The word mellow acquired a dubious reputation in the 60s with that goofy Donovan song and later with the antics of Cheech and Chong. If it didn't reek of marijuana, it would be a useful member of worddom.
Sometimes it manages, for example in talking about wine and dogs that lose the desire to bite, or in this odd sentence from Wolf Hall:
"The mellow brick frontage is smaller than he remembers, but that is what memory does."
I had to wonder when I read it how on earth mellow was being used. I imagine the red bricks have faded with age? They've gone soft and chalky, and are possibly intoxicated?
The proximity of mellow to brick also evoked Oz's yellow brick road, and I wondered what on earth kind of bricks those could have been. Gold, I guess. I'd never asked myself.
Though mellow and the prefix melo- have no known ties, there is a hidden affinity between mellow and melodrama, that which makes the eyes well stupidly with tears and softens the grey matter to a mushy pulp.
I guarantee none of this happens in Wolf Hall, however. The stiff upper lip prevails.
It has been a busy morning on page 510!
Song of the day: Factory, Martha Wainwright