Streets Of London

Shadow, grass, gravel

Again, the early morning sun, casting shadows across the gravel to meet grasses on the other side of the path, worked it’s magic

Peony

on the peonies;

Roses

on new rambling red roses;

Aquilegias

on rose tinted aquilegias;

Clematis Warsaw Nike

on the clematis Doctor Ruppel;

Geranium palmatum

on a somewhat nibbled geranium palmatum;

Bluebottle on frog's back

and warming the stone of a frog’s back on which a bluebottle hitched a ride.

I have mentioned before, my, as yet unpublished, Streets of London Series. From March 2004 until some time in 2008, I conducted this exercise, wandering around during breaks in my working day. The constraint I set myself was that the street signs should appear in the shots. There are many hundreds of these colour slides taken with my Olympus OM2, so I decided to embark upon scanning them. I entered the first dozen, from March to April 2004, today.

Streets of London001

From Hanover Gate, NW1 can be seen the burnished dome of Regent’s Park mosque.

Streets of London002

Warwick Place W9 stands on the corner of Warwick Avenue. The mind boggles at the van’s signage.

Streets of London003

The ubiquitous McDonald’s has an outlet on the corner of York Way N1. Perhaps Securitas is coming to collect the takings.

Streets of London004

A spindly young London Plane comes into leaf on Castellain Road W9.

Streets of London005

Maida Avenue W2 runs alongside the Little Venice stretch of the Regent’s Canal, forming a junction with Warwick Avenue which spans the bridge. The white building on our left is The Bridge House, featured in ‘Time To Go’.

Streets of London007

This corner of Gray’s Inn Road, WC1 stands diagonally opposite Kings Cross Station. The area is always clogged with traffic.

Streets of London011

The station itself stands on the corner of Euston Road and York Way, N1.

Streets of London008

The subject of the witty window cleaner sculpture in Chapel Street, NW1, scratches his head in contemplation of the task of cleaning Marks and Spencer’s glass fronted tower standing alongside Edgware Road Metropolitan Line station.

Streets of London009

From this corner of Warwick Avenue, W2, narrow boats on the Regent’s canal are visible through the railings.

Streets of London006

In Sardinia Street WC2, Angelo advertises his hairdressing, whilst thespians trip the tango.

Streets of London012

The eponymous Church Street Market runs from Edgware Road. At this far end it is joined by Penfold Street, NW8.

The sign for Gracedale Road, SW, is now many miles from Furzedown, so I have inserted it in a more appropriate post.

Margery and Paul popped in for a very welcome surprise visit, ‘to check up on’ me. This was, as usual, great fun. Paul put me right on the jackdaws I had recently incorrectly identified as hooded crows. I amended the post accordingly. Thanks, Paul.

Jackie returned home early this evening, and we dined on her superb chicken and egg jalfrezi with special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden whist I opened another bottle of the Madiran and drank some of it.

Diverted From The Task In Hand

A stiff breeze set our flaming foliage flickering in the strong morning sunlight casting shifting shadows. As I gently ambled around, I pulled the calf of my dodgy leg. Following the last two stormy days, I now have another excuse for avoiding weeding.

Beech leaves 1Beech leaves 2

The beech is now fully plumed;

Maple 1Japanes maple 2

as are the Japanese maples;

Prunus pissardi 1Prunus pissardi 2

and the prunus pissardi

Prunus pissardi 3

to which a few stubborn cherries cling, reflecting glints of light.

Heuchera

Only a few minutes after I discovered that my shot of a hot heuchera was out of focus, the sun had moved on to a slightly cooler one. (please Mr. WordPress, you should know by now that when I type ‘heuchera’ I don’t mean ‘heaters’).

Starling

Later there were more clouds and less sun. I sat outside for a while, which was rather disappointing for the starlings who would fly towards their nest behind our kitchen fascia board, and, noticing my presence, do a mid-air about-turn and wait patiently on one tree or another wondering what to do next.

Here are three of the prints from 1985 that I scanned today:

Louisa 1985

Lousia’s attention wandered a bit in this one.

Jessica and I and our children spent several holidays at Instow with her brother Henry, sister-in-law Judith and their two children Lucy and Nick. On an early one of these, that same year, we drove somewhere in Devon, where Jessica’s cousin was a vet. I don’t remember the name of the village where we enjoyed a summer fete, but I did record the event at which

Sam 1985

Sam was so transfixed by a Punch and Judy show, that his attention was also diverted, from his apple.

Matthew 5.85

At Louisas third birthday party at Gracedale Road, Matthew enjoyed amusing the children.

This evening I tucked into the scrumptious cottage pie that Jackie had left me, adding green beans and cauliflower.

Out On Their Feet Amid The Confetti

Yesterday I forgot to mention the outcome of my visit to Simon Richards, the hand surgeon. That can only be a good sign. He has discharged me, but physiotherapy will continue for some time. The middle joint on the little finger remains bent rigid. He has advised me to practice straightening it with brute force from my right hand. That’s painful. And scary. Rather like holding a newborn baby, I don’t want to break it. But it seems to be working.

Wind still gusts around the garden, but we do have sunshine and showers. Rhododendron

A new rhododendron is in bloom;

Ant on allium

an ant perches on the first of our colourful alliums to arrive;

Thyme and erigeron

the thymes I rescued from the blue sinks last year have thrived;

Spiky shrub

as has the heavily Corokia cotoneaster outside the back door;

clematis Niobe

and the clematis Niobe enlivens the kitchen wall.

The rain, reinforced by a fierce fusillade of hailstones, soon returned and watered my charges for me.Mimulas and cosmos

These mimuluses, hosta, heuchera, and cosmos have yet to be planted up.

I returned to the task of identifying and scanning the prints retrieved from Elizabeth.

Michael and Sam 6.83

Here, Michael and Sam are seated in the garden of Gracedale Road in June 1983.

Sam 1983

Later that year, Sam tucks into refreshments after completing the Furzedown mini-marathon.

This was a fund-raising event for the children’s nursery school. Clearly the professional-looking number tags had been donated by the organisers of the Farnham Castle Marathon, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. I made a complete black and white portfolio of the occasion for the school. Some parents bought copies. If I ever find the negatives, I think the pictures would warrant their own post.

Michael 1984

Sometime in 1984, Michael appears to be watching telly in the lounge of Gracedale Road. Probably an Arsenal football match.

Becky 1984 001

Also in 1984 we attended Tony and Liz’s wedding. Here is a portrait of Becky taken there.

That was the period in which I was converting colour negatives to black and white prints, using an enlarger and chemicals. Goodness knows how, I certainly don’t remember. Now I can do it at the touch of a mouse, so who cares?

Becky 1984 002

This, from the same set, was scanned from a 10″ x 8″ print.

Louisa 1984

Louisa was there too. Here, putting me in mind of the bridesmaid from 1970, she, too, seems to be out on her feet, and contemplating whether the confetti would soften the paving stones sufficiently to provide a feather bed.

There was more than enough of Jackie’s delicious beef stew for my meal this evening. I also finished the Madiran wine.

Memorable Holidays

Poor Jackie set off in driving rain, propelled by gales of more than 40 m.p.h,. for her annual camping trip this morning. She and her two sisters will have needed all their Girl Guides experience just to pitch their tent. Even that failed them, for the tent blew across a field and tore. They are now enjoying glamping in a yurt.

Bluebell and tellima saxifrage

In the battered garden a sturdy bluebell, itself sheltered by geranium leaves, props up a drooping tellima saxifrage.

Viola

Looking on the bright side, it falls upon me to keep the hanging baskets damp over the next few days. This viola demonstrates that I will be receiving a bit of help from above.

Before taking a cab to Lymington Hospital for a check-up on my hand, I scanned and returned to my photo albums some more of the prints Elizabeth has returned to me.

In the summer of 1982 we enjoyed a holiday with Ann and Don in a gite in Southern France. Sam 1982 014Sam certainly enjoyed this choc-ice. He probably licked the nut off the corner of his mouth.

One of the most memorable moments of this holiday was the return journey. Ann had decided she may have exceeded her tobacco allowance, so Jessica and I carried a quantity of our friend’s cigarettes in our car. We followed Ann and Don off the ferry. They waved as they drove off into the sunset. We were stopped and our yellow Renault was subjected to a full body search

1n 1983 we had another French holiday, at the delightful chateau of the Vachette family in Fontaine. The game of Scrabble is my lasting memory from that vacation.Louisa 1983

By then Louisa was toddling and drinking from her own indestructible cup. Here she stands, ebullient as ever, displaying  her baby teeth, in the carved wooden doorway of this splendid eighteenth century building.

That same year Ann and Don were in the throes of refurbishing an old cottage on the Welsh hillside near Cerrigidrudion that was to be their home for nineteen years. We therefore rented a house from a neighbour so we could again spend some time with them.Matthew and Sam 1983

For me, the joy of holidaying all together with the four youngest children was always memorable. Matthew and Sam clearly shared this, as the delighted little brother was plonked on the back of a nonchalant cow too busy chomping the grass to notice.

Bee on libertia

By mid afternoon, as I waited for my taxi, the rain had stopped, and the sun had emerged, but the wind persisted. Bees do not leave their nests when it is wet, but one or two intrepid ones battled to hold their own with the gusts, and flitted, inevitably disappointed, from libertia to libertia in an apparently vain search for nectar. The unfortunate creatures couldn’t get a grip.

Galleon Taxis operate an efficient service out of New Milton Station forecourt, but were unable to transport me at my hoped-for time, because it clashed with their school run. I therefore arrived at the hospital with an hour and a half to wait. This did not bother me because I had the poems of Robert Frost for company, when I was not engaged in enjoyable conversation with a gentleman whose wife was being treated. As a keen birder, he advised that the starlings building nests behind the fascia board of our kitchen extension, and the jackdaws dropping their nesting materials down our chimney needed to be dissuaded from doing so. Apparently the starlings don’t use their old homes when they return each year, but just build a new one alongside them; and the jackdaws drop twigs down the chimneys until they become lodged, like a pot-holer negotiating his cave chimney. Then they build the nests.

Incidentally, Galleon, in the list of useful telephone numbers left by our predecessors, appears as Valium, which didn’t really cause me any anxiety.

Jackie has left me a wide range of cooked meals to consume whilst she is away. This evening I settled for a reprise of yesterday’s easy beef stew, resuscitated in the microwave; and another glass of the Madiran.

In The Hedgerow

Just a few yards down Downton Lane was enough of an amble for me this morning. Close inspection of the hedgerow revealed various insects soaking up the soporific sunshine.Hoverfly 1FlyInsectHoverfly 2 Hoverfly 3 See if you can spot them. The first two are easy. If in difficulty click on the imagos’ images. (WordPress didn’t like the first piece of this alliteration. It persisted in changing it to the second. An alternative plural of imago is imagines. The site would have been happy with that). Apart from the ordinary fly, I think the others are all hoverflies masquerading as something more harmful. Holly leaves and seeds in a web Holly blossom The hollies are sprouting new leaves and blossom. Spiders keep out of sight of probing lenses. One has only trapped dandelion seeds in its web. Wild strawberry

Struggling through the ground ivy are what I take to be wild strawberries.

Rose garden stage 1

At home Aaron has begun to lay the projected rose garden paths.

A pair of goldfinches has taken to joining us for dinner. Note the male’s bright red poll. We enjoyed Jackie’s beef stew; boiled potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots; and roasted peppers, onions, and garlic, followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream.Goldfinches

The birds preferred their niger seed. I drank Madiran Reserve de Tuguets 2012. Jackie drank water from the fridge. Our visitors possibly drank later.

New Arrivals

Galium aparine

Cloudy sunshine and blustery winds greeted us this morning. I ambled around the garden and just a yard or two into Downton Lane where the minute flowers of the Galium aparine, known among other things as Sticky Willy, that we are trying to eradicate from our garden, are clambering around the verges; and where I met another group of radiant ramblers:Ramblers 1Ramblers 2

In the garden we now have:

Calibrachoa

Calibrachoas,

Weigela

Weigelas,

Weigela

Phlox,

Sweet William

and Sweet Williams, more welcome than Sticky Willy.

Unidentified shrub

We have not yet been able to identify this shrub which has wrinkled leaves. (Chris Poole later identified it as Viburnum Bodnantense.).

Erigeron

Jackie enjoys transplanting flowers from one area to another, often preserving those peeping up from paths. An example is the erigeron, plucked from the patio and placed in the former compost bed. She also popped a stem of watercress into the Waterboy’s pool.

Watercress

It has rooted, flowered, and proliferated.

Tomato seedlings

The head gardener has brought out a tray of tomato seedlings she has nurtured indoors.

We now have another clematis, similar to the one that rambles over our next door neighbours’ fence. This one climbs up the gazebo, so we also benefit from it.

Clematis - Version 2

The flower of the clematis is in fact the central section.

Clematis

What we take for its colourful petals are in fact modified leaves or sepals.

Perhaps the most surprising of our new arrivals could be the offspring of the toad Jackie disturbed last autumn. Spawn has arrived in the tiny pool created by our predecessors from a domestic cistern.Toad spawn

We don’t have any sunflowers yet, but it seems they do in Razac d’Eymet where our friend Judith Munns has just sold this stunning, beautifully composed painting:Judith's sunflowersOne of Judith’s Facebook friends has likened it to the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Maybe that would require a swirly sky.

Stair railsDoor repairLee Wilkinson, a joiner recommended by Aaron, today fitted stair rails on our rather steep cottage style route to bed. The paint on the treads and risers is just one piece of decoration we need to change when we get round to it. He also widened the jamb of the door into the master suite. It required the addition of the unvarnished strip of wood simply for the door to reach it. We have never possessed the keep for the Manx lock, but, as can be seen in the photograph, it could never have been correctly placed anyway. We will need to search one out. The red paint on the lock is an example of what we find everywhere, and why redecoration will be quite a major job.

This evening we enjoyed the usual friendly atmosphere and excellent food and service of Totton’s The Family House, for our dinner. We both drank Tsingtao beer

Back Onto The Cliff Top

The Beach House 1The Beach House 2 On an overcast morning Jackie drove us to New Forest Army & Navy Surplus store in New Milton to buy some weatherproof clothing for her projected sororal camping trip; thence to the bank; thence to Milford on Sea where she dropped me on the green. I rose to my feet and hobbled up Park Lane to The Beach House, through the adjacent shingled footpath to the sea, a short way along the tarmacked track leading back to the village, returning to the hotel where I caught the X1 bus to the bottom of Downton Lane, up which I walked home. Benches on green Opposite the village bus shelter lies an attractive grassed area containing shrubberies, a couple of benches, and a waste bin. Triangular-shaped, on one side it is abutted by houses; on another by a wall alongside a sometimes fast-flowing stream; and on the third by the pedestrian pavement. Forget-me-nots peering through the slats of the benches signified that no-one had sat there for a while.Forget-me-nots and £1 coin So intent was I on photographing the flowers, that I almost missed the miniature bas-relief of Queen Elizabeth II that someone had left there.Trees reflected in stream

Today the stream was so still that trees were reflected in it.

Maintenance work being undertaken in the Catholic church of St Francis of Assisi meant that, for my first time in passing, the front door was unlocked.St Francis of Assisi doorway

May blossom

May blossom now proliferates in the hedgerows;

MushroomsMallow

and mushrooms and mallows alongside the path to the sea.

As I approached the Solent, with the backdrop of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, a group of ramblers strode along the new tarmac footpath recently repositioned and replacing its concrete predecessor which fell into sea last autumn.Ramblers 1

Ramblers 2 Footpath resitedKeep to the footpath Boulders The path now runs parallel to the site of the old one, further inland. It is possible to see the angular join, and to picture where the concrete fell. The area has been landscaped, and we are enjoined to keep to the footpath until the grass has grown. Huge granite boulders have reinforced the side of the cliff open to the wind and waves. The rubberised membrane placed under a fresh application of shingle overlaps the larger stones. Hooded crow 2 Hooded crow 1Lichen on stump On the other side jackdaws still pick their way amongst the grass, taking to the air when one comes too near, and attractive lichen enlivens a dead tree stump. My nagging knee insistently intimated that this hadn’t been a particularly splendid idea, but at least I had got back onto the cliff top. Fishcakes meal This evening we dined on haddock fish cakes with a cheddar cheese centre; fried potatoes; steamed cauliflower; and a tomato, mushroom, peppers, and onion coulis. You have to try the coulis. Her method is the nearest I can get to a recipe from Jackie. Here it is: Chop up peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Stir fry them until soft. Then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer until done. The cook drank Hoegaarden, whilst the Lord of the Manor finished the Marques de Carano.