Way back in the last millennium, I lived in leafy (and luvvie) Crouch End: technically, I lived in even more exclusive Highgate with my swanky N6 postcode – but that was an uphill walk all the way and thus rarely visited. In those quondam days of my nonage (a word which charmingly means youth, even if that might be a stretch for my mid thirties), I would regular buy flowers to introduce a little of Mother Nature’s raiment, albeit some too-soon plucked threads thereof, into my flat and city-bound life. Somehow as the years performed their entropic dance, I fell out of this habit. For the last half-dozen or so years, my sole (invited) living (or dying: the two are inextricably entangled) housemate has been a single moth orchid: though I am now on my second example. I would like to claim that the first one immolated itself on an unguarded candle flame but that would be pure, romantic whimsy on my part. Despite a regime of benign neglect, peppered with a semi-regular diet of food and water, the orchids flower but infrequently in their slow decline under my care. They make for undemanding but mostly rather dull companions. We can perhaps begin to see why I have remained single all these years…
For the last couple of weeks, I have felt a little depleted and find myself infused with less than my usual complement of joie de vivre. I might point to uninvited viral visitors as the cause, or an accumulation of black bile tilting my Galenic humours or, perhaps, the stubborn failure of Spring to throw off winter’s traces. Whatever the cause, I found myself drawn to rather unprepossessing bunches of tight-budded daffodil stems as I wandered the fruit and veg aisle of Waitrose wondering why I had, once again, failed to prepare a list or any firm meal plan to aid my shopping expedition. Inspiration and serendipity are fine things but not always adequate to the task of restocking the larder or leaving one’s home replete with all the elements of a week of tasty meals.
Reader, I must admit that I surrendered to temptation (as I have so often before: and hope to continue doing into the future) and invested a whole Pound Sterling on a bunch of these daffodils-in-waiting. Rather than place them on a seldom regarded shelf, I decided to place them on my brand new desk. This desk has worked wonders for my general living arrangements, creating a much improved work (and blog) space and led to the creation of a far more practical music nook.
The stems have far surpassed their limited promise and, from their pint glass home, keep bringing splashes of sunshine and resurgent hope into my tiny home. Such has been their impact that they have acted as a muse to my versifying and I have composed a nonet in their honour. This fresh poem recognises that I am not the first to have found inspiration from the scions of Narcissus’ self-regard, though I like to imagine I have become slightly less over-wrought by the whole experience and have reined in the horses of hyperbole to no more than a rising trot.
Solitary Wordsworth found a crowd
Of infinite extent, dancing
At Cumbrian water’s edge.
On newly purchased desk
My more modest host,
From pint glass, trumpet
I think my desk will be more regularly attended by floral guest stars in the months to come. These have provided a most excellent return on my £1 investment and, despite some failures by Purchasing, have not (yet) had to fill a hole in salad or casserole.