Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ghosts in the greenery

Fitzroy is suspicious of every zone of greenery that might conceal hidden foes such as lizards.


Whenever his senses detect the presence of such an enemy, Fitzroy generally adopts the spectacular technique of pouncing, which means jumping into the air and landing on the target like a bomb. But it's easy for an observer to understand that this method of attack is not necessarily efficient. On the one hand, there's no certainty that Fitzroy's targeting mechanisms are sufficiently well-coordinated to enable him to land at the right spot at the right time. On the other hand, the prey has a few life-saving milliseconds in which to escape from the descending black shadow of the dog. So, these lovely jumps into the bushes rarely result in the effective capture of a foe. But maybe they were never designed to do so. It's quite possible that Fitzroy pounces into the greenery simply because it's a nice summer feeling, for an energetic dog, to pounce into the greenery, on the slimsiest of pretexts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dad drinks

After an evening of heavy drinking up on the Gold Coast, an Australian fellow decided wisely that it would not be a good idea to attempt to drive his automobile. So, he asked his 7-year-old son—who had probably been drowsing on the back seat of the car, waiting for his dad—to take the wheel. At 3 o'clock in the morning, police stopped the vehicle after noticing that it was being driven slowly without headlights. Needless to say, they were surprised to discover a child at the wheel, and his drunken father in the passenger seat.

I reckon the kid should receive some kind of award for simultaneously obeying and taking care of his dad. I've always been moved by the little boy in this famous photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson [1908-2004]:


The child's vaguely supercilious expression—looking down his nose as if to say "We've all got a job to do, and I do mine well"—suggests that he's immensely happy and proud to be bringing home an appreciable quantity of precious nectar for his dad... who was probably already too inebriated to make the journey to the local wine shop. And I love the fleeting regard of the cute little girl in the background, who seems to be exclaiming to herself: "Wow, what a dutiful kid!"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Riverside mud

From time to time in my blog, I've mentioned Noah and his celebrated ark: for example, in posts entitled Childhood myths [display] and Beware of flooding [display]. As we all know, God used the great deluge as a weapon of destruction to wipe out millions of undesirable creatures... whom he himself had created.


Now, if that's not downright schizophrenia, it's certainly sick behavior, even coming from a divinity. Besides, in the countless colorful depictions of the landscape after the flood, why don't we see piles of drowned sinners, their bodies bloated by days spent swirling around in the salty floodwaters?


In 1858, many centuries after the fortunate encounter between Noah and his homicidal god, young Bernadette Soubirous met up with the Virgin Mary in the south-western French town of Lourdes. Talking of corpses, the mummified form of Bernadette, her face hidden behind a wax imprint, has become a kitsch tourist attraction in a convent in the town of Nevers, in central France, where Bernadette spent the final years of her short life.


Click here for morbid details about the series of exhumations that culminated in the decision to display the corpse in a gold and crystal coffin. Meanwhile, a disastrous deluge has just hit the town of Lourdes.

                           — photo Sud Ouest, Thierry Suire

The swollen river Gave inundated the celebrated grotto where the peasant girl had once talked to the vision of a visitor, giving rise to an incredible bubble of heavenly hot air.


An observer might well wonder if God is really on Bernadette's side. More precisely: On whose side is the river? In the case of Noah, we were left with an implausible but attractive legend, which still obsesses countless individuals throughout the world. In the case of the sickly child Bernadette (afflicted with psychiatric disorders), alas, all we seem to left with is mud. We are reminded of the mud that the crazy child rubbed over her face and attempted to eat at the height of her trance.

In my blog post of 20 August 2012 entitled A little knowledge [display], I applied the famous criterion of David Hume (for the analysis of strange happenings) to the case of Bernadette. Today, in any case, it's frightening to see what the Church was capable of doing—and is still capable of doing—with the phantasies of a poor simple-minded 14-year-old child. To call a spade a spade, it's clear that certain ecclesiastical authorities have always been infatuated—in one way or another, but often with far-reaching consequences—by the enticing mysteries of children.

FRENCH MEDIA REACTIONS: The front page of the Charlie Hebdo weekly evoked a fabulously "foamy evening" for horny ecclesiastics at Lourdes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hay for next winter

I don't usually purchase hay for the donkeys at this time of the year. But my neighbor Jackie took advantage of the fact that farmers are currently cutting their grass and transforming it into blocks of hay. He ordered a big supply, which was delivered yesterday. But there was more than enough for Jackie's animals, so I was happy to buy the surplus of 30 blocks.


I'm storing it in a corner of the house (just behind my carport), and I plan to distribute small quantities only when there's snow on the slopes. Otherwise, if the donkeys have free access to such fodder, they simply set up residence alongside the bale of hay, and nibble away at it night and day... which is not a good situation. Donkeys tend to overeat constantly. For example, at this time of the year, my two donkeys are frankly far overweight. At the height of winter, they need to be encouraged to wander around, turning up the snow, searching for tasty wet weeds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random roses

On the rose pergola, there's a lot of intermingling between adjacent varieties. Here's a view from the south of the left-hand side of the pergola:


The small bright red roses are Chevy Chase. The bushes growing on the left are Madame Alfred Carrière, and you see a few specimens of these white roses at the top of the photo. But the pink roses on the left belong to Albertine stalks that have burrowed through from the opposite side of the pergola. On the other side of the red Chevy Chase, the small pale pink Paul Transon blossoms are in their right place.


In one of the plots, close to the earth, there's an elegant specimen of Paul Bocuse, all on its own.


Alongside, but high in the air, there are several Queen Elizabeth specimens:


Here's a superb solitary Limoux, with a few Manou Meilland in the background:


I've forgotten the identity of the following vigorous bush of clumps of white roses, which used to grow on an embankment behind the house:


The following, too, is an unidentified bush that I transplanted from behind the house:


As I've often said, one thing is certain: Gamone is an ideal territory for roses.

Straight lines

People who live in the vicinity of cliffs and mountains soon discover the powerful beauty of straight lines, which determine the trajectories of both light and sound. Early every morning, when I wander up the road with Fitzroy for our habitual 20-minute excursion (giving the dog an opportunity to do his poo, generally on the neighbor's territory), there's a surprising moment when Fitzroy suddenly halts, gazes down into the valley, and acts for half-a-minute as if he were expecting a motor vehicle to appear on the scene. The explanation is simple, although the abundant foliage tends to conceal the facts. Over a short section of our itinerary (no more than a few meters), a straight line connects us to the main road down alongside the Bourne. And if, by chance, a vehicle happens to be moving along the road at that moment, then we can hear the sound of it quite clearly, creating the impression that this vehicle might indeed be heading up the road towards Gamone. Funnily, Fitzroy seems to have realized by now that the ghost vehicle, whose presence he has sensed, is only an illusion, and that there's no point in lying flat alongside the road to await its arrival. But he stills gets tricked for a few seconds, whenever our arrival at that spot coincides with the passage of a vehicle down in the valley. I don't know what kinds of principles of mathematics and physics float around in Fitzroy's mind, but I feel that he has mastered the problem from a pragmatic viewpoint.

Euclid

Straight lines were invented, as it were, by Euclid, who flourished in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I, some three centuries before the start of the Christian era. In Euclidean geometry, the very first axiom postulates that a straight line can be drawn from any point to any other point. But the universe seems to have mastered the question of straight lines well before Euclid started to think about them... although we now know that a so-called straight line is a simplified version of more generalized entities called geodesics, which play a fundamental role in general relativity.

Einstein

In our villages, towns and cities, straight lines are relatively recent artificial constructions. In the beginning, most village lanes had lots of bends in them, like creeks and rivers. In Paris, the civic planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann [1809-1891] spent a colossal amount of public money in the creation of straight avenues, ostensibly so that troops would find it easier (if need be) to handle throngs of rioters. And even today, many Parisians speak of this self-proclaimed "Baron" as if he had committed an unforgivable sin in straightening and widening the thoroughfares of the city.

Haussmann

Personally, I'm horrified by the Euclidean linear layouts of cities in the New World, particularly when the streets are numbered and labeled as north, south, east or west. On the contrary, I'm always awed to discover, on late summer evenings, that the setting Sun has succeeded in finding a linear itinerary through the slopes above Pont-en-Royans enabling our faithful star to illuminate the limestone cliffs of the Cournouze, for a few fleeting minutes, with a warm reddish glow. Euclid imagined that all straight lines are basically of the same nature. As for me, I prefer those of Choranche to those, say, of Manhattan. And, if we were to think of Euclid's straight line as an abstract archaic god (why not?), we might say that its temple is Stonehenge.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Language miracle in Australia

In Mark 16:14-18, we must imagine that Jesus has already been raised from the dead, and he is giving an amazing short pep talk to some of his followers, who appear to be far from convinced that it's real.
Still later he appeared to the eleven while they were at table, and reproached them for their incredulity and dullness, because they had not believed those who had seen him after he was raised from the dead. Then he said to them: "Go to every part of the world, and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Those who believe it and receive baptism will be saved; those who do not believe will be condemned. Faith will bring with it these miracles: believers will drive out demons in my name and speak in strange tongues; if they handle snakes or drink any deadly poison, they will come to no harm; and the sick on whom they lay their hands will recover." So after talking with them the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.
I've always imagined Jesus seated alongside his father, looking down upon earthly happenings, and asking sarcastically: "Dad, do you think the silly bastards will really believe that crap about deadly snakes and poison?"


I've heard that certain believers in the USA have got around to snake acts... but their numbers are diminishing. As for the bit about speaking in strange tongues, it's designated by a weird technical term: glossolalia. And I have the impression that there might be a spectacular case of this miraculous happening down in Tasmania. Click here to read this true story. An aspect of this tale that amuses me is the idea that ordinary Aussies would indeed be capable of recognizing a French accent. And it's so funny to gather, reading between the lines, that the last thing in the world that the unlucky Tasmanian lady desires is to be mistaken for a bloody frog. Meanwhile, it would be a good idea to examine her hands to see if there are traces of stigmata.

Yellow submarine

You've got to admire the marketing flair of the fellow who had the brilliant idea of setting up a fleet of yellow amphibious vehicles (converted army equipment), in the Beatles city of Liverpool, known as duckmarines.


Click here to see the Royals themselves taking a trip around the Liverpool docks in one of these vessels. Now, it's important to understand that these amphibious vehicles are nevertheless not meant to operate as submarines. That's to say, in normal circumstances, they should never descend below the surface of the water. But that appears to happen at times, as you can see here. And, when one of these vessels goes down, as has happened twice in the last few months, passengers have no more than a few seconds to get out of the metallic carcass and start swimming to safety. Imagine the consequences for the kingdom if an accident of this kind had taken place when the royals were aboard!


On the other hand, a jolly rollicking new song could have been obtained simply by changing slightly the original lyrics:

They all drowned in a yellow duckmarine...

We might imagine Elizabeth and her husband going down in Titanic style if the royal yacht (which no longer exists) were to spring a leak... along with their son Charles and his wife, too, if possible. Truly, a drowning accident in a duckmarine in the Liverpool docks just doesn't sound noble enough. But it would appear retrospectively that the world was just a hair's breadth away from such a great front-page story for the British tabloids.

Green lizards in my garden

Twenty minutes ago, I noticed a couple of superb green lizards approaching one of my garden plots.

[Click to enlarge]

Maybe they're surprised to discover that familiar weeds have disappeared. When they scrambled into the vegetation in this garden plot at the foot of the stairs, I went down cautiously to see if I could get a closer look at them. No problem. They didn't appear to be particularly upset by my presence with a camera, just a couple of meters in front of them.


They're beautiful creatures, known as western green lizards [Lacerta bilineata]. The bigger of the two specimens in my garden, with a blue throat, is a male. The female is much smaller and more slender. They eat insects, and live for some 15 years. Now that I know they're inhabiting my garden, I'll make sure they're not hanging around in a plot where I'm working. They're not venomous, but will apparently try to inflict a bite upon a foe, and it's said that such a bite is quite painful. Above all, I must make a point of keeping Fitzroy out of the garden, because he would instantly declare war on these attractive reptiles.

NOTE: Australian readers of my blog might look upon these creatures as small goannas. Needless to say, I'm incapable of examining their respective genealogies, but I would imagine that the two families differ most considerably in their eating habits. Even a small goanna (some are no bigger than my green lizards) is prepared to consume birds' eggs, frogs, smaller snakes and lizards, small rodents, etc, whereas the green lizards of Western Europe would find it unthinkable to eat such stuff.

Gamone garden

After many hours of manual labor down on my hands and knees, I've finally removed most of the weeds from the garden at Gamone. Here's a global view from the southern end:

[Click to enlarge]

In the lower left-hand corner, you can see a piece of the geotextile product that I intend to lay down in all the alleys between the elements of the garden: its 8 square plots and the rose pergola. Once this geotextile covering is in place, held down by metallic staples, I plan to cover it with a thick layer of beige limestone gravel. That's the only feasible solution to prevent the annual growth of weeds. Funnily enough, the weeds that reappear abundantly in the hard earth of the alleys are more obnoxious (hard to remove) than the relatively few specimens that dare to sprout in the soft soil of the plots. Here's a view of the area in front of the house as seen by somebody coming in off the road:


As you can see, the actual garden lies a couple of meters lower than the level of the house and front "lawn". Here's a view of the pergola as you approach it from the northern end:


In the upper right-hand corner of that photo, you have a glimpse of the stairs that I built a few years ago, and the above-mentioned piece of geotextile. The following photo provides a view of the four northern plots, dominated for the moment by the luxurious Don Quichotte blossoms:


And the following photo provides a symmetrical view of the four southern plots:


As you can see, the Princess Margaret peonies are in danger of collapsing under their own weight, and I've attached them by a string to a wooden pole. I don't know how serious peony growers handle this kind of problem...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

In the shadow of Grafton's cathedral

In the middle of the 1950s, the Anglican cathedral of Grafton (my birthplace in Australia) was a focal point in my young existence.


A charming legend evoked a link between one of my maternal ancestors and Christ Church Cathedral. Here's a studio photo of my great-great-grandmother Eliza Dancey [1821-1904] and her daughter, my great-grandmother, Mary Eliza Cranston [1858-1926]:

[Click to enlarge]

They had left their native Bailieborough in Ireland (County Cavan) in the 1870s. In Australia, Mary Cranston married Isaac Kennedy [1844-1934] in 1881, at a Protestant church in South Grafton. Meanwhile, Mary's young brother William Cranston [1862-1934] had become a bricklayer in Grafton and, in 1883, he was working on the construction of the front wall of the new Anglican cathedral. The bricklaying was watched with interest by two little girls, Bella Greenaway (14) and her sister May (6), who were waiting to meet their father, George Greenaway [1843-1915], captain of the coastal ship First Favourite, about to tie up at the wharf at the end of Oliver Street, after a voyage up from Sydney. The smaller child had with her a tiny porcelain doll. In the course of their conversation with 21-year-old William Cranston, the bricklayer was invited to place the china doll in a recess, high up in the wall... as a kind of offering to the emerging cathedral.

Over half-a-century later, in 1937, Cranston's brickwork was demolished, and replaced by a new western wall in which the tiny porcelain doll was given a central setting, where it can still be seen today. [Some of my data concerning this story comes from an article by Don Peck in the newsletter #116 of the Clarence River Historical Society, dated 27 July 2010. I have taken the liberty of slightly modifying certain dates, to render the account plausible.]

When I was out in Australia in 2006, I took a photo of a plaque containing the list of the cathedral's bishops:


One of these men, Kenneth Clements, had become my friend for a short while in 1956, just before I left Grafton to become a science student at the University of Sydney. As for the bishops who followed Clements, I had lost contact with the Grafton scene, and I knew nothing about these men... until reading about some of them in the national press. So, the stuff I'm about to relate comes purely from web pages that you can easily find by means of Google.

In particular, there was the case of Donald Shearman, the bishop of Christ Church Cathedral for a dozen years, from 1973 until 1985. As far as I know, Shearman's bishopric raised no problems (no pun intended) in Grafton. It was only later that facts were published [article] concerning the churchman's alleged misconduct involving a 14-year-old girl in a church hostel in Forbes, back in the 1950s. In 2004, Shearman was actually defrocked by the Anglican church, which was an event of a kind that had never occurred previously in the ecclesiastic history of Australia.

On the fringe of this affair, the Anglican archbishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth, apparently went out of his way to protect Shearman, advising him "to keep a low profile" [article]. By the time Hollingworth's cover-up role had been revealed, he had been appointed by prime minister John Howard to be the Governor-General of Australia and, for his old school in Melbourne (Scotch College), Hollingworth was hailed as a hero [article].


In 2001, moreover, he had been named a Companion of the Order of Australia. But, no sooner had Hollingworth started his job as the queen's representative in Australia than criticisms were aired publicly about his alleged protection of pedophiles during the 1990s, when he was Archbishop of Brisbane. Finally, in May 2003, Hollingworth resigned as Governor-General. In 2005, the woman at the heart of the Shearman affair, Beth Heinrich, spoke publicly for the first time about her relationship with the bishop [article].

Grafton's Anglican cathedral was in the news once again, a month ago, because of sad tales of sexual abuse of children. Having neglected to follow up allegations concerning the North Coast Childrens Home in Lismore, the bishop Keith Slater was obliged to resign [article].


In spite of these nasty associations, Christ Church Cathedral evokes several positive personal memories. Back in the mid 1950s, when I still imagined myself naively as some kind of a Christian (a situation that came to an abrupt end a year or so later, when I settled down in Sydney), I used to don regularly the red and white outfit of a so-called server officiating within the church.


Above all, the cathedral contains a lovely stained-glass window in memory of my paternal grandmother Kathleen Pickering [1889-1964].

[Click to enlarge]

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Breakfast outside

A simple joy at Gamone, now that the weather has warmed up, is to breakfast outside, and to spend a moment reading in the sunshine.

[Click to enlarge]

Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps is a most refreshing approach to down-to-earth "thinking tools" of the kind that are (or should be) used by philosophically-minded scientists and scientifically-minded philosophers.

Cournouze bride

Yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to look up at the Cournouze and discover that she was bedecked with a delicate bridal headdress trimmed in white lace.

[Click to enlarge]

There were ominous patches of grey sky up above: not exactly an encouraging moment for a wedding. Besides, isn't she a little bit too old to be dressing herself up like a young bride and getting married? And to whom, might I ask, is my mountain betrothed?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Take-off

The Airbus A350—in competition with the Boeing 787—took off from Toulouse Blagnac less than an hour ago on its maiden flight.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mess in a plane

I was intrigued by the information that seems to be conveyed by this photo. The regards of these hostesses are calm. They appear to be oblivious of the mess in the passenger area behind them.

                                              — photo by Alan Cross

They seem to be saying to themselves: "It's the passengers who made that mess, deliberately and stupidly. So they can clean it up by themselves."

This interpretation of the sense of the image is totally false... and so much the better. On this flight between Singapore and London, when the hostesses were serving breakfast, the plane was severely shaken by a zone of huge turbulence, and it almost turned upside-down. Within a short time, happily, the aircraft emerged from the turbulence, and it is said that the hostesses lost no time in cleaning up the mess and making the aircraft spotless.

I often wonder whether there are people (pilots, hostesses, passengers...) who actually get a kick out of flying through zones of turbulence. In asking this question, I think back to the wonderful season of sailing on the Zigeuner in Western Australia in 1986. When the sea was turbulent, I loved to sit on the tip of the bow, where my body could receive the brunt of the waves. But it's no doubt silly to compare sailing on an old wooden vessel with flying in a jet airliner.

Talking about the possible effects of turbulence, many of us can't help thinking that a wing might fall off. Here at Choranche, I once went out driving with a lady friend from Paris who was suddenly terrified, while we were moving up along spectacular roads beneath the cliffs, that the wheels of my Citroën might be about to fall off, sending us hurtling down into the dark abyss. And there's a notorious case, too, of a great vessel in Western Australia whose front fell off.

 

Rose named Coluche

Two years ago, in a blog post entitled A rose by any other name [display], I mentioned the great French comic Michel Colucci [1944-1986], known as Coluche. In the early 1980s, when strolling between the rue Rambuteau and the Hôtel de Ville, I would often see Coluche seated in the midst of his theatre friends on the pavement of the café Le Reinitas at the corner of the Temple and Plâtre streets on the edge of the Marais.


The rose bush that bears the name of Coluche has just bloomed at Gamone, a month late (because of the wet weather and lack of sunshine), and I picked a specimen.


Back in the Rue du Temple, I would have found it weird to imagine that I might be remembering Coluche, three decades later, through a red rose growing in my garden on the edge of the Alps.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Home-made candied ginger

In my childhood recollections, candied ginger is a Proustian madeleine. [If you don't know what I mean, look up the last pair of words in Google.] This delicious foodstuff is associated, in my memories, with Xmas celebrations in the house of my paternal grandparents in Oliver Street, Grafton.

Anne, Don and me at our grandparents' home in Oliver Street

Often, when I drop in at an organic-foods store in St-Marcellin, I buy a bag of candied ginger... and I generally end up eating it all before I get home. You see, I really seem to be addicted to candied ginger. Recently, my Choranche neighbor Tineke gave me a jar of fine candied ginger in syrup from the Netherlands. Recipes on the Internet suggest that it's quite easy to prepare. So, I gave it a try. First, you peel the ginger roots and chop them into pieces.


From that point on, it's basically just a matter of boiling the pieces, three or four times, in a sugar syrup. Here's the end result:


My home-made candied ginger is delicious... but there won't be much of it left by the time this blog post is published. The chunks are soft and tasty, but they're slightly stringy, which simply indicates that the raw ginger rhizomes (roots) that I purchased in a local fruit and vegetables store were not quite as fresh as I would have hoped. If the rhizomes had been younger (as seems to be the case for the abopve-mentioned Dutch product), there would have been no stringiness whatsoever, and the boiling operations would have rendered the chunks quite transparent.

Incidentally, when I drained the ginger chunks, I set aside the precious syrup in which they had been cooked. I then used this syrup to flavor chilled Perrier, obtaining a liquid madeleine from my childhood in South Grafton: ginger ale.

Maybe the ideal way of obtaining fresh ginger rhizomes would be to actually grow the plant here in my vegetable garden at Gamone. For me, though, there's a problem. Experts state that the ideal constant temperature for ginger plants is around 25 degrees Centigrade. That more-or-less rules out Gamone... unless, of course, I were to install a small greenhouse. And, to heat it in winter, I could use a solar panel. Now, that sounds like a pretty complex project aimed at resurrecting my madeleine. Maybe I should choose the relatively simple strategy adopted by Marcel Proust, and write a book on the subject.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Glimpse of Gamone

For people driving down from Presles to Pont-en-Royans (not a busy road), this photo presents their rapid glimpse of my house at Gamone.

[Click to enlarge]

Emerging from a blind bend in the narrow road, drivers are not inclined to examine the scenery. So, they probably hardly notice the presence of my house on the opposite slopes. I wandered up to that spot a couple of days ago to take a look at work carried out by roadworkers with heavy equipment who removed crumbling rocks that fall constantly onto the roadway. This second photo, from a nearby viewpoint, reveals the final section of this bend, with traces of the work I just mentioned.


Many drivers coming up in the opposite direction decide to blow their horns upon reaching this corner, which is one of the first uncomfortable corners on the road up from Pont-en-Royans. A little later, most of these drivers abandon their horn blowing when they realize that there are dozens of uncomfortable bends like this on the road up to Presles. You simply have to slow down and watch out for approaching vehicles. At places like this on the road up to Presles, if the approaching vehicle happens to be a truck, a tractor or a bus, the only solution is to back up over a distance of a hundred meters or so.

Friday, June 7, 2013

French news agency

Many people who see the three letters AFP attached to a news story or a photo may not be aware that this acronym designates Agence France-Presse : a celebrated and time-honored French news agency whose representatives operate in some 200 countries. Click here to watch a rapid but revealing panorama of recent AFP images.

Grass is for rolling in

Every pagan dog knows that the gods made grass for rolling in. It's the dogs, of course, not the gods, that do the rolling.




At Gamone, I'm not pretentious enough to refer to our grass as a lawn. It's simply a patch of rocky soil on which a pleasant blend of grass and weeds has appeared... with a minimum of assistance from me and my electric mower.


Fitzroy would surely agree with me that all the wet weather over the last month or so, followed by the last three days of sunshine, has enhanced the rollability of our grass.