the view from the lane
One undeserved loss (Birmingham), one hard-fought come-back win (Leeds) and a tenacious
draw at Liverpool. And the summer signings, notably Postiga, Kanoute and Zamora. Suddenly
Spurs had the potential to score goals, and goals such as Fredis against Leeds.
There was a sense of optimism at the Lane. That last statement should be qualified. There
is often a sense of optimism at the Lane, because things can only get better when
theyre not going very well. This time, though, we really believed it could last.
Then we lost 0-3 to Fulham, who seemed to have Gulliver (Zat Knight) in central
defence, while a series of Lilliputians scurried around him. I calculated that, had all
the Fulham outfield, besides Knight, stood on each others shoulders, they still
wouldnt have been as tall as Antony Gardner. It passed the time less gallingly than
following the ball.
A single amusing thing emerged from that game Hoddles explanation for the
defeat. It went: The coaching staff warned the team before the match that you
cant switch the lights on every time, that you have to grind out results. We
didnt smell that one coming. The car was in neutral and we couldnt put it in
the drive. Later he was spotted with a rolled-up copy of The Times, trying to
exchange suitcases with a Russian-looking man.
Our defence the same that performed minor miracles at Anfield was,
needless to say, woeful. No one had a good game. Simon Davies later admitted that he had
been playing below par for six months. Our midfield, overrun, waved the white flag. They
were not aided by the switch from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 at half-time, evidently because Ledley
King was fatigued, which the manager explained thus: Ledley found a sparrow but the
grass needed cutting. (I made that up.) Immediately afterwards, we went to the pub,
moaned for ages, then sent off for Man City away tickets. Well, its supposed to be a
Kanoute has art on his side; Zamora has stature and determination. Postiga lacks
physical presence, but banged them in at Porto. All three need time to settle. Robbie
Keane should return soon, and Poyet looks set for Chelsea. Zieges back in training.
And we have our very own Inter Milan reject in Stephane Dalmat. If they all fail, even
placid little Taricco had started spraying bullets towards the onion bag from 30 yards.
Having lost, inevitably, to Chelsea and Southampton, Glenda will either be ousted
immediately, or will be shortly on his way. Will the players be sad? Hands up, who thinks
No Bring on Graham Taylor.
Stop Press. As we went to press, Hoddle was fired. Editor.
by Luisa Ferrari
The true seasonal impact of autumn with its spectacular colours is often
associated with natural landscapes rather than urban situations, where it tends to express
itself in more muted tones.
This is due to various factors. On the one hand, town planting does not traditionally pay
much attention to seasonal variation, being primarily concerned with surviving pollution
and tough growing conditions. On the other, autumn colour is not a totally reliable
henomenon as it depends largely on the thermal excursion experienced by the vegetation
during the months before leaf fall. The leaves respond to the increasingly cold nights by
colouring more intensely the more temperatures drop. During mild autumns, or in very
protected situations such as small, sheltered gardens, plants are not stimulated into
producing the same fiery shades that would occur in exposed conditions.
When it does happen, however, autumn colour is a spectacularly rewarding effect in the
garden and one that should find a place even in the smallest plot. The real trick is to
select plants that are fairly reliable in autumn but will also perform for more than just
one season. In diminutive spaces this is certainly preferable to the general tendency of
choosing deciduous specimens with showy but brief flowering in spring and an otherwise
undistinguished presence for the rest of the year.
One well-placed specimen can enliven the garden for months and further enrich it with a
seasonal miracle. The beautiful wine red foliage of the purple smoke bush (Cotinus
coccygria Royal Purple and Velvet Cloak) lasts all season and
produces redorange tints in autumn. It can be pruned back or made into a small tree and it
is well worth a space in the sun in any garden. Japanese maples are famous for turning to
fiery shades in the right conditions. They also offer delicate-looking foliage in a range
of interesting shapes and their graceful silhouettes make them handsome garden features
even when leafless. They do need acid to neutral soil (you will need to check it with a pH
testing kit), moist but well drained. Fortunately they make very good subjects for
(generous) containers, if watered attentively. Given an adequate backdrop, a potted
specimen can become the focal point of the outdoor space, providing change with the
If allowed enough space to climb without restriction, the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus
henryana, with beautiful silver veins in its foliage) will take centre stage in the autumn
by reliably covering walls and fences in a dramatic crimson curtain. It has self-clinging
stems and will reach over 10 metres. For a less permanent commitment, the spirit of autumn
can be celebrated for a couple of months with a well-placed container packed with suitably
coloured subjects. The compact varieties of modern potted chrysanthemums and/or ornamental
cabbages in cream and purple create wonderful displays at the same cost as a bunch of
flowers. A mass of rusty red and orange pansies planted early will actually start
flowering before the weather turns cold rather than wait till spring, but remember to
water and feed the plants adequately for best results.
Luisa Ferrari lives in Stoke Newington and is gardening correspondent for the
Italian magazine Giardinaggio.
She can be contacted on 020 7249 6762 for advice on gardening.