“No Finger Food, Thanks”

On a largely overcast morning Nugget kept us company in the Rose Garden as Jackie dug up spent poppies and other weeds, while I dead-headed.

Although he did carry off a squirming earwig beneath a carpet rose bush in order to dissect, devour, and digest it in peace, he was mostly happy darting like a bullseye-bound bolt to trap tiny insects on the wing. The last picture in this gallery is “Where’s Nugget?” (91).

We continued our work after lunch. As always, when Jackie sits down our little robin stops catching flies and pops over to see what the Head Gardener is up to. On this occasion she stretched out her hand. “No finger food, thanks”, he tweeted, and neatly nipped aside, pretending he had spied a tasty insect beside the low brick begonia-bearing plinth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy Chilli Con Carne and colourful savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Colle Marrone

Ella And The Ladybirds

Strong winds howled throughout the night, and did not abate until midday – then only temporarily. A warm sun put in intermittent appearances.

Among Aaron’s tasks was weeding the Back Drive.

“Where’s Aaron?” (10). Bigification might help with this one.

Here are the results of my garden photoshoot. “Where’s Jackie?” (4) is the picture containing the greenhouse. As usual individual photographs are titled in the galleries. Each image may be viewed full size by clicking the box beneath it, after which further enlargement is possible.

During a break I joined the real gardeners who were discussing developments.

Danni, Andy, and Ella paid us a welcome visit this afternoon.

Our great-niece, when noticing that she was being photographed in the act of demonstrating her prowess with a knife and fork, swiftly adopted her scrunched up poser’s smile. Soon afterwards, well nappy-bolstered, she sat comfortably on a bed of gravel and played passing the ornamental crystal with her Dad. When she decided it was time to step down she clung to Andy for balance. Having sought out the ladybird she had discovered on her last visit, she retrieved both it and its companion and, one in each hand, carried them around. She is seen here kissing one before climbing onto a bench, without releasing either, and conversing with them – possibly inviting them for a ride on the buggy improvised from a garden hose.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, purchased before we knew Mrs Pink’s was open again, spicy prawns, pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Colle Marrone.

Sea Foam

I spent much of the afternoon of this humid-damp day finishing reading

The author is one of New Zealand’s finest. ‘Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) is one of the most highly regarded short story writers of the 20th century. A contemporary of James JoyceVirginia Woolf and D H Lawrence, she played her part in shaping modernism by experimenting with style, subject matter and theme in a body of work that re-defined the genre. As well as short stories she also wrote letters, reviews and journals in a prolific career which was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 34.’ This quotation comes from https://www.bl.uk/people/katherine-mansfield which describes her rather tragic story.

My view of her stories is that, with fluent, uncluttered, prose she describes her detailed observation of intimate snippets of lives and her surroundings including those absorbed on her travels. The tales selected by Jane Miller are of varying lengths. Three incorporate one particular family, suggesting to me that these could perhaps have formed part of the novel the author never penned.

My own tenuous link with Ms Mansfield is described in https://derrickjknight.com/2018/03/30/colour-coordinated/

What impresses me most about Jennifer Campbell’s illustrations to this volume is

that within such bold, stylised, outlines she manages to convey the range of emotions reflecting the writer’s own variety.

Late in the gloomy afternoon Jackie drove us down to Milford on Sea where the south westerly wind was surprisingly warm as it whipped

sea foam through the rocks at the seething water’s edge, up into the air, swirling past my nose, and rolling across the promenade, where

walkers enjoyed the view,

while others could be glimpsed through the unseasonable gloom against the backdrop of Hurst Castle. I chose not to brighten up these photographs to demonstrate what the light was like on this early summer afternoon.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; wholesome sage and onion stuffing; crisp roast potatoes, some of them sweet, and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender greens, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Colle Marrone Appassimento 2016, a powerful, complex, Italian red wine.

Clamouring For His Close-up

When I began my perambulation round the garden this morning Jackie observed that I was photographing similar subjects to her. She had taken her walk even earlier.

We therefore each produced a gallery in changing light.

This is Jackie’s set. The galleried images each bear identifying titles, some with further descriptions. Click on any image to access them. Each may be viewed full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement may then be achieved.

Here are my offerings. Please don’t miss what I think is a meadow brown butterfly – see Tootlepedal’s comment below – it’s a Small Heath.

Our HSL chairs were delivered today. We are both more comfortable and, for the first time in my life I have a high enough seat, enabling me once more, post surgery, to rise without the use of my arms.

Afterwards, Jackie carried out more weeding and planting; I cleared refuse to the compost,

and Nugget clamoured for his close-up.

This evening we dined on Tesco finest Pesto & Parmigiano reggiano breaded chicken perfectly heated by the Culinary Queen who served it with buttered Jersey Royal potatoes; roasted chestnut mushrooms; firm flavoursome carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.

Necking

This afternoon we drove to Lymington to collect a prescription for Elizabeth and delivered it to her at her home in Pilley.

Hairdressers have been unable to open since the beginning of the lockdown. It seemed to me that neither of the models decorating JW’s window in Rashley Mews was looking forward to the opening which will be possible from 4th. Observant readers, especially after bigification, may notice that the photographer could do with a visit.

We noticed two more knitted carer tributes on Pilley Street.

Contented ponies on the now virtually dry Quarry Pit lake bed grazed terrain over which they would normally be slaking their thirst.

Before leaving my sister’s village we encountered other happy croppers in Jordans Lane and Wooden House Road.

More ponies and a foal gathered by a stream on Beaulieu Road. Much tail twitching was in operation. Notice how the foal splays its legs to graze.

Foals, including a necking pair were also in evidence on the banks of Beaulieu River.

Cattle occupied the roads outside the village.

We wondered what breed exactly was this diminutive equine sampling the grass outside a field alongside South Baddersley Road?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic shepherd’s pie with tasty gravy accompanied by well cooked carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

Cleared For Landing

Today the wind had dropped to “a fresh breeze” with sunny spells. We each enjoyed several sessions of gardening. Mine concentrated on dead-heading and clearing to compost.

Naturally I carried my camera, photographing the reds and pinks of petunias, pelargoniums, hollyhocks; and roses Compassion, Open Arms, and that we call peach beside the patio. The clematises on the kitchen wall swayed in the breeze.

This morning I watched a bee take off from a poppy ready to land on a fresh head cleared for landing.

It was the turn of Nugget Junior II to attract my lens after lunch. Note he or she still has the yellow gape acting as a target for avian feeding parents and has no sign of the red jersey to come if the infant lives long enough.

Junior’s back was turned when I photographed “Where’s Nugget Junior II”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent shepherd’s pie; robust red ratatouille; roast parsnips; tender runner beans; crunchy carrots, and tasty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine La Couquihado 2018 – a smooth dry Cotes du Rhone.

Windburn

Today dawned dull and drizzle-wet. We ventured into the garden early – Jackie to inspect and, where possible, nullify the storm damage and I to empty refuse trugs then carry out some dead heading.

Jackie had a chat with Nugget when he came to sample what she had dug up for him. He is able to eat himself now, rather than fly off to the nest with the goodies. The last of these four pictures is “Where’s Nugget?” (90)

The only real damage was windburn such as browning and curling of these Japanese maple leaves.

As will be seen by this rain-bejewelled Rhapsody in Blue, I didn’t get very far with dead-heading before returning to the house.

I paused to photograph this inherited clematis which has taken advantage of the light made available by the lopping of the cypress, not yet draped by the climbing plants set to cover it.

Even such a day could not dull the charms of this kniphofia and pelargonium blend.

Rain eased up for half an hour before lunch, enabling is to carry out a little more work.

Here are raindrops on sweet peas, lilies, hemerocallis, and petunias. Galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image; each one can be viewed full size by clicking on the box beneath it. Further enlargement is then possible.

Later in the afternoon we continued a bit more. Nugget is now training another junior, perhaps from his latest brood.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s crisp fish and chips and our own jars of somewhat soggy and sharpish gherkins and pickled onions having been first opened before the lockdown. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Keeping Close To Mum

Winds in gusts nearer to 50 than to 40 m.p.h. and a largely overcast sky restricted today’s gardening, so this afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest.

Sway is another local village honouring the front line care workers with a trail of painted stones. While I was photographing these a little boy emerged from the Youth Centre with his mother and a younger infant. He asked me what I was doing, so I told him and he informed me that the trail was growing daily as the artwork was regularly supplemented.

Outside Brockenhurst, near South Wiers, a pony led her foal across the road. We thought it best to comply with the give way sign, then at the next available opportunity turned round in order for me to photograph these two and another mare and offspring.

Even when enjoying a scratch, the first foal we had spotted kept very close to Mum who had somehow acquired a second reflective collar. As is her wont, the Assistant Photographer photographed me in action.

Again marinaded throughout the day, Jackie’s spicy piri-piri chicken with ratatouille, boiled Jersey Royal potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli provided our dinner, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Fine Set Of Choppers

‘A Short Walk from Harrods’ is the sixth volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography, and, to my mind, the best. I finished reading it last night, and would have been saddened had I not had one more to come.

This work deals in more depth and detail with material that has been featured in earlier books, notably the years in France. Without giving too much away I would say that this is the mature writer honestly facing endings and renewal with his gifted descriptive writing. Pondering on the flowing language it occurred to me for the first time that Bogarde brings his actor’s ear to his prose. He knows how the words and their placement would sound when spoken, and he works on adapting his undoubted skill. I have not read any of his novels but this book could well read like one.

Today was free from rain, but winds gusted at more than 40 m.p.h.

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance is an ace and generous recycler. He takes our logs to another client whose heating comes solely from an open fire. To us he brings paving and other materials without charging for them.

He really enjoys what he says is “making something from nothing”. Here he stands beside an extra compost bin he is building. The burnt plywood sheet came from his friend’s garage; the pallet from another; the perspex sheeting from our garden; the boards from his own supply. The bricks along the front is a typical finishing touch.

So far the winds have not created too much damage. The galleries in this post can be accessed by clicking on any image in each one. These may be viewed full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement is also possible with a click. The pictures are labelled individually.

Jackie did her best to repair some of the windburn and other damage to plants, and later we drove to the north of the forest.

There was much waving of manes and twitching of tails from the ponies on the green outside the converted school in South Gorley. One creature, keen to make my acquaintance, met me nose to muzzle as I stepped out of the car, shook her head about a bit, and repeatedly presented a fine set of choppers for inspection.

The stream at Ogdens North was now very shallow, so that pebbles on the bed could be seen beneath the reflections from above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy piri-piri chicken, marinaded throughout the day in a tangy sauce; her most colourful ratatouille; boiled baby Jersey Royal potatoes; and mature, yet tender, cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2019.

Emerging From The Gloom

This morning the temperature plummeted, as did rain until after lunch, when the overcast skies brightened and the wind speed escalated, for the rest of the day, to 40+ m.p.h.

We drove early to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy three bags of compost, a splendid, tall, lingularia; lettuce and other salad ingredients, before a short trip into the forest.

Beside Church Lane a pair of field horses sheltered under a tree.

The lane, like many others, had recently been resurfaced; hence the skid warning and speed limit. Often such signs stay in situ for months. Jackie had found a section of verge on which to park, otherwise no-one would have been able to pass while I photographed.

Further along the road we spotted a herd of deer which, as soon as they got wind of us, turned tail and huddled together further away. This did not put some of the young stags off their stroke.

As usual, galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image each of which can be viewed full size by clicking the boxes beneath them, and further enlarged if required.

Church Lane is steeply undulating. As this equestrienne reached the top of one slope and emerged from the gloom, even though Jackie was driving very slowly, her horse fell into a panic. My chauffeuse stopped the car and turned the engine off, thus enabling the young woman to settle her steed and sidle past the Modus while preventing the driver’s side from being kicked in.

The far end of the lane emerges in Pilley where further coronavirus messages include the bus shelter with its Union flag and Stay Home messages; and the HOPE bench.

Back at home raindrops glistened on hemerocallis, nasturtium, honeysuckle, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, and rose Hot Chocolate, to name a few.

I spent the rest of the day reading a book I will feature tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi, flavoursome mushroom rice, and plain parathas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the delicious Douro