19 April 2010

Velvet rope

I am constantly surprised at the mania for celebrity watching, especially since my wife is now one of the people taken up with the hobby. She surfs the web for photos of her favourite stars at first night events and will soon, I fear, be one of the thousands on the wrong side of that velvet rope lenaing over for a better view of the star, their outfit and their latest squeeze. Wherever these so-called A list people appear there is an element of crowd control, whether it is by their own personal security staff or by using physical barriers. The props and stanchions denote the areas where the public are not welcome, and anyone crossing the line will be promptly ejected. Why they want to be treated this way is beyond me, but celebrity watchers are gluttons for punishment, I suppose.

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06 April 2010

Window boxes

The last time we went on a walking holiday we visited the Dolomites, where almost every house has a window box at every window, filled to overflowing with brightly coloured geraniums. They are all in peak condition, even though the summer is short in that part of the world. It is almost as if someone passed a law that made it compulsory to decorate the outside of your house with window boxes. The other thing that fascinated me was how they all managed to keep them in tip top condition all the time. Then, one day the weather changed and I discovered the secret - when it rains, each house has a set of covers for their garden window boxes. These consist of a long polythene cover with two rods to keep it steady. This just flips over the flowers and protects them from rain without resting on the blooms. Like all the best ideas, it is brilliant but simple.
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