Bordersnakes, waves and autumnal planting

I’ve just finished reading the late James Crumley’s novel Bordersnakes. If you don’t like reading hardboiled novels, where the “heroes” are  just a bit less mean and violent than the baddies, then you won’t like this. Given to me by my brother-in-law Tom, an eclectic reader and a  Crumley aficionado, Bordersnakes is a rollercoaster ride set in Texas and Mexico. Milo and Sughrue are the good guys. However, as the  review notes “Of course, “good guys” is a relative term. A scuzzier pair of hard-drinking, dope-smoking, trash-talking testosterone-overdose cases than Sughrue and Milo would be hard to imagine”. The dialogue is what makes this book. It is often laden with expletives and very funny e.g. Milo threatens a baddie, saying that if he ever threatens MIlo or Sughrue again, “I will kill you, your family, and everyone you ever said hello to”. OK – not everyone’s sense of humour but if like me, you haven’t come across Crumley before, and like this style, he’s a very entertaining read. The plot is fairly straightforward but new characters appear constantly and there are some unlikely coincidences, but it’s very well written and a sheer pleasure.

This week, the tides have been high at the back of our house, with lines of waves relentlessly streaming towards the shore. Waves are  fascinating to look at e.g. you stand on the small promenade and try to pick the big wave, which will hit the sea wall hardest, or you watch the waves ripple along the wall until they exhaust themselves, and fall flat. There’s also a fascination of watching the waves retreating after hitting the promenade and often depositing stones and/or seaweed there. That you wave you picked as the big one, is whacked by the outgoing wave and produces a huge, airborne mass of water (see Photo 1). Then there’s the wave that you underestimate and hits the wall with a huge slap and turns itself into a whirligig of water (see Photo 2). Lastly, there’s the noise of the waves when you are close to them. Thomas Hardy wrote that the waves were “engrossed in saying their ceaseless babbling say”, and the sound of the waves can seem to be a thousand voices all talking at once.

It’s changeover time in my garden. Out go the withering summer flowers and, from under the table in my garage, out come the daffodil, tulip and crocus bulbs which have, unlike animals in this country, been hibernating all summer. In addition, I’ve bought pansies and violas, which both provide an extravagant show of colour for this time of year (see Photos 3 and 4 for close-up shots). One aspect which is fascinating about these winter plants is that, when the hard frosts arrive (later rather than sooner I hope), the pansies and violas curl up into themselves and wait for warmth to return.

Two waves crashing

s Two waves crashing

Launching wave

Launching wave

Vibrant violas

Vibrant violas

Multi coloured pansy head

Multi coloured pansy head




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