Sunday, 24 January 2010

Petrified Pastry and Breeding Rock Opera

I love the Alps in winter. The Christmas card scenery is glorious (and the fact that, physically, skiing can take you from zero to hero in a week flat appeals as well). But despite floral spring joys to come, a metre of snow renders the place pretty sterile so it was a pleasure to drive back down into valleys clad in an opalescent mist, trees fresh with dusted ice and bearing dense clumps of mistletoe. And fascinating geology, strata of rock like puff pastry all folded and twisted, mistreated and left to petrify.

According to Terry Pratchett, any CD left in the car for long enough will eventually metamorphose into a Best of Queen compilation. While this was not strictly the case, as we approached northern France, after about 1300 miles, there was a definite rock anthem theme developing. In fact I think we have a small breeding population. Perhaps if we add Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, or similar, we might get an F1 generation that is rock opera without any need for Andrew Lloyd-Webber…

Returned to a cold-darkened garden. The leaves on the pyracantha and ivy are a dull black-green and there is not a berry left. The birds have raked through the borders and grass searching for food. I have no doubt the plants will bounce back, though, and the cold will hinder any overwintering pests not already eaten.

In the Feb 2010 issue of the Garden Design Journal, I write about award-winning blacksmith Melissa Cole, based near Hungerford. Her work is surprising, ethereal and funky - well worth a look.

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