Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Going Bananas


The picture above was taken on the island of Tenerife, and marks the moment when I first discovered  that bananas grow pointing upwards in bunches, and not down, as I had expected.


It's a rather grainy image because it is scanned from a 35mm slide and was taken thirty-eight years ago on our honeymoon, when we looked like this. We know a lot more about bananas these days as we live on the neighbouring island of Lanzarote, here in the Canary Islands. Lanzarote doesn't grow bananas as  we have less rainfall than Tenerife and it can be a bit more windy, which banana plants don't like apparently. My next 'banana surprise' came when we encountered the fruit in shops and markets. They can look distinctly unappetising as they don't have to be of uniform size and colour, as you find in supermarkets in England. However, they taste delicious and are just as good for you!







EU Commission Regulations state that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature," though Class 1 bananas can have "slight defects of shape" and Class 2 bananas can have full "defects of shape." (EC) 2257/94. I can vouch for the 'double banana' I discovered here  three years ago as being very tasty (though it had twice the calories!

More often than not it's the green bananas on sale in both supermarkets and on market stalls, like this one in Mancha Blanca last August. They soon ripen when we bring them home however. This quick video shows a family plantation in Tenerife.



That's the end of the travelogue, but if you want to know how we went bananas last Christmas.......





















It was by playing 'Bananagrams'. In actual fact it probably kept us sane. Here we are on 15th December, just three days after my Dad's funeral, applying ourselves to the game. Mum, at 92, still does daily crosswords and it showed in the words she was producing! We were pretty evenly matched and I can't remember whose words are shown above. The point was we were thoroughly imersed. It had been a tough week, as we'd also lost my sister-in-law the day before Dad's funeral. So, after dinner, we cracked open another bottle of wine and decided to start getting into the Christmas games. We were determined not to be gloomy as both these much loved family members had enjoyed playing games. I'm not sure if the wine helped or hindered, but we were certainly more 'relaxed'.

Alan's Sepia Saturday picture prompt for this week showed men selling, among other things, bananas, so I went down that track...and look where it lead me! 



This picture is bound to produce a crop of great old photos and stories and there'll be a bunch of other contributions by Saturday, so why not take your pick and join in the fun. Add your own picture or story and visit other Sepians. If you really like old photos and stories, but don't want to add a contribution yet, join our Facebook Page where we have nearly as much fun.

40 comments:

  1. Many people are not aware how things actually grow. Great post.

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  2. What fun facts about bananas! What a wonderful photo of you both looking happy celebrating your day! That game looks mighty fun too. I just learned last week a fact about bananas that I was going to google, haven't yet, but someone said that after a tree produces bananas it's cut down so it can grow more? Seems odd to me, I thought they just kept growing and growing. Your Mum looks so precious there, and she reminds me of my own mum being ever so intent on her game! Please give her an extra hug from me!

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  3. Karen, I think the little video above explains it better. The 'mother' produces 'sons' until she's worn out! They save the best 'son' and then presumably that's when Ma has to go :)

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  4. Yes, finally got it to play, and it answered my questions! Thanks for sharing this!

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  5. Hello:
    At the risk of saying that we have gone bananas [oh dear, now we have said it after all]over this post, we have been most intrigued by the life of the banana, something which we had scant knowledge of previously.

    The idea of 'Bananagrams' is such fun and your mother looks to be an accomplished player. Wonderful! We too are crossword addicts and so would be bound to love playing it.

    Such a sad time for you all at the end of the year. May 2013 bring you all joy!

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  6. I had no idea bananas could be so interesting! I guess we shouldn't take them so much for granted. Great post.

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  7. Bananas, yes we certainly are. Reminded me of the Jimmy Edwards song of the 50/60s "I've Never Seeb a Straight Banana"

    Until today I thought his was the original version. However, the Harmoniums did it in the 1920s

    The Youtube thingy should take you to it

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wQdonjxL1U

    There is, I'm sure, a way to get this to happen, but until I'm shown how, the address will have to be typed in.

    Great twist.

    Mike

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  8. A banana farm must require a lot of space. I imagine it's a fine place to escape the heat too. Your mom looks great. It's good you had the presence of mind to snap a picture in anticipation of the SS prompt (although maybe you weren't thinking about bananas at the time).

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    1. Wendy, I'm not quite that forward thinking. I was making a photo-book for Mum of how she spent the two weeks, so I was snapping away all the time. Also, I sent pics back to the family, who were greatly cheered to see Mum/grandma relaxed after such a harrowing time for her. She loves the book and is showing it off back home.

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  9. That siamese twin banana looks delicious. I demand more Class 2 shape-challenged fruit!

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  10. The banana twins were news to me. I worked in the egg business for a long time and saw plenty of double yolks and I just picked a naval orange whose naval was almost as large as the "mother" resulting in a Siamese twin look. I'm so impressed with the bananagram words. Existential?? What a coup!

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  11. I always slice a banana over my muesli each morning. We also played Bananagrams at Christmas. It must be blogging that makes us go bananas!

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  12. Thoroughly entertaining post in which I had the opportunity to go bananas with you, know a bit about you and your surroundings, and you even shared your sorrow and the bananagrams which kept you sane. Thank you.

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  13. We have that game, although it must be a year or two since we've played it. It's school holidays still, so I must get it out again. It can get very frantic!

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    1. Brett, you're obviously more excitable than we are! Mind you three senior citizens are bound to be more 'measured' in their approach. I must admit we've played it every week since. The joy being the short length of each round.

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  14. My mother-in-law beat me at Scrabble on Christmas Day, several times. She's definitely not 'going bananas' yet.

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  15. I'm impressed that you managed to play Scrabble 'several times' on Christmas Day. Once would be enough for me. I love it, but it takes too long. This is more 'quickfire'.

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  16. Hi Marilyn, well first, your banana post is very interesting. I enjoyed the video, and have never seen "banana twins" before. To think that I didn't even realize that they are not always growing in a uniform shape!

    All I know is that I like them, you can't eat the peel, they are sprayed with chemicals during shipping to kill the tarantulas that like to hitch a ride in the cargo containers.

    Love the picture of your Mom, and am glad that December is behind you. I was so sad for all of you, and still am.

    Kathy M.

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  17. What a great twist on the theme! Glad I came by from Sepia Saturday!

    Jan

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  18. I love bananas! Reminds me I haven't eaten them for a while! I also like red wine and your picture reminded me that it's nearly wine o'clock!

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  19. A very enjoyable post. I love bananas and I love them even more now!

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  20. There used to be a wonderful Music Hall song called "You'll Never See A Straight Banana", but I suspect that if we put the challenge out, someone would post a photo before the sun went down. As your double banana shows, the world is full of weird and wonderful things. As far as games are concerned, I often think they have suffered from a bad press - they are the mortar that binds society together I have always thought.

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    1. Alan, the other Mr Burnett beat you to it - see his comment above! There still a wonderful music hall song, just no more wonderful music halls, sadly.

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  21. The minute they spot them in a Brussels shop, I'm sure the EC will classify the twin bananas as Class 5. I'm glad to see your Mum is in good shape. Hitting the occasional glass of wine will certainly help her maintain her relaxed attitude! Whose is the empty glass? ;)

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    1. That was Mum's glass; we were on refills :)

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  22. I shared a post on Facebook about the benefits of bananas which I only discovered when I had done oysters. It's worth reading. My son successfully grew banana plants in Cornwall, but I don't know whether they ever produced fruit (www.scotney.com and link to bananacam).
    I never knew the grew that way up either.

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  23. "The EU Goes Bananas!" Who Knew!A Lovely Post Nell & My Condolences on Your Losses X

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  24. Wonderful facts about bananas. Who knew?
    I'm also sorry for your unfortunate year. Let's hope 2013 will be lots better.
    Nancy

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  25. Loved your title and the way you picked upon the photo prompt to tell us all about bananas - plus linking with scrabble of all things. Great fun!

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  26. I learned a few things about bananas! I almost wish I could find a malformed banana here.

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  27. When I lived in London years ago, I discovered that there were more geographic varieties of bananas sold in Britain than in the US. I was rather proud of the many banana stickers from different countries that I collected on my refrigerator door. I wouldn't think you see many bananas from Costa Rica.

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  28. The only song that comes to mind and I don't know the title or who sang it, but one line goes: ♫ ♫Yes, we have No bananas, we have No bananas today♫ ♫ Great post Little Nell.

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  29. I didn't know that bit about bananas, thanks for mentioning that. There's a superstition in my part of the world that if a pregnant woman eats twin bananas, she's going to give birth to twins. That's what I remembered when I saw your photo. It's been awhile since I saw 'twin' bananas. You two looked great on your honeymoon. Fun read your post was.

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  30. For sure one of the things I love about SS is what I learn. Great post entertaining and informative.
    QMM

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  31. Bananas grow upwards! the things you learn here on Saturday.

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  32. Bring on the Class 2's if you get double rations :-) I enjoyed a visit to a banana plantation in the North of Tenerife many years ago - very interesting. Hope your Mum and the rest of the family are doing OK. Jo

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  33. We grow Bananas in our garden and most people do not know that they grow with points up, the funny fact that Bananas are classed as herbaceous plants in the wonderful botanical world. Your honeymoon picture is delightful! We play sometimes Bananarama keeps the old grey ones going.

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  34. So sorry for the multiple losses. What a wonderfully supportive family you have. When doing my post, I re-listened to a Fresh Air episode about bananas. apparently there is a red-skinned banana that is quite tasty. They said the bananas we get in the supermarket are quite bland in comparison to many varieties.

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  35. 2012 certainly ended roughly for you and your family.
    I remember my first Holidays after my mom passing,
    fixing the place up and then feeling nauseous,
    removing most of the decorations and stashing them away till the following year.
    It was a most difficult time.
    Glad to see your spirit remained sane even if your heart is hurting.

    As for bananas, when I saw that pic, the only thing that came to mind was
    "banana for two"!?!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  36. It infuriates me that fruit has to be a certain size and shape. I'll always choose irregularly shaped fruit if I can becuase I know it's not been selected on size. I am fed up that you can no longer get large Branley cooking apples in Waitrose, just the kind I like for baked apples. Grrr!

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