Adverse Conditions (Freddie, Part 1)

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CC Image courtesy of Erik Mallinson on FlickrI’m really bored at work.  ‘Talking to the plant’ kind of bored.  The kind of bored which makes you do things which you know are a bad idea, but, because they provide momentary relief from the boredom, you do them anyway.  Like texting Sam and suggesting he discreetly asks Freddie what he thinks of me, at a party they’re going to that evening.  Half an hour later, following consultation with plant, I realise this is a stupid idea, and send a follow-up text saying not to bother.

The next day, I hear from Sam.

‘Did try.  Think I aroused his suspicions though.’

That’ll teach me – except it won’t.

I request details.  Nothing.  Eventually he replies:

‘Just asked which of our mutual acquaintance he fancied.’

‘That’s not a bad approach – well done!  Why do you think you aroused his suspicions?’

There’s clearly more to it.

‘He didn’t answer immediately so I asked if it was you.’


‘He was cagey but not adverse.  I hope I haven’t panicked you.’

‘No, don’t worry,’ I say. What is panicking me is that you’ve used ‘adverse’, when I think ‘averse’ is the more appropriate word.’ 

It’s a miracle I have friends.

‘You’re right,’ he says, ‘meant averse.  You coming this eve?’

Freddie will be there.

‘Yep, see you later!’

I’m not panicking.

CC Image courtesy of litherland on Flickr

Spring Has Sprung!

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Exciting news!

For the first time in my life, a houseplant under my care has borne FLOWERS.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit A


And now for the close-up…

The close-up


My book, ‘Orchid and the Art of Neglect’, will be out in the autumn.  An excerpt:

If you are too hot on the coldest night of the year, open your bedroom window.  Who knows, your orchid might also enjoy a cooling breeze? [….]  It is important to stay hydrated, so keep a glass of water by your bed.  Should you find it collecting dust, decant onto orchid.  This is called watering.

The danger now is that I will start looking after it.


The Drive of My Life?

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CC Image courtesy of Rosa Say on Flickr(Continued from Change of Heart)

Olly makes space for me on the bench.  In the middle of the table are a sad-looking succulent and a pepper mill.

‘That’s not a happy plant,’ I say.  It must have seen me coming.  ‘Maybe it needs pepper?’

He glances at the pepper mill.  ‘Do you know who makes the best pepper mills?’

‘No – who?’

‘Peugeot,’ he says.

‘As in –

‘The car manufacturers, yep.’  He picks up the mill and turns it over.  Engraved on the base is the word ‘PEUGEOT’.  He grinds some pepper onto his hand and shows it to me, before sprinkling it over the plant.

I smile.  ‘I’ll have to come back next week and see how it’s doing.’

There’s a pause.

‘When is there dancing again?’ he asks.

I list some dates, none of which he can make.

‘You see,’ he says, ‘I’m not based in London, I live in Edinburgh.’

Long distance works.

‘Why Edinburgh?’

He tells me all about his job, by the end of which we are both thoroughly bored.  There’s another, longer pause.

‘What do you do?’ he asks.

I keep it brief.  He starts listening to the conversation happening to my left.  I find an excuse to leave.

CC Image courtesy of IanL on Flickr

My Funny Valentine

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My New Year’s Resolutions opened with:

1.    Be more tolerant.

2.    Never make the first move on a guy.

3.    Only eat when hungry.

#1 and #3 were obviously never going to happen.  As for #2, there’s been the occasional lapse in the form of a friendly text message: Valentine’s Day, last Sunday….  I attribute these moments of weakness to a combination of lack of mail, and my desire for one irresistibly funny male.

Had he been less witty, I might have focused more of my efforts on #16, and my houseplant might still be with us.


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The Most Important Question in the World

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Saturday, midday.  Vibrating phone.  It’s a text from the guy I met Tuesday night, the guy I really like but had (almost) given up on.  I am now faced with The Most Important Question in the World: how long to wait before replying?  More than an hour, obviously.  I’m a busy girl, with a houseplant to water, rinse aid to buy….  I’ll draft something now and let it rest.

By 2pm I have put the question to three friends.  Google tells me the average female response time is 1 hour 19 minutes.  Huh?

Three hours and an increasingly crowded draft folder later, I’m sitting on my hands.  At 3.30 I crack.  Send.

Sunday evening.  The houseplant is showing signs of root rot.  Its owner is also in a bad way.

He did reply of course.  28 Hours Later.  Is that his idea of a joke?


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