Fair Comment

Becky is producing a power-point training presentation for Mitcham’s Commonside Trust. Trawling through the web for suitable images she found one that was ideal for the point she wished to make. She was unaware of the picture’s provenance. Upon attempting to use it, she found it too large for her purposes. She returned to find out whether she could make it smaller. This time she discovered the credit. The photograph was from one of my posts.11831282_10153233541113999_1646686465_o

Wondering what were the odds, she has sent me the relevant page from the presentation. The image of the little church fete was my picture. The quality of Becky’s production is clear from her captions.

I have been unable to access the internet on my PC for a couple of days. This is because the icon came up in my taskbar, but I couldn’t move it to the screen. I rang Hewlett Packard this morning and discovered that I had managed to press two keys, so far apart as to make that a very difficult achievement, simultaneously. This informed my computer that it was possessed of two screens, so the internet page wandered off to a non-existent one. With the problem solved, I had 325 e-mails to deal with. Needless to say, that task was not fully completed.

Before phoning technical support, I had hoed, raked, and trimmed encroaching ground cover plants from three gravel paths. I then walked to the post box. The farmer has now harvested his rape crop, so I was able to walk across the field and down to the stream, which was now looking rather dried up, and back.Stream

Recently, Jackie heavily pruned a lilac that was growing over the pergola path. This afternoon, with my usual kit of fork, spade, and axe, I eradicated the residue, sometimes tracking trailing roots some way across the bed.

Japanese anemone and clematis Campaniflora

In the front garden the minute flowers of the prolific rambling clematis, Campaniflora dances among the Japanese anemones and everything else within reach of its tentacles.

Rose Special Anniversary

Special Anniversary is being celebrated in the rose garden,

Rose Compassion

and Compassion soars above the giant thistle and over the Dead End Path.

This evening we dined on gammon steak, lamb’s liver, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, all done to perfection. Equally perfectly, I microwaved the Tesco’s syrup sponge puddings, onto which we spooned thick double cream. I drank more of the Teroldego Rotaliano, and Jackie enjoyed her Hoegaarden.

A Mirror Image

Jackie planting Aloha In erecting a climbing frame for the juvenile roses, Aaron completed his invaluable contribution to their playground. The top bar was the stair rail; the posts had been found lying about in the undergrowth; we bought the retaining spikes. Jackie couldn’t wait to plant the Aloha. Jackie drove us to Mat and Tess’s new home in Upper Dicker, for lunch. Becky and Ian arrived before us. August in our popular holiday area meant that the journey took three hours. After enjoying a splendid lunch and spending a most enjoyable family afternoon together, the return journey occupied half an hour less. 2438442_167b58d2Village Shop rear Our son and his wife are in the process of buying The Village Shop, which I have featured several times, the spacious flat above it, and a two story outbuilding. Tess has been running this shop for some years now. This surprisingly spacious building, approximately 350 years old, is steeped in history, and full of character. SaladSausages and chops We lunched on the garden table. As always, Tess catered admirably, providing an array of salads to accompany Mat’s proficient barbecuing of sausages and lamb chops. Various beverages were also consumed, and excellent coffee accompanied the DIY desserts. Desserts

The DIY aspect of this was to assemble your own selection from the choices on offer.

We were rather plagued with wasps. These fearsome little creatures swarmed over the table, some drowning themselves in the beer and wine, others escaping from the glasses.Wasp in glass

Occasionally those we fished out of our drinks would shake themselves dry and crawl off in staggered zigzags.

Sunlight through wineglass

Sunlight played tricks, making me think I was seeing one of the insects reflected on my napkin.

With the addition of nectarine juices to traces of wine, my lips became increasingly attractive to the vespas. I am firmly of the opinion that if you don’t disturb wasps, they won’t sting you. Therefore, when they choose to crawl on me, I leave them to it, grit my teeth, try not to emit the smell of fear, and hope for the best. Having two of them trample across your bottom lip, tests your resolve to the limit.

So it was today. I was reasonably courageous until I began to feel a pricking sensation. I wasn’t being stung, but it was getting a little uncomfortable. I eventually realised that one of the creatures was drilling into my lip in search of the source of the tempting juices. At that point I welcomed the attentions of Matthew and Jackie and their wafted serviettes.

Mat, Tess & Scooby

Mat and Tess borrowed Scooby for a family photograph

Matthew and Becky 5.75 03

that turned out to be almost a mirror image of one of Mat and Becky taken in Soho in May 1975.

Behind Mat and Tess is their additional building.

Aesthetics Did Not Come Into The Equation

This morning, I received a tag from my friend June Brokas, prompted by yesterday’s post, to this news item from ITV:

‘A place for reflection: ‘invisible’ shed wins top prize

Invisible shed
“Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation. Credit: Manchester School of Art

An ‘invisible shed’ has scooped the top prize in the ‘Shed of the Year’ competitiion at RHS Tatton.

Manchester School of Art were joint winners of the ‘Shed of the Year’ prize with their ‘Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation.’

Invisible shed
Clare Knox Bentham and Adrian Digaudio Manchester School of Art Credit: Manchester School of Art

As well as a mirrored exterior, the shed has mirrored walls on the inside reflecting any visitor back on themselves infinitely.

As a finishing touch, the artists added a mirror ball, turning the humble garden shed into a miniature disco.’

We think that is going a bit too far.
Hinge plateRusty screwHinge plate lowerAfter yesterday’s searing heat, much of the morning was spent watering the hundreds (I do not exaggerate) of containers and the recently planted flowers.
Those readers who have read earlier posts about the work done inside the house will know that our predecessors appeared to be DIY enthusiasts.  If there were enough ill-fitting materials to make something work, aesthetics did not come into the equation. If it were at all possible to position objects unaligned, crooked, or not matching, there would be no problem in finding a way.
Cut screwsSo it was with the industrial strength hinge plate screwed halfway up the wooden arch into the rose garden. Set somewhat askew, and too wide for its post, with one empty eye socket,and a sagging cheek, it pleaded with us each time we entered that area. The Head Gardener decided it had to go. I knew at the outset that this would be a hack-saw job, but in order to avoid that, I initially, rather less than hopefully, tried screwdrivers, and even a bolt cutter.
Whilst labouring with the saw, I glanced down and spotted another plate at the foot of the post, thus confirming my suspicions that there would once have been a gate attached. Though why the structure had to be so strong was a mystery. The Head Gardener, of course, knew that the lower plate was there. She had hoped I would take that one off as well. My initial reaction was that no way was that going to happen. I couldn’t get down there for a start. But, on reflection that seemed rather churlish. So, using Jackie’s kneeler as a seat, I did the job.
Roses
Rose Love Knot
Love Knot
Rose Festive Jewel
and Festive Jewel
are both comparatively short climbers we have placed within small obelisks.
Clematis Warsaw Nike
A clematis Warsaw Nike has taken to the Ace Reclaim Arch,
Fuschia Frosted Flame
and fuchsia Frosted Flame, suspended from the dead Snake Bark maple overlooks the Brick Path.
Children in tree tunnel
I took a short walk into Downton Lane, sat on a wall, and waited for a shot. Two children entering a ‘tree tunnel’, obliged.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole (recipe) served with creamy mashed swede and potato, and crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by apple and cherry pie and cream. The Cook supped Hoegaarden whilst I quaffed Teroldego Rotaliano superiore 2011.

Quiet Reflection

After a morning clearing shrubberies and watering window boxes, we took a trip to Efford Recycling Centre. Although we did dump more sections of aluminium frames, probably the last of the alleged ‘greenhouse, unassembled’, the real purpose of the trip was to seek out mirrors from the sales section.

Mirrors

Jackie found two perfect specimens.

Yes, we know each would be an acquired taste, but for what we had in mind they were perfect.

Penny Lane is a climbing rose. Just about a foot tall at the moment it will climb to 8′.

rose Penny Lane 1Rose Penny Lane 2

The first new bud emerging early this morning was fully opened by the afternoon.

Margaret Merrill rose

Margaret Merrill, equally virginal crisp and fresh two days ago, glowed, blowsy, in the morning light.

This gloriously hot and sunny afternoon I wandered around the garden whilst Jackie went off to do some shopping.

View through Rose Garden Entrance

From the second armchair in the rose garden one can see past tall roses in the Oval Bed to the gladioli in the former compost bed, around flutter numerous butterflies like this Small White:

Butterfly Small White

View down Pergola Path

Leaving the rose garden  let us walk through the arch and turn right on the pergola path where agapanthus nods to petunias and montbretia hides in long ornamental grasses.

View from grass patch

Dump bench

From the grass patch to the left, looking over the top of the Dump Bench, so called because it was an early purchase from the recycling centre, the stable door is glimpsed.

Monbretia

We have quite a lot of montbretia. It likes shade but doesn’t always hide,

Hollyhocks

although these pink hollyhocks are attempting to do so.

Later, we hung our mirrors. Now, please don’t run away with the idea that we have both been struck by an attack of narcissism. There is enough seating in the rose garden now to encourage quiet reflection.

Mirror 2

The mirrors are positioned to reflect the sunlight into darker corners.

Mirror 1

One, with the armchair, and the clock, provides a cosy corner for reflection in both senses.

In the third Test Match, Australia rallied and set England 121 to win. The home team lost two wickets in reaching the target.

Our dinner this evening was provided by Hordle Chinese Take Away. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I made further inroads into the beaujolais.

I Was Transfixed

Ace Reclamation delivered our rose garden furniture this morning, and Jackie and I set it up.

Rose Alan Titchmarsh

Rose Alan Titchmarsh has bloomed.

UnknownAlan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE, DL, (b. 2.5.49) , was the subject of quite a bit of banter on yesterday’s post, but, in all seriousness, if anyone deserves to have a rose named after him it is this well known garden expert. An English gardener, broadcaster, and novelist after working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, he has established himself as a media personality through appearances on TV gardening programmes, the current one being ‘Love Your Garden’. In this series, members of the public who have been nominated by others for his garden makeover are the recipients of an instant, themed, creation.

Elsewhere in the garden many scented roses, like Compassion are well into their second flowering.

Rose Compassion

Here is a view of the Shady Path across the Dragon’s Bed:

View across Dragon BedPG

Elizabeth visited briefly for lunch.

Paving completion

This afternoon Aaron finished his paving, by carefully inserting fiddly bits he had cut out with an angle grinder. Along the eastern fence lies old timber and spikes for him to build a support for climbers on that side.

Jackie in view from Rose Garden bench

The lighter wood just visible is our old stair rail. The view is from the bench.

Jackie in view from Rose Garden entrance

Others are from the entrance;

View from Rose Garden arch

from the rose arch;

View from Elizabeth's Bed corner

 from Elizabeth’s bed;

View across Rose Garden from second armchair

and from the second armchair.

Whilst digging a hole for a rose, quite some way down, Jackie unearthed another historic coin of the realm. What’s historic about a 1983 £1? If thirty two years doesn’t seem a particularly long time ago, you may well ask.£1 coin

When was the first £1 coin issued? You’ve guessed it. Jackie may well have dug up one of the very first minted. It bears a young head of the current Queen, Elizabeth II, and has clearly not benefited from perhaps more than three decades underground. When this piece was shiny and new in April 1983 it would have bought a packet of 20 cigarettes, five pints of milk or 30 minutes at a Manchester United match. Today you pay closer to £8 for the fags, £2.50 for the milk and see only three minutes of the football. But some things are cheaper: while £1 would only get you four minutes on a landline phone call at peak time in 1983, today it would give you at least 10 minutes.

Kept in a soil, gravel, and clay safe, its value has not really been enhanced.

Throughout my first 41 years £1 sterling was paper money. It wasn’t even the lowest denomination note. Until decimalisation in 1971, that was ten shillings or 50% of £1. These notes both feature in ‘Then The Tableau Spoke’. I found two at different times before about 1952. It was then worth taking one to the police station and handing them in as found property. If such items were unclaimed after one month, they were yours. I recovered each one.

Nowadays, I doubt whether anyone would consider £5 to be worth going to that trouble. Volume193Our current £5 note is a pathetic little scrap in comparison with the “White Fiver” of my first fifteen years. The 1793 design, with black printing on white paper, remained in circulation essentially unchanged until 21 February 1957, when the multicoloured notes were first introduced. You could still use the old note until it was withdrawn on 13 March 1961.

When I was about seven, I found myself in a shop, probably queueing.  I really don’t know what the establishment was, or who was with me.  But I can still see the large, thin, sheet of printed paper measuring, I now know, 211mm x 133mm, brandished by a gentleman. ‘Know what that is, boy?’ he asked. The question was rhetorical. He quickly followed up with the answer. ‘A £5 note’. So transfixed was I by that object that I have no idea what the man looked like.  I’d never heard of such a sum, and never saw another “White Fiver”.

This evening I watched the highlights of the second day of the Edgbaston Ashes Test. England completed their first innings with a lead of 145. Australia followed this with 168 for 7. In other words, a five day match was virtually over in two days.

Our dinner consisted of chicken Kiev, chips, and baked beans. I know, It sounds dicey, but it was delicious, especially with the Georges du Beuf beujolais 3 villages 2013 Danni and Andy gave me for my birthday. Jackie, of course, drank Hoegaarden.

P.S. After posting this, we watched a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ‘A Secret Adversary’, starring Jessica Raine and David Walliams. Very early on, Jessica Raine’s character had her mouth stuffed with screwed up flimsy paper I instantly recognised as a “White Fiver”.

Should I Be Concerned?

The garden was refreshed by early morning rain.

Passion flowers and honeysuckle

This failed to dampen the ardour of the passion flowers eyeing the red hot honeysuckle,

Sweet peas

and gave sweet peas a welcome drink.

Rose Aloha

The climbing rose Aloha,

Rose Margaret Merrill

and the bush Margaret Merrill are both in full bloom.

A comment on Houzz GardenWeb forum, posted in July 2007 states that  ‘the Margaret Merrill rose was named [in 1977] after a fictitious character in British advertising, but Harkness had to track down various Margaret Merrills for permission to complete naming the rose’. Margaret Merrill was the nom de plume of a beauty advisor who helped Oil of Ulay (now Olay) sell its beauty products. If you wanted cosmetic advice you wrote to this woman.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Chandlers Ford for her physiotherapy. I settled down to an hour with Primo Levi’s ‘The Periodic Table’, but I didn’t get very far in my hoped-for completion of this, my current book. Jackie soon emerged with a happy face. She had been told she was doing brilliantly and didn’t need to go again.

Patrick's Patch

On our return we stopped for a visit to Patrick’s Patch in Beaulieu.

Marigold pathFlower beds

LavenderScarecrows and bedsThis is the community garden’s peak time. Marigolds, dahlias, gladioli, sunflowers and lavender are just a few of the flowers we observed as we wandered along the paths, where various imaginative scarecrows were drafted into service.

Annual borderJackie smelling annual border

The Annual Border, with its Painted Lady runner beans, was particularly stunning and, as Jackie discovered, sweet pea scented. We didn’t see a weed anywhere.

Courgettes

Produce like apples and courgettes looked ripe and plump.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne, egg fried rice, and green beans, followed by chocolate eclairs. I finished the bordeaux, whilst Jackie drank Hoegaarden, this last of which, whilst I completed my post, she took up to the rose garden for what has become a nightly drink with Alan Titchmarsh. Like many women of a certain age she is in love with the man. Should I be concerned?

It’s only a rose.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Jackie is gradually sifting the old compost which still contains rubbish and woody material, to produce, with the addition of bonemeal, rich compost for the rose garden. We applied some today. Rose Magic carpet

The scented ground cover rose, Magic Carpet, attracting numerous bees, is spreading nicely;

Rose Kent

Kent has begun its second flush,

Rose Golden Showers

and the climber, Golden Showers, has produced its first bloom.

On this dry, blustery morning, I walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back. The horses, intent on grazing, kept their distance.

Horse in rug

One wore a rug;

Horse in fly mask

one, a fly mask;

Horses

and the third was unprotected.

Barley

220px-The_Wind_That_Shakes_the_Barley_posterI fought my way through to the obscured footpath, which petered out along the edge of a barley field. As I watched the waving grain, I thought of Ken Loach’s wonderful 2006 film, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’.

There are few films, these days, that stay in my memory, but this one certainly does. I recommend anyone to watch it, so I will not reveal the plot, but this is how Wikipedia introduces its feature:

‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film. The film is heavily influenced by Walter Macken‘s 1964 novel The Scorching Wind. Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever, until surpassed by The Guard.

This afternoon we planted four more roses, and plonked a couple more. I will feature them as they bloom.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s scrumptious chilli con carne (recipe), egg fried rice (recipe), and green beans, followed by rice pudding. Her accompaniment was Hoegaarden, mine Alexis Lichine Bordeaux supérieur 2013.