Fried Egg On Toast

Today was a real scorcher. I set off for the rose garden rather early, intending simply to dig a few holes for the plants plonked yesterday. No such luck. The head gardener had already been out there for an hour. On the south side of the entrance arch had straggled two rather unattractive shrubs. Jackie had decided they had to go, and consequently cut them right back. All that was left were one thick trunk and masses of quite mature suckers. After carting her clippings to the burning pile, I set to with fork, axe, and saw, to remove them. This took quite some time, not helped by the pottery shards, CDs, plant labels, and bits of plastic and polystyrene, typical of our predecessors’ composting, that were tangled among the roots. We then boasted a clear trellis on which to plant the next climbing rose.Arch trellis

That was enough for the morning. After a short break, Jackie continued watering, and I ambled down to the corner of Roger’s field and back.

Bidens, cosmos, daisies, and lobelia

Neither of us had known bidens other than the normal yellow,

Bidens and petunias

so we are quite pleased with this unusual variety obtained from Ferndene Farm Shop.

Woodlouse in cobweb

A wayward woodlouse, suspended from a cobweb on a back drive stump, cast a static shadow.

Dappled tarmac

Strong sunlight dappled the tarmac on Downton Lane.

Snail on nettle

A congealed fried egg on nettle toast in the hedgerow revealed itself to be an over-adventurous snail.

This afternoon we planted yesterday’s floral purchases.

Rose garden planting

It is hard to credit that the two salvias, and what we hope is a pot-bound dwarf conifer, are occupying the place by the southern fence where a hidden bath stood a year ago.

Hydrangea climbing

This climbing hydrangea can tolerate the shade it will receive in the corner by the orange shed. Like our other additions it will grow bigger. The logs in the foreground are part of our insect hotel, which has been temporarily moved by Aaron, pending his last section of paving.

I watched two Wimbledon tennis matches on television. In the first, Novak Djokovic beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets. The second took much longer than anticipated, so we consumed our pasta and meatballs in a tomato based sauce, and salad, from trays on our knees, as we watched a thrilling match in which Serena Williams beat Heather Watson by taking the third set 7 – 5. A red Cotes de Bordeaux 2012 helped to mitigate my excitement. Miraculously, my shirt was unscathed.

‘Is it 25 grams?’

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton to meet Alison who came for a short visit. On the way to the station we made a couple of stops intended to be brief.

The first went according to plan, except that the cleaners had been unable to remove barbecue sauce from my white linen jacket. I asked what would happen if I tried Vanish on it. I was told it would be ruined. When we got home, Jackie wasn’t having that, and applied a good dose of Vanish. The success or failure will become evident when the jacket has dried out. Who cares? It was not much use without this last chance, and, you never know, it may have an enhancing marbled effect as water rings make their way across the fabric.

The visit to Tesco for just six bottles of sparking water took a little longer. Jackie waited in the car, whilst I grabbed the bottles. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw a checkout with nothing on the conveyor belt. I made a dash for it. I had noticed an elderly woman sorting out paperwork which turned out to be discount vouchers. In my haste, I had not observed that she was standing in front of a fully laden trolley. Too late, I realised that she was in fact the queue. A splendid, stout, walking stick lay across her intended purchases. Slowly, wincing at every stretch, she began to unload. Eventually, I took pity on her and filled the belt. I then walked past her to the empty trolley, and placed her purchases therein, as they were checked off and placed in bags. When this was over, I thought I was done. Not so. Her discounts needed to be taken off her bill. The, very pleasant, woman on the checkout, balked at one of them. ‘Is it 25 grams?’, She asked. I had no idea what this meant, neither had my friend, the shopper. However, when the assistant caught my eye, clearly wondering how to deal with this, I said ‘Yes’. She smiled, fiddled with the computer keys, thus suggesting that ‘it’ hadn’t really been 25 grams, and accepted the voucher.

All was well. We were still in good time for Alison.

This afternoon, whilst I dead-headed more roses, Jackie drove to Everton Nurseries to return a faulty arch. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that she returned with further plants for the rose garden. We then plonked them, still in their pots, into position. They included the fragrant roses

Rose - Absolutely FabulousJPG

the aptly named ‘Absolutely Fabulous';

Rose Schoolgirl

the climbing ‘Schoolgirl;

Rose - Kent

‘Kent’, a carpet rose for ground cover;

Rose - Winchester Cathedral label

and Winchester Cathedral.

Dahlia - Bishop of Leicester

In deference to my birthplace, also included was the dahlia ‘Bishop of Leicester’.

A white climbing hydrangea has been placed in the shady corner beside the orange shed.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s delectable fish and chips, gherkins, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

UKCSI

Clouds Yesterday evening’s volcanic skies, casting an ochre glow on everything beneath them, delivered just a few heavy drops of the promised overnight rain. Ushering in the month of July, today was even hotter and more humid, yet largely overcast. Red Admiral pn hebe My early task was the dead-heading of roses, and lifting soil-filled window boxes onto the head gardener’s work table for planting. A lone Red Admiral butterfly struggled to slake its thirst on a hebe that the bees claimed as their own. Horses and oak I then walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back. Three horses, tails twitching to deter the flies, now sheltered under their favourite oak. One of these animals availed itself of a companion’s flickering switch, apparently to pick the insects out of its nostrils. Mallow

Small mallows now mingle with other plants in the hedgerow,

Footpath obscured

which bears evidence of one of the ways in which farmers obscure ramblers’ footpaths. Look hard, and you may see the Footpath sign that, last year, I could not find until winter.

This afternoon, Jackie found incriminating evidence on our back drive. In accordance with all crime scene investigations, forensics, in the form of me and my camera, were sent in to examine the remains.

A fine fishing line, attached to two square spools, led across the gravel from a gap in the north hedge, and disappeared through a hole in the fence belonging to number five Downton Lane. Doubling as Agent Gibbs, on loan from the American crime drama series NCSI (Navy Crime Scene Investigation), and suspecting that I knew where the trailing twine belonged, I questioned Karen from the Care Home. She had an idea that the owners, who were out at the moment, were residents. A most cooperative witness, she removed the lines from our drive, and pulled, at some length, the rest of them, containing hooks and bait, back through the fence. She identified them as crab lines. This seemed useful information, not to be regarded as tampering with the evidence.

Fishing line on back drive 1Fishing line on back drive 2Fishing line on back drive 3

Now, all you sleuths, equipped with this forensic record, and the knowledge that splendid white ducks are kept in the garden of the Care Home, and that a marauding black cat lives at Number 5, you must piece together the story for presentation in court. I am confident this this will not be beyond the capacity of that great story-teller, Bruce Goodman, at https://weaveaweb.wordpress.com.

Window boxes

Later this afternoon, once Jackie had worked her magic on them, I carried the flower-filled window boxes to the front garden wall, where I placed them as directed.

Tesco’s Oriental Kitchen, in the form of their Meal for Two, Menu A, provided tonight’s dinner. This consisted of prawn crackers, spring rolls, chicken & cashew nuts, sweet and sour chicken, and egg fried rice. I microwaved the two chicken dishes whilst Jackie, eschewing the cooking directions on the box, fried the spring rolls and then, adding a mangled egg, the rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed a little more of the cabernet sauvignon. My lady pronounced the meal acceptable. Naturally I agreed.

Hues Of Blue

On this day, with temperatures around 30 degrees, according to the meteorologists, because of a shift in the jet stream, we are enjoying ‘Spanish weather’.

In case any of my commenters have missed Becky’s observation on yesterday’s post, this is what she added to it this morning: ‘Wow. What lovely followers you have, Dad. x’

Rose - red A small red rose standing in a tub by our front door, and requiring more space, will eventually be transplanted to the rose garden. Taking her first outing since her knee operation, Jackie drove me to the surgery at Milford on Sea, for me to hand in a repeat prescription request. We met Giles in the car park, and had a short conversation. Feeling confident enough to return home without an escort, my chauffeuse, dropped me near the Beach House hotel, and I walked back by the cliff top/Shorefield route. Whilst I was enjoying myself, Jackie continued to Tesco’s for a shop, and watered the hanging baskets on her return, thus saving me that latter task. ThistleConvolvulus

Thistles and convolvulus twinkled in the hedgerows.

Sunlight on The Solent

Sunlight glistened on The Solent’s various hues of blue,

Fence and Solent

its passing vessels, and their wake.

Footpath down cliff

You would need to wander down this cliff path to encounter the dog this woman was walking by the breakwater.

Swimmers

I am not really up to descending to the water’s edge, so was unable to warn the fairly numerous swimmers risking a skewering by the WW2 hazards.

Couple on beach with dogs

Elsewhere sun-tans were sought.

By late afternoon, many of the baskets needed a further soaking. I rendered minimal assistance with this.

Hoverfly on clematis Comtesse de Bouchardclematis Comtesse de Bouchard

A hoverfly, sheltered by a higher bloom in full sun, flanked by budding guards, investigated the flower of clematis Comtesse de Bouchard.

This evening we dined on fillet steak on a bed of onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms; chips; and runner beans; followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, whilst I imbibed Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2014.

A Magnet

Here are the photographs from the garden this morning: Petunia double white Surfinia

A petunia, Double White Surfinia (no, Mr WordPress, not Surfing), is suspended from the eucalyptus.

Bed on former compost heap

It is hard to remember that this bed on the former compost heap was only planted a couple of months ago.

Weed

One definition of a weed is ‘a plant in the wrong place’. This plant, with its crimson-tipped flowers, draped over dead stumps on the back drive is definitely in the right place. That means it is not a weed.

Fuchsia

Further along, a row of fuchsias, heavily cut back last year, flourishes once more.

Sweet William

This Sweet William is one of the many plants that now line the opposite side of the drive.

Bee landing on poppy

Bees flitted from flower to flower. Can you see both these insects, wings operating, dropping their landing gear?

This afternoon, interspersed with watering the garden, I sorted and scanned a few more of the prints, from the 1980s, returned by Elizabeth. Apart from the 5″ x 7″ of Louisa, these all measured 10″ x 8″

Becky, Louisa, Sam 1982

This one is a crop from a picture featured earlier, in which Matthew was included. Becky, Louisa, and Sam are seated in a shelter in the garden of Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth in Rugby, probably in late 1982. It was shot in black and white, probably Ilford film.

Louisa 6.83

Another recent post contains an image of Louisa in the doorway at Fontaine in June 1983. Here is one more.

Matthew Slate mine 1983

That same post, ‘Memorable Holidays’, mentions one in September of that year in North Wales, where Jessica, Sam, Louisa, Matthew, Becky, and I visited a disused slate mine. Here Matthew perches in the unglazed window space of an old building.

Louisa, Matthew, Sam 1986

Matthew has always been a magnet for young children. This picture of him at Gracedale Road in 1986, reading a bedtime story to Louisa, barely awake, and an amused Sam, gives one indication as to why.

Just four days after her knee operation, Jackie insisted on cooking ‘a simple meal’. This is her idea of one:  OK, the cheese-centred fish cakes did come from Lidl, but by the time Jackie had finished with them they also wore jackets of thinly sliced mature Cheddar. The chips were cooked in the oven, having come from one supermarket or another. The sauteed leeks and green beans was a dish of Jackie’s own invention; even though the accompanying baked beans did come out of a tin. I suspect the bubble and squeak may have owed something to the influence of Bangladeshi chefs, who will break an egg over any number of dishes, thus enhancing the flavour. For those unaware of this classic English breakfast item, it consists of a fried melange of left-over vegetables. Served in any self-respecting working man’s cafe, it would probably not appear on the sideboard of a dining room at Downton Abbey.

P.S. Re the black and white picture, Becky has commented, thus: ‘The bangle I am wearing was a birthday present. That means the pic would have been taken after August 1982 and as it is still sunny and we are in Rugby it was probably during school hols. Therefore late August 1982 is my estimate. Making Lou 3 months old which looks about right’.

P.P.S. I am indebted to Mr Steele for pointing out that I had not mentioned what I’d imbibed. It was more of the Saint-Emilion.

P.P.P.S. Here is more, correct, information from Norma Palmer: ‘Lovely – I think your “not a weed” is fumitory – we get lots on our allotment. In the wrong place there, but still pretty’.

Ian’s Bag

This morning I repeated yesterday’s short walk. On leaving the house by the stable door, a heady fragrance greeted me. It floated from the Agriframes arch, where our retrained cream rambler now blooms. The scent is powerful enough to permeate the whole of the brick path.Rose -cream ramblerBee on cream rambler Bees were as drawn to it as I was. Should any of my gardening friends be able to identify it, we would be very pleased. (The head gardener’s research now establishes this plant as ‘Wedding Day’).Spider and prey Obviously a carnivore, a spider, wrapping its lunch in clingfim, ignored the honeysuckle sepals also ensnared in its sheltered web.

I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Roger, during which we compared dodgy knees. I complimented him on keeping his public footpaths open. He was amazed at the lengths other farmers go to to keep the public away.

Rose garden stage 4

Aaron and Robin laid anther section of the rose garden path; and this afternoon, after Becky and Ian had returned home to Emsworth, I watered all the window boxes, hanging baskets, and newer plantings.

At Easter, when Frances and her family’s visit had coincided with the Emsworth family’s stay, and she had brought over some of Chris’s belongings for me to keep or to find good homes for, several containers were placed in the library. One of these was a large travelling bag filled with items I thought might be useful for Becky and Ian. I gave our daughter a rather impressive pair of field glasses. She thought Ian would really like them. I pointed out the bag, inviting her to rummage through the contents. As she began to do so, ‘wait a minute’, she exclaimed. ‘That’s Ian’s bag’. Sure enough, all its contents belonged to her fiancé. It was then she remembered that she had deposited this item in the library. Ian, feeling rather fortunate that I hadn’t given them to anyone else, took them home.

My catering task this evening was simplified by having one of Jackie’s superb sausage casseroles to microwave. With this we enjoyed boiled potatoes, carrots and cabbage. A Post House Mess, consisting of Cornish dairy ice cream covering strawberries in a meringue nest, was to follow. I drank La Croix Saint-Roche montagne saint-emilion 2013.

Ann Won The Contest

Footpath

Leaving Jackie prancing, sans crutches, about the house, on another glorious morning I wandered around the garden, down the lane, and along the footpath between the fields of Roger Cobb, the only local farmer who respects ramblers’ right to roam.

Clematis Diversifolia Hendersonii

Rising above our front fence, we now have a clematis Diversifolia Hendersonii.

Poppy 1Poppy 2Poppy 3Poppies

In the main garden there are more varieties of poppy;

Day lily 1Day lily 2Day lily 3

and day lily.

Fly on blaberry leaves

A fly on a blackberry leaf in the hedgerow on Downton Lane reminded me of my late friend Ann Eland and her naming of our Newark dog, Paddy. The family pet was a puppy collie/labrador cross. A very gentle dog, she was never actually cross. On one of Ann’s visits with her husband, Don, we had a competition to name the new puppy. Paddy was black, with white paws. Ann won the contest.

Pet Blay

At one corner of the barley field I met and had an enjoyable and interesting conversation with a neighbour, Pete Blay, who was walking with his dog, Dave. Pete is a sports psychology coach. He can be found on http://peteblay.com/Info. He told me that deer are often seen in the field. Sam and I had seen a stag in the field on the other side of Christchurch Road a couple of days ago.

This evening we dined at La Vina in Lymington, where we were joined by Ian who is spending the remainder of the weekend with us. We enjoyed our meals, a variety of tapas, paella, and tortilla. The service was very efficient, if rather slow. They were very full. So were we by the time we left. Becky drank merlot and the rest of us drank Estrella.