I have rebooted my computer. After eating my blog post yesterday evening it swallowed up the first half of an email I was writing this afternoon, leaving me with nothing but the last letter I'd typed, which was an s. Not very helpful.
The warmer weather is bringing things on at such a pace that even the rabbits can't eat all of them, and I was relieved to see shoots on all three Dictamnus albus var. purpureus, a slowly spreading herbaceous species that I really didn't want repeatedly chewed down to stumps so that I lost a year's growth. It is a graceful plant, as slow growers often are, with glossy green leaves and upright spikes of pale mauve, five petalled, starry flowers with darker purple veins and a bunch of protruding stamens. It secretes volatile oils which according to gardening legend can be ignited on a hot, calm day, though I have never felt the urge to set fire to my plants. From this derives its common name of burning bush plant, or in the US the inelegant name of gas plant. Its botanical name is all back to front, since most plants in the wild are purple, as mine are, but the first one seen and named happened to have white flowers. They were given the name Dictamnus albus, leaving the more usual purple form with the qualifying var. purpureus tagged on the end.
We have both spent quite a lot of time sitting with the kittens trying to socialise them, alternating with sitting with Our Ginger so that he doesn't feel left out. The kittens like playing with a piece of paper dangled above their heads on a length of kitchen string, and have two settings at the moment, galloping about and completely crashed out. They still don't give any signs of actively enjoying being handled, but as I type this one is curled up on the footstool in front of me, another is stretched out on the hearthrug and the third is asleep behind my chair. That's an advance on Saturday when they spent their day mostly trying to hide behind the furniture. The Systems Administrator has removed all surplus trailing cables, raised the remaining ones as far as possible, and clad the lowest ones in plastic duct. Those tiny teeth are sharp as needles.
We brought Our Ginger in to look at them for two minutes this morning, firmly clasped in my arms. He stopped purring when he saw the first kitten, and I could feel his body tense. They just looked at him, and after two minutes he'd had enough, and we took him back to the kitchen and bribed him to be happy with cat treats. This afternoon he wanted to come in when we opened the door, sniffed the kittens' food, and stared at two of them while they stared back, holding their ground on the hearth rug. A kitten hissed first, Our Ginger consented to be soothed by us, and we retired with him for a cup of tea on the terrace, where he started to purr again. So far, so good. I hope.
I have registered them with our vet and we are going for their first jabs tomorrow. As I told one of them, he'll be official then. He'll have papers.