Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How about a wisteria?

There was still the problem of the view, or lack of one, from the bedroom window. After much deliberation, I hit on what I thought would be the answer. I would erect three wooden posts, each three inches square and eight feet high, using metal post-holders, and to those posts I would fix a trellis. If I trained a wisteria over the trellis, that would hide the gas tank from view very nicely, and would look attractive into the bargain.

Why I didn't buy all the bits and pieces – including the wisteria – in France is something I shall never understand. But I didn't. Mrs S and I visited an English garden centre and selected a magnificent wisteria plant, one that was already eight feet high. Just getting it back to our English home was something of a challenge, and I still had to transport it to France – along with three eight foot posts, the trellis and all the appropriate tools for a week's work. It took me quite a while to pack the car that Sunday afternoon.

After passing through check-in and before going through to the dockside at the ferry port, cars were selected, apparently at random, for a security check. So far I had been lucky and managed to avoid this hassle – but not this time. I can't have been more than a yard or so from the gate to the quay when somebody in a fluorescent yellow waistcoat jumped in front of the car, causing me to practice an emergency stop. He waved at me imperiously, directing me into the security check area.

I was invited to step out of the car and to open the boot. The security officer glanced inside and groaned. I'm sure that he was sorely tempted to tell me to close the boot and drive on, but his conscience won the day – either that, or he thought his boss might be watching. Anyway, everything had to come out – suitcase, toolboxes, wooden posts, wisteria plant, even the spare wheel. As I stood there holding up the wisteria, a sniffer dog was brought across. I was not best pleased when he cocked his leg against the plant, but relieved that at least he missed my leg!

The contents of my suitcase got a cursory examination, but not so the toolboxes. Everything was pulled out and scattered on the ground – screwdrivers, chisels, saws, a positive cornucopia of potentially lethal weapons. I was escorted into an office where I was asked to hand over my passport before being thoroughly searched. A second, more senior, security officer arrived and proceeded to question me.

I considered phoning my Member of Parliament to complain about this harassment. But even if I had decided to do so, I couldn't have done because I didn't even know who my Member of Parliament was let alone his telephone number. I decided against ringing Mrs S as she wouldn't have known either, and in any case she would have been in bed and asleep by then and wouldn't have heard the phone ringing. I couldn't anyway, because my mobile phone had been taken along with my passport – a passport which stated that ‘Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer (me!) to pass freely without let or hindrance'. And here were British people hindering my passage!

I eventually managed to persuade the security officers that I was not a terrorist intent on hijacking the ferry, nor was I a hacksaw murderer on the run, and nor was I intending to wage a solo war against the French in order to regain Anjou for the British crown. By the time they let me go the ferry was nearly due to depart and I had no time to pack the car properly before driving over the ramp just as it started to lift. As a result, I had wisteria leaves tickling the back of my neck for the rest of the journey.

A year or so down the line, this is how that wisteria looked.

1 comment:

#1Nana said...

I do love wisteria, but it is not often found here in Eastern Oregon. When I was in Spain in April I kept snapping pictures of the plants in full bloom.