Chemical Rites of Spring

spring daffodils in st james's park london march 2009.jpg

In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Mine however turn to eating in the garden, so I inveigle my student son into digging out weeds while I do more strategic things with the secateurs. The garden furniture is swabbed down with sudsy chemicals, and the green plastic wheelie-bin is full of grass cuttings, dandelions, brambles and assorted braches.

Only three hours later, the former haven for wildlife, mostly slugs and cats, has been transformed into a harmonious hazard-free outdoor space suitable for an 80th birthday party, and welcoming to both octogenarians and manic six year-olds.
Since returning from NPRA last week with no shopping whatsoever, I have splashed out on two new dresses on the pretext of this family event – both totally synthetic: 71% viscose, 26% polyamide, 3% elastane. (Talk the talk, walk the walk.)  In doing so, I am unwittingly part of an international movement to spend money in the first week of April, inspired by the warmer weather and as a backlash to the frustrations of living with a devalued currency.
According to various clutching-at-straws articles in recent days, consumers everywhere have been returning to the shops to buy fashion, food and even property, although a bleaker article in today’s online Wall Street Journal warns that our new frugality has the potential to outlast the recession.

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