THIS LIFE Muriel Bolger
I LOVE THE INTER-WEB THINGY. It was made for people like me – people whose minds flit from one thing to another with no logical sequence whatever. I can get lost for hours on oblique journeys along the most inconsequential pathways.
If I were interested I could unearth answers to almost anything I ever wanted to know – and much I didn’t. I could find out when the Gullwing Mercedes was first rolled out, or when the DeLorean factory closed. I could discover the distance from Gobbler’s Nob to Hackballs Cross. I could even find out how to interpret those silly symbols on my dishwasher – the ones that look as though the cups and saucers will be spin dried if I select them.
With the inter-web thingy I can keep abreast with who is bedding whom and other not so fascinating snippets from the world of celeb-dom. I can even find out who is still alive and whose funeral I missed.
I‘ve learned that there’s no such thing as a nine-day wonder any more. A few spots on a high profile talent show, or making cakes with soggy bottoms and you’ll be forgotten before the next week. But, paradoxically, if you’ve been captured making goofy faces, and on bad hair days or after a few tipples too many, you’ll always be there, captured forever on the little screen, leaving a trail you certainly would not have wanted behind you.
This tangent got me thinking – and that’s another thing, it’s too easy to stray from the purpose of the interweb search and meander aimlessly along other routes. Anyway, that tangent got me thinking that, apart from the obvious – kind, generous, caring, etc – how would I like to be remembered?
Ellen DeGeneres has a parasitic wasp named after her, Aleiodes elleni. For Boris Becker it’s a bursid sea snail called Bufonaria borisbeckeri. Patrick O’Brian, the writer of English naval books, has been honoured with a weevil called Daisya obriani. A trapdoor spider Aptostichus bonoi is Bono’s legacy, while Freddie Mercury has a Mercurana (tree frog) commemorating him. Apparently he spent much of his childhood in Panchgani in India, where this frog was discovered.
Personally I’d prefer to be remembered by something with a little more visual appeal. Joanna Lumley (name dropping here – I think that’s called shadow celebing, if not, it should be!) once told me she’d like her legacy to be to leave a long avenue of trees behind her when she’s gone. Marilyn Monroe and Julie Andrews have roses called after them and a few years ago Stephen Fry joined those ranks. His species is a ‘quixotic mix of yellow and creamy red petals with distinctive wavy-edged single flowers.’
I can think of nothing nicer than being remembered as a flower or a tree. So in an idle moment I began trawling the inter-web thingy to see if I’d find a flower to call my own. And I did! Several in fact. I discovered that there’s an umbrella bamboo, Fargesia murielae, which has yellow canes and is native the mountains in central China. I am led to believe it’s also the preferred food of the giant panda. Introduced to the wider world by plant hunter E H Wilson, he has given his name to over 2,000 plants. He called this one after his daughter, Muriel.
In 1998 an 80- to one 100-year-old specimen in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum sent the horticultural world into a whirlwind of excitement as it flowered for the first time – and the last. Muriel only blossoms once in her life and dies. And that’s what she did! I hope that’s not prophetic…
Apparently I make an excellent cut flower as a first cousin to the tall elegant gladiola. By comparison, another species – Acidanthera murielae – is a sweet-smelling and long-lasting (if pretty poor relation) but I’m glad to see I’m also very suited to occupying a large container, or more. No surprises there.
As a fuchsia, I don’t fare too badly either. There, I’m a semi-double bluishmagenta corolla with sepals of scarlet and I produce a fruit that is edible, but not appetising! I’m a bit of a diva though as I don’t tolerate drought, high humidity, or high summer heat.
However it’s as a rose that I really come into my own. The variety was created by California grower Ralph Moore in 1989. It’s light pink and ‘very double’ with up to 100 petals in each bloom. ‘Muriel R. bracteata must be considered one of the great, dangerous and achingly beautiful wild beasts of the rose kingdom… it’s nature, like a lion’s, is wild and impossible to really tame.’ Now that’s what I’d call a bit of a show-off, and is definitely one I’d like to be remembered by.
Can you now see why I love this inter-web thingy? There’s another morning gone, happily lost in my own parallel universe of trivia.
An internet search got me thinking that, apart from the obvious – kind, generous, caring, etc – how would I like to be remembered?