True Colours

Saturday 23rd September 2000

sunflower NEXT DOOR'S SUNFLOWER looks down on us over the hedge. It hangs its heavy head, nodding and shrugging nonchalantly in the slight breeze. This is the stoutest of a group of sunflowers grown from seeds taken out of the chicken feed. Its weaker companion was blown over by a sharp gust a few weeks ago. We rescued this one (our neighbours were away at the time) by tying its stake to our bird table.

A Comma butterfly suns itself on the patio window.

I harvest our first Purple French Beans (we were late putting them in). Unfortunately the dark purple is lost in the boiling and they show their true colours as green beans. The mere handful I get means that we almost have to count them individually as we serve our dinner guests.

Now, how did my Dad count beans? He'd answer the question 'How many beans make five?' in a staccato voice which he'd apparently perfected during his time as a sergeant in the war;

'A bean, a bean and half, a bean and a half and half a bean.'

Arithmetic was never my strong point.

My thanks to Joseph Court who writes;
'The version I remember goes as follows : -

Two beans,
a bean,
a bean and half and
half a bean.

This DOES add up to five. :) '

Alan Ford writes: 'for the record, my dad always used to say...

A bean, a bean, a bean and a half, half a bean and a bean.'

Yes, that comes to five. And he also remembers these:

'How many yards are there in a back yard?' or 'How many yards are there in a ball of chalk?'

Related Link

Joseph Court's History of Wakefield web site.
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Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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