Posted by: Valerie | April 18, 2011

The Travelling Banana

 “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour

Of which vertu engendred is the flour.”
G. Chaucer 14th c     (sorry – absolutely can’t get the line spacing sorted out here)

 Did you get that? The opening lines of the Prologue of  The Canterbury Tales, inflicted on many hapless schoolchildren in Britain and presumably other English-speaking parts. I was eleven when I was introduced to it in Middle English.  As you will be able to make out, GC was celebrating the month of April.

So was Bill, The Bard, 17th c, when he wrote:

 “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

T. S. Eliot, 20th c, took a less frivolous look at the  difficulties of spring and regeneration:

“April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land”


But I bet none of these prestigious poets ever imagined what we are experiencing right here right now, in Bancroft. Today has been truly atrocious weather-wise – even worse than yesterday! It has rained, it has snowed, it has blown, it has sunned in short snatches but mainly it has been sideways snow. So, to quote my last poet

“Oh, to be in England now that April’s here” Robert Browning 19th c

 I don’t know if it’s the weather that is the problem but the bird feeder outside our living-room window has been absolutely mobbed for the last few days. There have been literally hundreds  of birds in the surrounding trees , some diving swiftly at the feeder and immediately returning with their sunflower seeds to a nearby branch while their friends have a turn. Other birds like to take their time and consume their lunch at the counter. So far, in order of size we have had a woodpecker, a grackle, the ever-present bluejays, a pair of redwing blackbirds, a whole herd of evening grosbeaks, lovely little yellow finches, nuthatches, purple finches, juncos, chickadees and red-capped sparrows.

Our short visit to Huntsville at the beginning of last week was blessed with lovely weather. Susan and Peter, our hosts, run a B & B, Algonquin Moon, right next to Deerhurst Resort, and we can really only visit them when they don’t have guests.

View from Algonquin Moon

Their hospitality is really first-class and we were well fed, well wined and generally well-pampered. I guess it comes from four years experience. They do really enjoy it but four years of bed and breakfasting must be very tiring  and very tying too.  Peter and Susan deserve to take some of the offers of hospitality they have received over the years from happy guests from all over the world! Joe and I could spell them for a few weeks…

So what lies ahead? I had hoped to be raking the garden in the coming days but I guess that’s on hold. I am happy though that before the present dismal, dreary whiteness, I discovered that we have been spared a mole invasion this year. Little buggers can do so much damage under cover. Our Huntsville friends have discovered their lawn is quite ruined with molehills all over the place. Actually they look larger than molehills  – I wonder if groundhogs do that sort of damage.

Easter will pass us by this year as we’re not going anywhere and no-one is coming here so I will not be turkeying unless Joe insists. Turkey for two is a waste of effort.  I will have to get creative – within the bounds of what Bancroft can provide of course. I think we will splurge on a really good bottle of wine though.

My goodness, I have just realized that it’s the 17thof April. This is the day that I got married for the first time. 1965 – Easter Saturday – in the wee town of Peebles in the Scottish Borders. I was born there too, 21 years earlier. I have been back only once since that day even though I love the little town.  Better put it on the bucket list. I would go and visit some of my dead relatives and see what happened to the hotel my Granny ran on the blackmarket, all through the war. It was a teetotal hotel on account of my Papa’s predilection for binge drinking but Granny had no scruples about buying poached salmon and other consumables to feed her guests.

The Waverly Hotel

My Mum gave birth to me a decent interval after she was married and took me back to the Waverley Hotel as Dad was busy with the 8th Army in North Africa and I never met him until I was three. I’m told that I knew he was a soldier and whenever I saw one, I asked him if he was my Daddy. The responses are lost, I’m sorry to say.

The serious-minded part of me has been considering my options for the upcoming election and I have decided that I definitely cannot in all conscience vote for either of the two major parties, the NDP have put up a really pathetic effort in this riding, and there is neither a BQ or Green candidate  so I will follow Rosemary’s suggestion and vote “none of the above”! I know, I’m a left-wing tree-hugger. Always was.

 And now to explain about the travelling banana.  Or maybe not. It’s a catchy title, don’t you think?


  1. But it has to be NZ baby lamb chops cooked in rosemary and garlic, new potatoes and fresh green beans. Turkey?????

    • You’ve hit the nail on head, Pauline. I drool to think about it.

  2. I prefer lovely Black Forest Ham with eggs, mashed potatoes, and new peas.
    New peas? Hahahahaha. Not yet. They are just going in the ground now.
    The fields around are beautiful in their nakedness. They have been turned over and fertilized and because we had lots of snow and rain last fall to moistsen the earth, it was surprising to see the dust fly behind the cultivators.
    Our weather this spring has been cold and seldom above zero, but the sun shines today and there is a brisk wind to blow the neighbours leaves over here. They are swirling up to the roof which means I will have to have someone come and clean out the eavestroughs.
    I will have to look at the newspaper to see what day it is. I had a nap this afternoon and am disoriented.

    As for Easter. That is just another day here now for me. No bunny this year.

  3. I know where you can come and get some NZ lamb! :o)

    Autumn is kicking in over here, we have had southerly gales but luckily all my trees seem to have stayed up this time! The chickens are still diligently laying everyday. But no Easter Bunny in our house either. :o) No Shakespear or Chaucer either! :o)

    • Nice to hear from you, Sarah. Yes, I’m sure your lamb must be wonderful – or do they export it all and you have to pay top price? That happens so often.
      Enjoy your autumn. Spring used to be my favourite season when I lived in the UK but now it’s definitely autumn, as long as one doesn’t dwell upon what is coming next!

      • Since I wrote that we lost one of maple trees in a storm! My remaining maples are going through a stunning colour change. Just beautiful.

        Umm, actually, I don’t eat red meat anymore! There is a company that I’ve seen on telly that promotes their lamb as export quality so previously I’m sure we got all the rejects!!

  4. Okay, I’ll bite. What about the banana?

    Funny about your asking every soldier if he was your dad. 🙂

    I’m also not sure how to vote. We need better candidates, never mind what party they represent.

    • I completely agree, Julia. It’s hard to get excited about this election. Also frustrating as hell to live in a riding where the outcome is settled before they open the polling booths. It has been Conservative forEVER here.

      • Okay, but what about the bananas!?

      • It was only one banana.

      • Alrighty then, what about the ONE true travelling banana?

      • I’m afraid it’s one of those “you’ve got be there” things. Joe is diabetic and our hosts do not understand the concept of having to eat at specific times. So when we went out with them in their car to do some shopping and sight-seeing, I made sure that there was a remedy if his blood sugar tanked. It didn’t happen and although we were in and out of the car several times, the banana was never removed and gradually turned spotty in the back of the car. Before we left Susan dived into the car and exclaimed “do you want the travelling banana?” A long explanation for a trival event. I just liked the phrase.

      • Well, I for one thank you for clearing that up! It is a good story. I have not read the book (apparently, there was a book) but I did see the movie “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants”. You could weave quite a story from the point of view of the banana.

  5. I liked the banana heading–I had guessed at the back story since I have a husband who has to eat at regular times also but nuts travel better than bananas!!

  6. I meant the actual fruit and nuts–I did not mean to call Joe a fruit and Bill nuts!!

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