How many gentle flowers grow In an English country garden? I’ll tell you now of some I know And those I’ll miss I hope you’ll pardon Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox Meadowsweet and lilly stalks Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots In an English country garden.
Nana Mouskouri, remember her singing this?
Globally speaking the biggest selling female artist of all time. As a multi linguist she sold all over Europe, America and Asia. Quite surreal to think of this young woman from Crete singing about native English flowers and gardens.
This garden is in Cheshire. Very close to home. The Dower house to a big estate, and open annually for charity. I love it here. An oasis of tranquility, adjacent to a beautiful boating lake swamped in yellow lillies, and overlooking a village green opposite a cluster of ancient cottages reserved for estate workers.
The garden to be absolutely frank, isn’t the most cultivated or colourful or groomed, but I like it for those reasons. The English love a good nosey, and here is the perfect excuse, pay a couple of pounds, wander round the borders and the arboretum, and pretend, just for a short while that you are Lady of The Manor, about to disappear indoors to prepare for dinner, you’ve maybe been out earlier with your trug, collecting rose blooms for the table, not it’s time to break out the pearls and enjoy a glass of chilled champagne in a crystal coupe.
George Orwell wasn’t a fan.
Of dying metaphors, that is, I’m not sure whether he was a fan of windmills or not.
What’s not to like?
Windmills are wonderful. Literally.
It is an awesome thing to watch wind captured, to witness invisible swirls and draughts caught by, embraced by huge lumbering sails.
That great gigantic beehive coaxed into action by gusts of breeze and bluster.
Not just the wheat or barley adding grist, but the wind itself.
Without wind – grist grinds to a halt.
Which is what Orwell would have preferred:
‘Dying metaphors … a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgels for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill…’
What dying metaphor would you add to his list?
Or have you invented your very own cliche?
My donation is not a metaphor, nor a cliche.
But it is the most overused/misused word in the history of words. And that is:
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
Hour upon hour he gnaws
The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones! ‘
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.
And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollos long and loud.
But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.