Tuesday, 19 May 2020

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary Day 59

Today I once again lingered with my coffee at my accustomed station on the woodland path perched on repurposed Eucalyptus logs. These are some views that I have enjoyed from here today.

I am also testing myself and before I explain that remark, a little diversion. Whenever I am dressing, so I mean sockless, fresh from the shower (or not so fresh from my bed) I test myself. I test myself by putting on my socks standing up, everytime. This has been going on for some years. It amounts to a personal daily affirmation that things are still good with my balance, flexibility and dexterity. Try it!

I am similarly testing myself sat in my spot but testing, in this case, the state of my mental faculties.

I recalled some time after his death that my Dad had shown signs of mental decline, a combination of Altzheimer’s and dementia, perhaps as long as 8 years before it was properly diagnosed. I should have realised what was happening. We were both of us fond of Latin binomial plant names. In both cases a genuine fondness for the way they trip off the tongue but also in both cases a tendency to show off.

Around about the age of 86 or 87 Dad began getting them wrong. Not just forgetting but actually making up his own versions. Like many sufferers of age related mental decline Dad was confabulating. It became more obvious as time went on and affected other areas. People fill in gaps in their familiar knowledge by bridging reality and their cognition of it with stuff they make up often without actually being aware of their inventions themselves. Dad became an expert, even having some fun with it at our expense and it has left us with some wonderful stories to treasure.

I now test myself on a regular basis. I have presented the second of these views above at an approximately 45 deg. angle to capture as many different plants as possible so it might surprise you to know that in this small part of our not overly large garden in front of me (there are other trees and shrubs behind me) are the following:-

I am seated under Acer grosserii var. Herzii, Hers’s acer or snakebark maple (with the fabulous bark pattern in the first image)
Quercus rubra, the Red Oak (just a little ‘un!)
Acer platenoides var. Drumondii
Quercus robur, the English or pendunculate oak
Acer palmatum var. Owasaki
Pinus sylvestris fastigiata
Cornus alternefolia argentatus
Ginko biloba
Chusque culeou ‘Chile Bamboo’
Mahonia aquilfolia
Fraxinius excelsior  (but that is next door in the background)

Today I managed to recall 8 out of these 11 but at least had the family name right in 10 even if the species or variety name escaped me. Not bad and I gave myself 8 out of 10.

So to recap, today I successfully donned a pair of socks standing up. I completed two hard Sudoku in 16 minutes and got 8 out of 10 in my name-that-plant memory test. Life is good in lockdown mostly but it started me off thinking about mental health and the effects of this lockdown. I feel quite differently now after 8 weeks, something has changed and I shall explore that tomorrow.

In the meantime here is an image of my latest horticultural project, my attempt to cultivate an herbaceous rainbow. What do you think? It lifts my spirits no end. And before anyone says the obvious, it is a genuine photograph of a real genuine rainbow there in our front garden. Marvellous!

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