Gardening in Middle-Earth
Last fall I moved from Massachusetts to Oxford, UK. The townhouse we're
renting has what Americans call a small "yard" (here they call
everything a "garden" even if it's all gravel or cement and has no
plants in it! ) In our new yard there was only grass, so I just spent 2
weeks putting in a shade garden on one side and a sun garden on the
other. This was my first experience working with a heavy clay soil with
absolutely NO rocks or even small stones or pebbles in it! I was
amazed, Shocked especially coming from a place where the soil is full
of rocks and stones.
The clay here sticks to everything and soon I found myself rolling my
pant legs up to keep the clay off them. The clay also builds up on the
bottom of my shoes so that after a while I'm a couple inches taller,
making it more difficult to walk. When I went to wash up, I realized
that the clay soil rinses off my hands much easier than the dirt back
in MA, but it's difficult to get off my shoes. I started thinking that
perhaps hobbits wore shortened trousers and no shoes because they were
always gardening. Possibly they found their clay soil rinses off bare
feet more easily than off footwear, and since there are no sharp stones
to step on there is no need for shoes!
While I worked I listened to the classical music station on the radio.
During lunch time they had a request program and one of the selections
was music from LOTR! My yard is separated from the next yard by a tall
solid wooden fence, but I could hear my neighbor come outside to smoke
a cigarette. He has a horrible weird smoker's cough that makes him
sound like Gollum! Rolling Eyes
Gardening here sure it full of ME moments!
Do Elves Play Soccer?
My colleagues at work play soccer at the weekend, in league matches for
Dublin junior clubs. This results in a lot of black eyes and patched
shins on Monday, as 'playing' is interpreted somewhat vaguely, and they
favour a 'physical' style of football.
This weekend two of them were sent off, and were fuming at the
unfairness of it all. But they told me that there was a kid on the
team, not more than 17, tiny as a hobbit and skinny, who drew the
ridicule of the whole changing room by turning up wearing The One Ring.
'What does it say in Elvish?' they asked him 'I am small but good?'
I was outraged.
'I hope, as you are a colleague of Varda, that you sprang to the youth's defence?'
Blank looks. Sigh. It is not easy for macho men to step out of the norm
and be interested in something connected with literature or Elves. But
I always rather thought that if the Elves did sport, it would be
soccer. Elrond is a born captain, and Haldir a great mid-fielder, and
of course Legolas even looks like Beckham....
What else would the Fair Folk play but The Beautiful Game?
I was watching the Tonight Show last night and saw Kevin Smith, the
director of “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy” and others. He turned the
discussion to ROTK saying that it was WWWWWAAAAYYYYYY too long. He then
proceeded to sum up all of the LOTR films as “... only about walking.”
He stood up and said “let me show you” and then started to walk across
the stage, stop and point upwards. He then returned to his starting
position and repeated this act only this time he pointed, looked
alarmed and then jumped to one side. For the third film, he repeated
all but the act of looking alarmed but proceeded to stop, take off his
wedding ring and drop it on the floor. Actually that part cracked me
up. Laughing Okay, it was inaccurate and a bit lame but having him boil
down over 11 hours of film to 30 seconds of pantomime was a little
funny in and of itself.
Middle-earth Moments abound -
I was out running errands this morning, but the place I needed to go
wasn't open yet - however, Powell's Books (the west-side store, still
the size of a small mall) was right nearby, so I popped in over there
to look around. Found a few Mrs. Pollifax books I'd been wanting, a
couple titles for my school library...helped some young girls on a
school field trip locate the Roald Dahl books...
Then a voice with a very pleasant English accent says behind me "Primula!"
Astonished to have anyone call me by my handle, I turned around and found myself getting a hug from our own Strange Elf!
"How Strange to find you here!" I replied, and we had a chance to
briefly chat - she was in my area visiting with a friend of hers, and
neither of us had planned on visiting the bookstore, much less being in
the same place in it at the same time - it's a huge maze of bookcases -
what a fine and pleasant serendipity.
Here's to chance encounters with out-of-town Ringers!
Today I was sitting alone at my own birthday party (oh woe) so I
watched telly for a bit and came across a film that I liked when I was
little: The Little Vampire. I used to have it on video, only dubbed in
So I was watching it again, in English this time, and then the father
of the vampire family came forth and introduced them as the family
"Sackville - Bagge".
I always knew that family was involved in bloodsucking!
My son is reading
about Elrond in the Silmarillion, and we have been discussing what
happens to him. A few minutes later I had to make a phone call to a
friend, Eldon; and yes, you see it coming, I called him Elrond. He's
not a LOTR person and had no idea where my brain was.
I thought it was funny.
- Strange Elf
Aragorn under arrest!
A good friend of mine bought the Aragorn standee and put it in her
window upstairs thinking that it might deter any would-be burglars. One
night there was a domestic quarrel in one of the apartments where she
lives which required the police to come out. They weren't sure of which
apartment it was, so were wandering about the complex. One of the
officers saw Aragorn silouetted in the window and said, "What are you
looking at?" Getting no response and thinking that he was holding a
rifle (Aragorn has his bow and arrows on his back..actually he is
holding a sword), he started yelling at him to put down his weapon and
A neighbor who knows my friend and knows what she had done with Aragorn
went up to the officer and said, "Do you know that you are yelling at a
cardboard stand-up?" At which point the rest of the policemen arrived
to see what the commotion was all about and my friend came out of her
apartment. Everyone, with the possible exception of the officer, was
rolling with laughter! One of the other policemen said to the officer,
"No more donuts for YOU!" I think this officer is going to be the brunt
of many jokes for many months to come!
Anyway, I just about fell off my chair laughing when my friend told me about this!
- Old Toby
We were filming a fan film about fangirls
and, of course, every fangirl fanfilm has to have a Legolas standee. We
were "borrowing" a local lengthy driveway surrounded by woods and had
gotten half way through filming when a car came driving through from
the house. We waved as they drove past, but seconds later, they slammed
on the brakes as they caught sight of Legolas standing next to some
trees by the road and then drove slowly on until they past by...I can
only wonder what they must have been thinking...
I spent the last three days in Ocean City, Maryland...just a little
get-away (holiday for our uk friends) before my husband's vacation from
teaching comes to an end. We rented jet ski's and sampled the most
amazing seafood I've had in a good long time. We suntanned during the
day and walked on the beach at night.
One night, on our way back to the hotel, we stopped in a pizza joint.
We sat and had a slice and talked over what we wanted to do the next
day. As we were leaving we saw a small nook that had arcade games. My
husband and I are very competitive with each other and we often times
take out our competitivesness on computer games or air hockey. Since
neither of us are very good at pinball we decided the pinball machine
in this pizza place wiuld be the next vicitim of our ongoing duel.
To my amazement, the pinball machine was LOTR themed! There was a big
plastic Balrog inthe middle that you had to bash when it lit up, and it
was decorated with small plastic characters of the fellowship, Gollum,
and Saurman. I lost miserably - but I'm blaming it on the fact
that I was entranced by the mini Aragorn figure...
Just now when I turned over the page of my
day-to-day Cedco LOTR calendar, I was unexpectedly moved by the picture
of today, which is one from Frodo at the Grey Havens.
It is not a picture of The One Smile, however, the smile that made us weep our little hearts out in theatres world-wide.
It's the moment just before that, which is almost even more
beautiful. Here's Frodo's face as he looks back at Sam and Merry and
Pippin, and you can see it all in those expressive eyes: the love, the
sadness, the joy. It is not yet the reassuring smile of 'everything is
going to be allright, I love you'; for the moment he's just looking
back at them, as if trying to remember every moment he has ever spent
with each of them, engraving them in his heart. It's beautiful.
I can't stop staring at this picture. It's like the Mona Lisa: his
facial expression seems different each time you look at it: sometimes
sad, sometimes happy, sometimes I can almost see a smile tugging at his
lips, at other times I imagine he is about to start crying. This
picture seems to have caught post-quest Frodo in one split second.
I'll be framing it.
Just wanted to share.
I was working in my office yesterday afternoon
and I left my radio on the local sports talk station while doing some
paperwork. It was there as background noise for the most part. The
radio station happened to be broadcasting the Penn State-Purdue
football game. Every so often I would take a break and turn up the
sound a bit to see what the score was. I’m not a fan of either team but
I have relatives and friends who have graduated from Penn State so I
was interested to see how they were doing. Well I got a surprise a
couple of times when in the background of the broadcast I heard the
band playing the Fellowship Theme from LOTR! For those of you unsure of
my reference, it’s the part of the score that is played every time
Howard Shore wanted to make a point about the Fellowship - I guess the
easiest reference would be the moment when they have defeated the Cave
Troll and run from Balin’s Tomb in FOTR.
To add to the enjoyment of that moment, I saw a good friend at a
Halloween party that evening who is a Penn State alumnus. He hadn’t
heard the outcome of the game (Penn State won) and I was telling him
about my little Middle-Earth moment when he interrupted me to say
“Yeah, my son heard it too! (he’s about 9 years old and loves the score
of the films).” Evidently they were listening to the broadcast on their
way to the party and the youngest heard the theme and just went crazy.
What a cool moment!
Two Towers was on tv
last night, so mum and I settled down to watch it, meanwhiles
discussing the changes PJ had made, and comparing TT with Fellowship. I
remarked that I liked FR better, because it was closer to the book.
"Yes," mum replied, "Apart from the Arwen thing." She said it with a
face of disgust. The Arwen-thing is a no-go area in our house.
"I liked Glorfindel better." I sulked, "wish they hadn't cut him."
"Yes," mum replied, warming to her theme, "And Gildor Inglorion as well. And Ellahir and Elrodan."
"Who," I enquired, somewhat bemusedly, "were Ellahir and Elrodan?"
"Oh, you know," mum answered, "The twin sons of Elrond. The elf-witch's
brothers...." Which brought us back to our original discussion.....
This is really a little thing. I was coming
home from the grocery store and I look over at the SUV in the left hand
turn lane and I see this big circle decal on his back window. I took a
double look and sure enough it was the writing from the outside of the
one ring. I wanted so bad to hop out of the car (wearing one of my LOTR
tshirts hehe) and say hey ringer you live in my neigborhood, but would
have been run over doing so. I have not met any ringers here in Orlando
and to see that in my little community just tickled me pink hehe. Oh
well wish I could have talked to them.
- Lady of Light