(Before we get on to business, isn’t ‘extirpating’ a wonderful word?)
We visited the Wellington suburb of Eastbourne this week. It’s quite a gentrified place and its streets are lined with trees, specifically this sort:
That is a Norfolk Island pine. Quite big, isn’t it? Good for lining roads, though. Eastbourne has a few avenues of them, but they also pop up in odd corners like weeds – a row of trees, all of a kind, carefully planted by the council, will have a Norfolk Island pine protruding above them, sprouting from a cone dropped by a bird, I suppose.
We had one in our front garden, presumably also bird-delivered, and we realised it might get a little tall. Indeed, it had already outpaced our plum trees when we had it removed the other week. Extirpation might be too strong a term – the stump is left and we have zapped it with weed killer. The stump was still only about a third the size of the one in the picture.
Eastbourne has ‘notable trees’, it turns out. They get labelled. I think the label below belongs to the tree in the middle distance of the photo above:
Wikipedia has a page, of course. (I’m a bit worried about the photo of it as a pot plant.) They are a bit different from my experience of the monkey puzzle trees that used to sit quite tamely in suburban gardens.
We also popped up to Upper Hutt, where the local second-hand bookshop had its rack of puzzle and game related volumes near the front door, and who should we see but:
(That does look like Dean Martin on the third shelf. Perhaps it was a film quiz book.) I actually bought the third book back on the top row, a list book of names arranged by forename(s) and then by surname, very good for solving US type clues like ‘Baseball great Splong’ referencing Arvid Splong, who played for the Montpelier Grunters for three months in 1952. I always feel like Brits should retaliate with obscure cricketers to boost overseas sales of Wisden. (Upon checking, I discovered that there was a baseball player called Arvid Hamilton active in 1952. Not him, honest, and he was active nowhere near Montpelier, anyway.)
The puzzle this time is an Independent daily from 2013, with a fairly blatant theme, and a link to another page on the site with the solution.
Forthcoming puzzles. Well, my July of absentee Fridays comes to en end on Wednesday 31 (with an Independent puzzle, for a centenary that day). I have a Times Quick cryptic the day before, and there’s an IQ (and I’m grateful to the editor for allowing me an outrageous bit of self-indulgence) on Saturday 3 August. Friday service in the Independent resumes from 9 August.