Monday 28 December 2020

The Year of Ferrero Rochering Dangerously

 Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2020 Coven Awards!  We hope you've all been to the loo and got yourself a drink and some snacks, as this does go on a bit.
 I'll say.  I've worn my fingers down to mere nubbins with all the keyboard clacking I've had to do to prepare all this!
 Oh, stop complaining.  You love it really.
 Well, it does keep me from getting bored, I suppose.
Let's hope the same can be said for the poor Blogorati that have to wade through this
miasma of muddled memories and self indulgent claptrap!
 I say!
 Shall we get on with it before this devolves into unrecoverable unpleasantness, hmm?
 Hmmph! As long as you can keep your SubC under control.
 Fine.  Carry on.
 Right.  Here we go: Well, this hasn't been the best year, has it?  However, we're not going to dwell upon the bad as amongst all the toothache, shingles, and Mondays, there were fuchsias, Freakin' Green Elf Shorts (sort of), and Ferrero Rocher!
Queen Armadillo Ferrero Rocher Ambassador
Despite appearances (you know, if you squint a lot and have had a gin or twelve...)
This is, in fact, a decoy.  Ms Scarlet is cunningly disguised as the youthful,
rather vertically challenged Ambassador's handmaiden, second from right.
(One of the other two at the back might be Charmaine...)

Saturday 26 December 2020

Uh, oh...

I'm just dealing with... something.

Back soon.  I hope... 

P.S. I hope you all managed to enjoy part, if not all, of your day yesterday, and are continuing to do so today?  I shall be visiting your blogs as soon as I trap these little nylon nasties, and round up the others!

Thursday 17 December 2020

Of Baubles and Blog Parties

 As I said to Mistress Maddie on Monday:

I don't have a tree (haven't in years), but I love all your baubles and such.  And you know what?  You have inspired me.  So much so that tomorrow I'm going to the garden centre next door to buy some of the baubles that I've coveted for the last two or three years.
I'm going to find a nice bowl or somesuch and display them with the pine cones that I collected last month.

 Well, I got some, and here is my first effort at displaying them.  This is The Mother's dresser (and the Christmas cake that she made), now complete with be-pineconed & baubled cake stands.

 The pine cones have been in the house for a week or so now, and only a couple of them have opened up.  I'm hoping that now they're subjected to the intense furnace-like temperatures The Father keeps the house, they'll open before the winter solstice.

Sunday 13 December 2020

Sunrise 13

 When I woke up this morning, I was delighted to discover that colour had returned to the world!  Yes, for the first time in what feels like months - although, at most it's only been about three weeks - the morning murk and oppressive, cloudy gloom had buggered off somewhere else leaving the sun to light up the sky.

 Scarcely able to believe my eyes - and after only a modicum of dithering - I decided to forgo my first-thing-in-the-morning coffee and pop down to the seafront to take some photos.  And here they are:




Thursday 10 December 2020

Overheard and Wonky Words

 I think my old Back Passage has been on display for long enough, but as I don't have anything prepared to succeed it, I thought I'd share something overheard along with some wonky words.

 First, the wonky words: The effervescent Ms Scarlet is hosting the "Did I Win Yet?" Award/Quiz/Competition/Event thingy after she won the said award back in January, here.  As well as a quiz bit - consisting of as many as two (!!) questions about our dear, departed blog friend LẌ - Ms Scarlet has come up with an inspired creative bit in which one must write out a favourite quote and photograph it on a chair! 
 After much roiling and churning of ideas in my overexcited mind, I have settled on a quote, and begun writing it out in an attempt to decide how best to display it.  Here is a little teaser of one of the ideas:


 Now, on to the overheard.  As I walked down to the beach this morning (for a walk into Cromer), I passed a house undergoing some building work.  From the open front door came a trio of male voices ranging - in order of appearance - from exasperated, to fed up, and finally cheeky:

Thursday 3 December 2020

That Old Back Passage Called Love

 Madam Arcati's latest Delargo Gardens post once again had me reminiscing about the tight, jungly confines of my own Back Passage when I lived in Norwich twenty-odd years ago.  So much so, in fact, that I found myself trawling through reams of old pictures on a USB stick trying to find some photos.

 Well, I did find some, and rather than let all that time and effort go to waste, I thought I'd pop a selection of them up here (because I have nothing else prepared or even remotely ready in draft).  I also searched through my dusty old blog crypt for ancient posts that featured the original Castle DeVice's tiny garden.  Although I lived in Castle DeVice from the back half of 1998 to early 2009, I can only find photos from 2006 onwards (I think that this must have been the time I discovered digital photography)...

 While you explore my back passage, why not listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing about it (she misheard "Back Passage" as "Black Magic", but she is getting on a bit...):

Note: I spent ages getting all the photos in date order, from August 2006 to December 2008.  Then, as soon as I viewed them all together, I realised that they'd look better in month/season order to show the progression of growth, so that's how I've displayed them here.

Late April (2008) - Left: Halfway down my back passage and nearing my back door, an avocado tree (grown from a pit), arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), various ferns, a hanging basket in need of a good sort out, and some bamboo.  
Middle: Just inside the entrance to my back passage are a couple of New Zealand flaxes (Phormium somesuch), heuchera, a tufty old bit of blue-green grass, and some daffs.  
Right: The paysho - or staging area to my back passage - repleat with a potted box (Buxus), rose, bluebells, geranium, daffs, scylla, and violas.

Sunday 29 November 2020

"It looks like she spontaneously combusted at the muff!"*

 After the "success" of my last repeat post, I thought I'd give it another go with these two - yes, two! - re-runs from 2007 and 2010 respectively (these were the ones I was going to do before Beast and Tim stole the show).  I think they're quite appropriate for the circumstances that we find ourselves in, as they illustrate why one should keep one's distance from others as one never knows what may happen...


I only tapped her on the shoulder to ask if she wanted a coffee and she spontaneously combusted.

She could've just said 'No, thanks'.

Silly cow always has to be centre of attention...


* I loved Piggy (mayherestinpeace) & Tazzy's comment on the original post so much that I thought I'd use the first part of it as this post's title.


and: The Gunpowder Plop

She said she was bursting for the loo.
I didn't realise she meant it literally until she exploded.

I told her that smuggling gunpowder would be her undoing.


 And there you have it for another day.  And another month - See you in December!
 Although, after this month's flurry of activity (November hasn't been this productive since 2007!), don't expect much to be going on next month - two or three posts at a push, I should think?  Especially as I shall be working almost non-stop on the Coven Awards - the panic that the end of the year will soon be upon is is beginning to set in...

Friday 27 November 2020

November Day Drift catch up, Part 2

Sunday, 22nd November

 Last Sunday I walked to Frogshall to collect some pine cones to make Winterval decorations and such (they're still in a box in the garage...).  On the way there I admired the moss, lichen and fungus adorned trees (as seen below, and here), but on the way back, just as I reached Overstrand, I took a slight detour (only a hundred yards or so) and found a small, man-made lake (well, a big pond, really - see above).  

 Despite having lived here for most of my life, I had no idea it existed.  I knew there was a reservoir a bit further along which I also hadn't seen before - although I have now (scroll down to Wednesday) - but this was a big surprise!

 Have any of you come across anything surprising while you've been wandering about your respective neighbouthoods/necks-of-the-woods/extensive grounds?

Thursday 26 November 2020

November Day Drift catch up, Part 1

 The end of the month is almost upon us, and I find myself playing catch-up with all the photos I've taken in November.  It doesn't help that I keep taking more every time I go out and get my daily exercise, hence this post (and the next one).  However, rather than bore you with the same old scenes that you've seen a thousand times before, in each post will be photos of something new!

Sunday, 8th November

 I discovered a flying saucer construction zone while on my last walk along the cliff top to Sidestrand.  The two on the right are clearly in the first stages of development, while the one below looks like its nearing completion.  Then the two below that are ready and primed for take off!

Tuesday 24 November 2020

There's Nothing On But Repeats

 As Ms Scarlet seems to have much success with repeats of old blog posts, I thought I'd give it a go, too.  I had found a couple of rather old, explosive posts, but the return of Beast and Tim brought something else to mind: a trip over the Cusp starring none other than the two Blogorati of yore:

(first seen nearly ten years ago for Beast's birthday)

 It didn't take long for the blood to stop rushing to his brain and the almost overwhelming nausea and vertigo to fade.  As the gold and blue fireworks cleared and his vision returned, he noticed the vast expanse of reeds around him and a distant mansion at the end of a sweeping gravel driveway.
 There were voices, too, in mid-conversation:
 "Of course, I wouldn't know a snowy egret if I were pissing on one. Lunch?"
 "I think it's a little late in the season."
 "For lunch?"
 "No, pissing on birds."
 There was a pause which was when he realised that the two, very familiar, conversationalists were staring at him.  Quickly taking in his surroundings, adding two and two together and resignedly coming up with four, he despaired and his shoulders fell.
  Oh, no, Beast thought to himself.  Oh, please no.   Outwardly, he sighed at the realisation that he'd been dragged over the Cusp again without so much as a by your leave.  It was his bloody day off from Cafe C and here he was, over the bloody Cusp in bloody Eastwick, dressed as bloody Fidel to do the bloody bidding of Tim bloody 'Van Horne' and 'Alexandra' bloody DeVice.  Plus the rest of the bloody Coven, no doubt.  If he'd surmised correctly, they were at the point in the story where Van Horne had invited Alex for lunch - read: banquet - which he, as Fidel, was to prepare.  BloodyHell.
 And to make matters worse, this was yet another non-speaking part.  And on his birthday too!
 By this time, the stares had turned into baleful gimlet glares with no small amount of contempt evident.  Nodding submissively at Tim's unspoken order for an elaborate lunch with which to woo IDV, Beast's shoulders slumped even more as he trudged off towards the mansion kitchens.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Mooning over a Sunrise

 Now that my caption catastrophe has been cromulently combobulated with credit to your collaboration, here is the second set of morning photos from the first week of November:

 Another sunrise from Wednesday 4th (not that there were two sunrises on Wednesday - that would be most peculiar - just another set of sunrise photos in addition to those in the previous post)

Beach huts for Maddie

Sunrise from the prom

Thursday 19 November 2020

More of Dawn's Crack

 While the 10th Anniversary Infomaniac Garden Photos Event was underway, and to wake myself up for a day in front of the work laptop, I went out and about just after the crack of dawn again.  Well, I needed to have something not too taxing in the bag for when the event was over...

 So, here is the first batch of some of the many, many photos I took in the last couple of weeks:

Monday, 2nd November:

From the cliff top looking east
On the prom near the beach huts

Sunday 15 November 2020

A Flurry of Finches

 I'd just gone into the kitchen to make a coffee, when a flurry of activity on the bird table caught me eye: An invasion of goldfinches!
(Not to be confused with their North American counterpart)

 Amongst these red-masked, gold-winged little birds were a handful of their cousins: greenfinches and chaffinches (although these larger finches were seriously outnumbered).

Countering all the gold is a juvenile or female greenfinch

Friday 13 November 2020

GPE #11 : IDV Brings Up The Rear

 Welcome to the eleventh and final garden of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event

And the garden is mine!

 But before we get going, I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent in some sort of greenfingered or thumbed photos - you made this year's Garden Photos Event a success!  And thank you also to all those who stopped by to take a virtual wander through these globe-spanning gardens - and extra special thanks if you left a comment or two.  Finally, an especially big thank you to The Very Mistress, for without her there would not be a Garden Photos Event, and also for allowing me to be the first Infomaniac Bitch to host this prestigious event.

 Right.  That's the niceties out of the way, the gates to Hexenhäusli Device's garden are open!


We begin with the main garden and a selection of photos from spring and summer:

April: Other than the daffodils (and my big cock pheasant), there's not a lot going on

May: White tulips and the red greenhouse

July: Upon entering the garden from the gate, one is accosted by a dwarf buddleia that didn't get the memo about being a dwarf.

Thursday 12 November 2020

GPE #8-10 : 'Petra, Scarlet & Savvy star in Murk, Mud, and Muddlement

 Welcome to the eighth, ninth, and tenth "gardens" of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event

 Today's trifecta of triffidery shows that it's not all about the outdoors - after all, amongst other hazards,  it's muddy out there!  These indoor offerings come from 'Petra in Denmark, Ms Scarlet in Devon, and Savvy in California.

 First on the itinerary is the rather slack fair-weather blogger CyberPete - AKA 'Petra - with a 'Creatures and Cut Flowers' display.  Oh, and a promise to blog more often.  I wouldn't get your hopes up, though...


I realise I shouldn’t promise things I can’t keep but I will promise to blog more frequent than up until now. This highly unreliable guest star walk on business isn’t cute. It’s not working for Dame Joan Collins and it’s not working for me. 

 I do however present to you my second floor indoor garden complete with stray animals. You decide if they’re terrifying triffidery or otherwise.

[You can read 'Petra's post where this photo first appeared here - IDV]

[The state of those roses truly is terrifying. I am shocked - SHOCKED - I tell you! Just look at the state of them.  That water is murky enough to put Devon out of business.  And I bet it stinks, too.  I'm surprised at you, 'Petra. - IDV]


 Now, across the North Sea (and much of England) to Devon and Ms Scarlet:

Tuesday 10 November 2020

GPE #6 & 7 : Peenee & Norma vs the Church of the Holy Crackpot

Welcome to the sixth and seventh "gardens" of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event

 Not for these two stalwart Infomaniac Bitches, Peenee and Norma, the delicate intricacies of beautiful little garden flowers.  No, these two size queens have something far more massive in mind: Trees!

 Our first stop is the streets of San Francisco, and the trees outside Peenee's place:


Since I sold my house and garden, I no longer have the lock on winning the garden crown (again) [Once again, the Management would like to remind you that the Garden Photos Event is NOT a competition - IDV] 

 The closest thing to any greenery I have are the miserable sycamore trees in front of my apartment building. Fifteen of them and every one more pitiable than the last. The city scheduled a hearing on removing them in August and then reconvened it for this month because of Covid. You'd think no one could possibly argue against cutting down trees that have no possible function except to turn into wooden shrapnel during one of our winter storms, but this is San Francisco. Someone will probably claim they're sacred to their Church of the Holy Crackpot or something.


Monday 9 November 2020

GPE #5 : Mitzi Goes Topless!*

* Well, her lānai does, anyway...

Welcome to the fifth garden of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event

  After being teased with litle snippets from Mitzi about her new patio paysho lānai which has been painstakingly constructed at her new home, the Infomaniac Garden Photos Event is thrilled to bring you the first exclusive pictures of this wonder of paving and trellis!

 Although, in a storyline seemingly lifted from a certain defunct British soap opera, Mitzi first had to deal with the property's sitting tenants...


The previous owners had their parents ashes buried here. 


Saturday 7 November 2020

GPE #4 : Dinahmow's Down Under Jungle

Welcome to the fourth garden of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event 

 We have journeyed to the southern hemisphere to take in the exotic delights of Dinahmow's garden on the east coast of Queensland, Australia where Dinah can often be found "wafting about the yard in my Morrissy Florrissy gown.  Maybe in a sun bonnet with a cute little trug on my arm."*
 First on the agenda is Dinah's triffid, followed by a rant about bananas(?!), and then some choice specimens from her subtropical surroundings...


 You're welcome to use this, rusty chains an' all, in your triffid collection. I'll try for a photo showing the miniscule flowers. 

[IDV - I happened to mention that the little/normal leaves made me think it was some type of Hoya, and this is what Dinahmow came back with:] 

 Hoya-arghh! Bloody ants! I did have a Hoya, but ants totally wrecked it. I think there may have been one flower... 

 You do know they will NOT flower unless pot-bound? That said, mine should have romped away, but the ants were sheer hell. And I do not spray nasties so... 

 Now, about the Dischidia...I did snap a pic of the flowers; not easy with the wind going bananas on the Beaufort scale. Oh! Bananas... that's another thing! I may come back to England ... where bananas are not a problem! The ones we have in this garden are commonly known as "lady fingers" and I'm not sure why; I'd say they are more like short, fat, man fingers. Anyway, this is the only variety allowed for back yard gardens. The Cavendish, grown commercially, is far superior. But the Man actually LIKES these horrid things! Fine, he can eat them with his breakfast fruit. But any banana plant is horror in a small yard.

 Here's the teeny weeny flower approx .5cm of the Dischidia pectinoides. You can see some of the seed pods (My chap calls them turtle shells) beginning to form.

[Clockwise from top left:] 
1. Dischidia pectinoides  
2. Dwarf heliconia (crab claw) 
3. Tacca (bat plant) 
4. Zyzgium wilsonii - renamed by Jon "Drag Queen"  

Thursday 5 November 2020

GPE #3 : Pam Demic Gets A Prick (or several...)

Welcome to the third garden of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event 

 Maddie, the Mistress Borghese - and her alter ego, Pam Demic - have stepped up with a wonderful floral display for this, the third of 2020's Garden Photo Event installments.  I'll just hand you over to her now... 


First off, for the tour and in a time of COVID-19 I didn't know if I should come veiled and gloved.  I don't go anywhere these days without my veil.


Since I have but a little pied-à-terre, with no outside garden, I sent some beauties from my aunt's garden, with her glorious roses. I'm not sure the variety, but I do know when helping her prune, I have gotten pricked numerous times, and I'm not one to complain over a small prick, but these are wickedly prickly.... but, oh so bushy, fragrant and full. Here in October, they are still going strong with tons of bloom.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

GPE #2 : Exploring Jon's Back Passage

Welcome to the second garden of the

10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event 

 Today we find ourselves in the delightful surroundings of the Extensive Grounds of Delores Delargo Towers in North London, as attended to by Jon and Madam Arcati.  So, without further ado, I'll hand you over to Jon so he can guide you through his lush and verdant back passage...  Remember to click the pics to engorge!


Spring came quite early to the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers this year and was awash with colour, given the mild winter and the lovely sunny spells that greeted the beginning of lockdown - and at least being at home every day meant we could enjoy it! Crocus, hyacinths, cyclamen, anemones, chionodoxa, dwarf iris, ipheon, fritillaria, snowdrops, (and later) tulips, aquilegia and bluebells all thrived beautifully.


Sunday 1 November 2020

The Very Mistress's 10th Annual Lady Garden Presentation*

Oops!  I mean:

Infomaniac Garden Photos Event

is now open!

 First, a little history of this auspicious event: Back in 2011, everyone's favourite Lazy Baggage (thank you, Beast), The Very Mistress (then known as MJ), decided that she couldn't be bothered to make any further effort on her blog, and swanned off to Montreal to get away from it all.  Just before she left, she tasked her Infomaniac Bitches to send in photos of their gardens or other greenery that she could display upon her return, probably thinking that there'd be two or three photos that she could just paste into a blog post, add a couple of captions, and publish while she collapsed with a Jameson's or twelve.  

Little did she know how popular this would be, however, and returned to garden photos from 21 of her faithful Bitches.  With what I imagine to be an enormous sigh, an over-dramatic eyeroll, and no small amount of swearing/drinking, The Very Mistress got to work collating the photos and organising them into a tasteful (ahem) display for her Bitches' voyeuristic enjoyment, and the first Infomaniac Garden Photos Event was born!

 With the event a resounding success, The Very Mistress brought it back the next year, and the year after that, and every following year.  And now, ten years later and true to form, the Lazy Baggage The Very Mistress gracefully demured from hosting the Garden Photos Event herself and palmed it off bestowed it with great honour upon her throng of gullible suckers attendant Bitches.  

 Which is why, in this tenth anniversary year, you find the Infomaniac Garden Photos Event being held here at Inexplicable DeVice rather than at Infomaniac.


Saturday 31 October 2020

Terrifying Triffidery: An Infomaniac Garden Photos Event attraction

Yes, it's time for some Terrifying Triffidery!
 Welcome to the show!  I hope you weren't blinded by the sun in the previous post otherwise these Triffids will find you easy prey.  I advise observing the triffids in groups of two or three - do not go it alone - and keep well back (you should all be used to social distancing by now, anyway).

 If you make it out alive, I wonder if you can guess the real world plants that these monstrous specimens sprang from?  And which of you lovely Blogorati sent them in?  Please note (and I must channel The Very Mistress here): "The Management reminds you that the Garden Photos Event is NOT a contest", so I shan't be keeping score, and there shall be no points or prizes - this is just for a bit of fun. 
 The plants and their keepers will be revealed in the main event in a couple of days time.
 As with one or two things in life, giving the images a poke or prod will see them engorge in size (well, most of them, anyway...).  Don't poke them too much, mind - you're liable to lose your arm!

First up, this truly terrifying Triffid
(which was so scary that I used it for the header image):

Thursday 29 October 2020

Crack of Dawn

 Since the clocks were put back, I have found myself up just before the crack of dawn - a horrifying experience some might say (and I'm sure dawn wasn't too thrilled, either...) - but the last four days have yielded some fine early morning images. (Not this morning though, as it's my day off, so I languished in bed until nearly 7:00am!)
 So, before we dive headlong into the 10th Anniversary  I N F O M A N I A C  Garden Photos Event - which starts on Saturday 31st with the Terrifying Triffidery preview attraction - the Host thought he'd dump this load of early morning photographs for you to peruse and note how similar many of them are despite having whittled them down enormously to much wailing and gnashing of teeth (he finds making these sorts of unimportant-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things decisions rather fraught).

 Shut up.  Let's get on with it then, shall we?

First up is a small, rather dull selection from Sunday 25th starting with a zoomed-in shot of the groynes at Trimingham

Another zoomed shot (although, less so) of Overstrand's groynes, including the End-of-the-Line and Sidestrand beyond (Trimingham on the horizon)

Sunday 25 October 2020

Infomaniac Garden Photos Event - Final Reminder

Last orders for:
 Terrifying Triffidery*, a House of  INFOMANIAC  Garden Photos Event Attraction, is opening on Saturday 31st October, so if you'd like a particular beastly botanical or array of ghastly greenery to be featured, please submit your photo/s to me by Wednesday night, 28th October (my email address is in my Blogger Profile - just click on the right there in my Sideboard).

 For those of you who are still dilly-dallying over your non-scary submissions for the Garden Photos Event proper, you have an extra few days from the 28th to email them in (as I already have a handful of entries that will cover the first week or so of November).  If you need any extra time, let me know in the comments and I'll see if I can juggle things around to fit your garden photos in towards the end of the event.

* The Terrifying Triffidery Exhibit will be a place to show off your horticultural horrors or otherwise ordinary plants that have been photographed from odd angles/close up/while drunk which make them look out of this world. So, get inventive/within-2-metres/drinking and get that camera out!

Friday 23 October 2020

Drunken Shags with Wonky Groynes

 It's that time of year again...

 Many happy returns to Dinahmow today! And to Mistress Maddie and Rimpy* on Sunday!

 Oh, and what else?  Ah, yes, apart from being Hallowe'en, the 31st is also the beginning of the House of Infomaniac's 10th Anniversary Garden Photos Event!  And, remember, this prestigious event is being held here rather than at The Very Mistress's this year, so you'll need to email your green-fingered photos - including any Terrifying Triffidery you may have happened to snap - to me (email address in my Blogger Profile) by Wednesday 28th October.  Mark it on your calendars!

* Sorry Rimpy, the calendar had already been printed by the time I discovered that you had an October birthday, too.