I was just setting off for London the other afternoon with some friends when I sensed an odd, rustic burning smell near the front door. After inspecting the house, I concluded it was coming from outside and had probably wafted over from a nearby barbecue. So off we went – to a very pleasing dinner party.
But then, at 11pm, my mobile rang. It was my nextdoor neighbour.
‘Ian. There’s a fire. Smoke all over the garden. We’re not sure where it’s coming from, so we’re going into your house to check. And we’ve called 999. Is that OK?’
I said yes and then ran around panicking.
Ten minutes later – another call.
‘Don’t worry. Boll’s fine. It’s not your house. It’s your olive tree pot. We think your friends might have stubbed their cigarettes out in the soil and it must have caught fire and smouldered all afternoon. We’ve soaked it and put it out. The firemen were very helpful and inspected the pot to check it was out.’
When I got home, the house and garden smelled as if they’d been lightly grilled and Bollinger was wearing a slightly shocked expression. But my olive tree – Nana – seemed very philsophical and is absolutely fine.
The moral of the story – never let your friends stub their cigarettes out in your olive tree pot.
I’m cross with Nature. Last night, I decided to water the plants. And, as I was pootling with my watering can, something landed on my head. It was a poo.
I was somewhat taken aback as I couldn’t see any birds. But then I heard the distant twittering of swallows and realised there was a bunch of the little b*****s flying around about a mile up in the sky. They’d clearly taken great pains to aim directly at me. It was pure swallow malice.
I then retired to shampoo my head and …. it started raining, rendering my sprinklings completely pointless.
Nature hates me. I hate Nature.
Continuing Peacockshock’s occasional series of preposterously indirect namedrops – a former friend of mine worked with someone who has a family member who knows actor Ben Whishaw and has even met his cats.
Ben lives in these parts. He’s famous for Hamlet and various films and is now playing Sebastian Flyte in the forthcoming Brideshead movie, with its controversially revamped plot.
Another namedrop – I once interviewed Jeremy Irons, who was in the original 1981 TV Brideshead. He was much smaller than I’d expected.
I’m a big fan of Ant Smith’s photos.
Ant actually works for the BBC (surprisingly not as a photographer) and was on one of my Writing for Radio courses, where he took the photo below. Yes – one of my handouts is now immortalised in a work of art.
His photos often tell a story or pose a quirky question. He’s great at capturing and composing moments and spotting oddities. And he’s very imaginative with processing and colour.
I was also agreeably surprised to discover via Ant’s site that there are leopards in Welwyn (near Hertford)! They’re at the Santago Rare Leopard Sanctuary. Here are some of his antastic photos.
BBC Writing for Radio
I was in/on Primrose Hill yesterday. If you’re not familiar, it’s a posh residential area on a hill, where lots of celebs live, with a fabulous view over London.
I googled Primrose Hill afterwards for some photos and stumbled on a splendid website.
It features Cuddly Bear from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, who travels the world and makes sure he gets photographed wherever he goes.
Cuddly Bear on Primrose Hill