This is a leaf which just unfurled on a bird of paradise plant growing in the apartment in Auckland, not strictly Shoestring but fascinating appropriate for the New Year
On New Year's day Mr Shoestring and I had just struggled up Butler's Incline, a disused railway track from gold mining days which was now part of a walking path in the hills near Shoestring Cottage. We were with Senor and Senora Valentinos and as we lolled about in the sun swigging back water and eating our well earned fruit (pears, and do Cherry Ripe chocolates count as fruit?) Senora Valentinos idly asked me, "So, have you made your New Year's resolution?"
Now here is a question to cause apprehension to even the most stout hearted individual. Should one admit that no such thing has even been contemplated, thus appearing morally lax, or should one trot out a praiseworthy old chestnut? I was completely stumped and as I had just been thinking of the enjoyable time we had all had the night before watching old video clips from our glory days, I blurted out, "Yes, I'm going to be Simply Irresistible!" (In my mind this involved being extremely virtuous and responsible, and came under the "must try harder" category. It would mean that I would no longer pick fights with my brother in law, and I would of course not give everybody the benefit of my opinion whether asked for or not.)
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I regretted them - wildly ambitious, I could never achieve such a thing! "I mean, I am going to be Slightly Irresistible". Which, I would be the first to admit, is a ridiculous endeavour because there is no such thing as slightly irresistible, it is like being a bit pregnant or rather unique. (When others say this I almost froth at the mouth, it annoys me so much.) In fact you could interpret slightly irresistible in any way you liked, being slightly irresistible is like damning with faint praise, it might even mean Barely Tolerable.
After that we all had a good laugh planning a Slightly Irresistible New Year's Party for next year. We will have to rewrite the lyrics of the song and learn the dance moves (when we lined up and tried that gyrating motion which looks effortless we discovered ungainly pelvic thrusts are the end result for novices). When we send out the invitations people will be free to interpret it as they please, but the ladies will have to wear their little black dresses with big pink silk sashes, learn the lyrics and sing them, put on fierce 1980s makeup (including that "smokey eye" which looks like the wearer has lost control of her mascara wand and various other dark pigments), and attempt that deceptively difficult hip swiveling movement. It's always good to have something to work towards, after all. We may need a few rehearsals tough.
It was so good to have a few days at Shoestring and even after the gale force winds which I feared had flattened the lilies, some bravely survived with upright stems.
This one is taller than I am
Quite nice but not a wonderful scent
This one is taller than me, and has a beautiful scent which wafts in the windows at Shoestring - a definite winner
I had been anxiously conferring with my dear mama and the Duchess of Ringloes (who lives in Napier, aka TCOTU or The Centre Of The Universe) as to whether their Gloriosa Rothschildiana lilies had survived another season and appeared above the surface of the earth. I had reports that they were indeed prospering and sadly kept returning to the places where mine had been planted. Strangely the one which I bought in full flower and carted all the way back to Shoestring was sulking under the earth but eventually the bare corms which had been popped into less favoured spots came through and here is the first flower, I was so excited to see it that I startled some innocent passers by with a loud squeal. It seems to be paler than the one which came already potted, perhaps local conditions are to blame. Very beautiful though, all the same.
The hydrangeas aren't having a bumper season, I suspect it is something to do with the way I pruned them last autumn
But a lot of the other plants are settling and and enjoying a great season
The scented mandevillia has climbed into the plumb tree and is draping itself down again with a good crop of blossoms
Happy New Year to one and all, even if you have made ridiculously ambitious New Year's Resolutions in public!
And on that note, I must away to clean out the cupboard beneath the bathroom sink - I feel sure that is the sort of thing Slightly Irresistible people do all the time.