Tuesday, 19 July 2016

jimson weed

The Tate sent me an email asking me what I thought of the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition, and inviting me to tell them via their Facebook page.  That is not going to happen because I am not registered on Facebook and am not going to register.  They don't really want to know anyway.  A previous email asking me what I thought of the Barbara Hepworth exhibition included an email address I could reply to.  As it happens, I did want to tell them a couple of things, so sent off an email to the address given and got an automated reply saying that this address was not being monitored.

Happily the Tate's email about Georgia O'Keeffe included a photo of the painting of the white flower, complete with title, so now I know it is a Jimson weed.  I looked up Jimson weed on Wikipedia, and it sounded quite alarming.  Alternative names include Devil's snare and stinkweed, the former because it is a member of the Solanaceae and all parts of the plant are toxic, and the latter because the plant itself smells foul (though the flowers which open at night and are pollinated by moths are fragrant).  Its botanical name is Datura stramonium.

It was used in traditional medicine to relieve symptoms of asthma and as an analgesic, and also taken for its hallucinogenic properties.  The lethal dose, unfortunately, is only slightly greater than the medicinal one.  Not a plant to cultivate at home, I think.  Would I have looked differently upon the painting if I'd been aware of Jimson weed's sinister backstory at the time?

I didn't get much done today: it was too hot.  I grumbled to the Systems Administrator on Sunday as I dragged the hose about that I was not a fan of high summer and rather preferred spring.  The SA promised to remind me of that statement the next time I'm grumbling because it's cold and raining. I don't particularly enjoy such hot days, though.  Britain, according to the papers, is basking so I am presumably supposed to bask along with it, but I don't really like basking.  Basking is OK for sharks or tortoises, but not for a human being with stuff to do, for a whole day.

The kittens didn't think much of the heat either and refused to come outside at all until about seven this evening.  Instead they lay about the hall, looking pained.  Our Ginger slept in the hall with them, but perversely poured himself into a small cardboard box.  I'd have thought he'd have been too hot and would have been more comfortable stretched out, like Mr Fluffy, but what do I know?

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