from Windows 8, this old computer deck has been acting like that spread-eagled supermarket child , alternately holding its breath until near- perdition and and then exhaling in a howling anguished rage for sweets, as its distracted mother looks sheepishly away.
So it is, that I just typed up the very best thing I have ever conceived of , fairly reeking of eloquent turns of phrase and descriptive colour, staggering conceits of clarity about the world, its place in the universe and the ultimate solution to every outstanding problem in the known world and Norneverland in particular;that covered every crooked and twisted conniption and corruption ever devised, by every debased and degenerate mindset ever conceived and wrangled over for this past one thousand years of dissatisfaction here. I had that egg cracked, cooked and the omelette seasoned and peppered……….but when I tried to save the page it was swallowed up into a whirlpool of static and dissipated in shards and shreds throughout the innards of this infernal machine ,to be lost to the cosmic chaos forever.
It’s all gone …..
So you are left with this instead.
I was down at the bottom of the garden checking on my honeybees to make sure all the hive structures had survived the recent storm. I’ve no idea if the honeybees themselves have survived because they certainly got the hint that wintertime has finally arrived when that recent gale cannoned through and I’m loathe to disturb their serenity by lifting the roofs and allowing all that heat and energy escape .There’s also been a lot of heavy rain with much flooding, but thankfully we are up high here on one of the hills surrounding the city and I’ve built all the hives on platforms off the ground, in any case. It allows better air-circulation and keeps their feet out of water, snow and frost too. It’s as much as anyone can do to help them . There are a few bricks placed on the roofs for a little extra bracing but the bees will have glued the remainder of the hive boxes together with propolis which they’ll have gathered from the tree sap, so there’s little else to do and it’s not fair to mess around with their handiwork in the heart of winter. . I’ll not bother them until the spring comes and hopefully they’ll survive, as their ancestors have done, without my help, for some billions of years.The drones have long since been kicked out by the females as the remaining stores are conserved for the remaining bees who are prepared to do some work, unlike these now useless procreators. Helpless outside the hive, those drones will have died quickly. Nature can be cruel in its ordinary , pragmatic method . It is the natural way of things. I hope the five surviving hives make it through ,in any case. If they do , I’ll steal a little of that Springtime honey when I’m sure of new stores arriving.I’ve closed down the remaining half dozen or so empty hives to keep wasps and mice from setting up home in them. Maybe now, as the five colonies cluster around their queens, it’ll be safe enough to tidy up that corner of my garden .
The wife loves a jar of the honey but she also loves neatness everywhere ,near to the point of OCD and sometimes my “apiary” doesn’t qualify for “Neat Freak of the Week” awards. The bees don’t like it too tidy in any case and have no problem chasing away anyone with a hedge -trimmer or a lawnmower who dares to break or upset their ordered but essentially messy, tranquility.They do not really appreciate a bit of weeding. That’s why I separated it all from the rest of the garden with a trellis, last year.Wintertime is when that little oasis of calm gets a little more attention and tender care than they would otherwise approve .
There’s weeding to do….
It’s strange how the mind works .We were walking by the river recently quizzing where all the squirrels might have gone. I was thinking it was getting into the “disappearing frogs” territory. I haven’t seen many of them either in these last years . We usually see at least half a dozen squirrels scampering about, even late into the year ,but there seems to be a dearth of the little rodents interupting our usual ramble, these past days.Would someone have poisoned them, or have whole families simply died away? , we queried in conversation. At that moment , as if our thoughts were being read for answers, there was a crashing sound across the river and I looked up to see the fattest squirrel I have ever seen, come crashing down through the branches to land in an indecorous grey heap on the riverbank, too close to the water for comfort , shake itself down and scamper away while the rotten, storm-tossed branch ,he’d attemped to negotiate in all his chubby glory , fell after him to the water with a loud splash and floated away.He’d narrowly missed a dip in the cold waters and I found myself wondering if squirrels could actually swim . It’s the way my mind operates.” Is it any wonder?”…. I murmured . “Look at the size of him . Maybe that’s why there are so few about …..he ‘s eaten all the others!!”
I thought an umbrella might be a handy thing to carry in these circumstances .It was quite possible that I could be wearing one of these fat, furry little creatures , as a hat ,sometime soon.
That naturally led on to a conversation as to the origins of the modern umbrella and why it was ever named thus. They were developed in China by the same kind of creative fellows who figured out how to make paper and gunpowder , while the rest of us were busily being “barbarians” ,but the word has some Latin and Greek connotations too …The word “umbrella” evolved from the Latin “umbella” , meaning a rounded shape like a flower and umbra, derives from the Ancient Greek “ombros” which means shade . I just have to know these things, so I looked it up immediately.I might have known there was a Latin or Greek root to it all. We’ll not get into the detail of how we ended up with the huge golf umbrella, the parasol or the bumbershoot, because I have to get stuck into the corner this garden while daylight prevails and the rain is held in abeyance, and of course, leave saving the world and Norneverland for another day.
Maybe I’ll do that before the computer blows up.