The Brooke-Rose Omnibus

Free The Brooke-Rose Omnibus by Christine Brooke-Rose

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Authors: Christine Brooke-Rose
season twelve to three. In winter seven to ten.
    – But it’s dark at seven in winter.
    – Yes well, as a matter of fact it’s rather a nominal concession anyway, because as you know in this time of severe unemployment overtime is almost universally disallowed. We’d have to get a special permit for you. Oh, but wait now, someone rang through about you. Mrs. Mgulu, that’s it. Oh well in that case the special permit might not be necessary.
    The pinkness of the flower is its gesture. It is essential to hold on to that. The earth is dark with mould. As humus decays it yields carbon dioxide, which, dissolved in the soil water, attacks the mineral particles and makes available the phosphate and potash they contain.
    In the white wall the glossy black door opens suddenly. The woman stands framed by the whiteness dressed in a black cotton overall. Pale eyes, pale hair, and the face is waxy. Have some Metabol. You dirty, you need washing. Behind the woman in the white frame the background is brown and cypress green.
    – Good morning.
    – Yes?
    – I’ve come about the gardening job.
    – Oh, yes. My husband’s somewhere about. Come in.
    The path leads straight up to a small white cottage. On either side of the path the converging cypress hedges engulf the woman in the black overall, which may after all be a dress, or a black rectangle on two white pillars moving up the path. The cypress hedges are trimmed flat and square at eye-level. On the other side of the left-hand hedge is the field of tomato plants protected from the heat by straw wigwams that stretch out like a vast encampment. On the other side of the right-hand hedge the tall cob-corn grows higher than the hedge.
    – Wait here, will you, I’ll go and call him.
    The left foot, in its dirty canvas shoe, is in an elongated hexagonal tile like a benzene ring, or, for that matter, aminobenzoic acid. Benzoic acid given to an animal reacts with amino-acid glycine and is excreted as hippuric acid. The heel is on the atoms nitrogen hydrogen two, the toe on the atoms oxygen two hydrogen, or for that matter on the atoms sulphur oxygen two nitrogen hydrogen two, the ring of sulphanilamide being very similar in shape. The process is known as competitive inhibition. The shoe of the right foot is caked with dry mud, and looks dirtier than the shoe of the left foot, which is merely dusty. The big toe of the left foot is wearing out the canvas.
    – Good morning.
    – Good morning. I believe Mrs. Mgulu –
    – Yes, she told me about it. You know Mrs. Mgulu well?
    – Yes, I mean no. It’s my wife. She works –
    – Oh, I see. Well I’m glad you’re punctual, there’s plenty to do. These old gladioli corms have to be lifted for one, and sorted for spawn which must be kept separately for saving. I suppose you know all about that. As a matter of fact they’ve been left there so long, owing to one thing and another, it may not be possible to keep the spawn this year, and it’ll soon be time to replant, from stock I mean. You’ll have to prepare the soil. I did think of just leaving them there, the winter’s been mild so far and the soil’s well drained, it would just have to be mulched with leaves. But the calochorti are going to be planted just in front of them at about the same time so it’s best to prepare the ground anyway. I suppose you know about celosia, do you? I’m trying a little experiment here.
    Above the gesture are the two mauve flowers. The red network of veins is very fine. Mrs. Mgulu watches through the fine network of bare branches, from a window in the big house, made just discernible by the leaflessness. No, Mrs. Mgulu walks in the olive grove beyond the bougainvillaea, and in among the laurel trees, through the red poinsettia. Beyond the tall wrought-iron gates the mimosas are in bloom. Clay occurs mostly in colloid form which is not chemically inert, like sand, and this makes it indispensable to soil fertility. I suppose you know all about base

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