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Exeat: Day 131/84: The ultimate bloom .... taken < 15 years .... and guacamole!

Above my head, the Crown of Grandiflora. It's taken 15 years for the magnolia grandiflora we purchased to grow outside the Dovecote. There've been at least 25 blooms appearing over the past four weeks this year although the magnificent example overhead ideally needs simultaneous companions of course! We've not identified yet why they all appear on the west side of the tree either - the Dolphinstouns never get to see any at all. Not that they have the same empathy towards the magnolia as I do since we traced it to a garden centre north of Northampton and carefully nurtured it over the years. For them the emergent Monterey Pine will do it I believe!.

Magnolia grandiflora commonly known as the Southern Magnolia or Bull Bay, is of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern United States from southeastern North Carolina to central Florida, and west to East Texas. It reaches 90 ft and is a large, striking evergreen tree with dark green leaves up to 8" long and 5" wide with large, white fragrant flowers up to 12" in diameter as I proudly display above. The plant collector Mark Catesby, the first in North America, brought Magnolia Grandiflora to Britain in 1726 where it entered cultivation and overshadowed Magnolia Virginiana which had arrived a few years earlier. It had also gone to France from the vicinity of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
It's National Talk in the Elevator Day as well as Avocado Day. The first of these is the last Friday in July when the feel good factor is high, vacations planned, TGIF all rolled together …. The conversational tips are basic! Whilst most of us nowadays might use this time to check our smart devices we need to point ourselves in another direction. If you’re riding with someone you know, try to learn something new about them. It can be a short, mundane experience inside a box unless of course it stops … Yes, we can remember being stranded on 27th Floor in Kuala Lumpur awaiting for a technician to arrive along with a voluble fellow whose last such experience had seen it catch fire! On a good day the short vertical trip can be a laughter break; try out your stand-up comedy. If comedy isn’t your style break the silence with a miniature spelling bee - see if you can get a consensus on how to spell consensus. But the simplest way today is to mention the national day and they'll ask: Why on Earth? Let's not forget, we do of proudly 'own' a lift - at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg; who doesn't? It cost £50,000 in 2004 and has been regularly used but it only travels from the lobby to the Thomas Nelson Suite and not much time for conversation. It's been flooded once in the basement well and the annual maintenance contract is a significant expense but it was a planning requirement for the new function facilities we were adding then.
Avocados are something else of course. Avril reports we were going to have one for lunch today but it's still in the fridge. It's become a hugely popular fruit in our lifetime but not the sort of thing our parents would have eaten. Supplies to the UK don't currently come from by far the world's biggest grower Mexico, where they were native, but from Peru, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Spain (in that order) accounting for more than 4/5ths of all the avocados brought here over the last 5 years. It's consumed in all manner of ways in salads of course perhaps with prawns, with egg and bacon at breakfast and as traditional Mexican guacamole dip with tomato on tortilla chips …. at many a family meal.

Masked shopper ventures forth for bread supplies …. Yes, Avril's only masked expeditions to date had been in Weymouth for essentials but today she needed a loaf for the returning Dolphinstouns who do have delivery on Monday pre-ordered but need perhaps some sustenance over Sunday. Tesco's Express at East Hunsbury met the need with no queues and was also the chance to post a couple of cheques for health care bills! More coming soon …

Published Date: July 31st 2020

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