Shopping At Tesco

It was before Covid that I last entered the supermarket with Jackie, but because of the amount of purchases and the Caterer in Chief having stubbed a toe I did so and was taken back to

the essential paragraphs of which could well have been produced today. In fact, had I written them today I could have saved myself the time taken to convert the 2017 post to Blocks. Never mind, I was happy to do it

While I was at it, with the help of SueW, I applied myself to carrying out the same exercise with

Unfortunately Ian had to return home after dinner yesterday so he was unable to share the bottle of Cabalié, an excellent red Pays d’Oc 2021 that he had brought at the weekend and some of which I had drunk with Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne and tricolour fuseli pasta, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. She drank Hoegaarden with this. Becky didn’t. Hampered by a sleeping Ellie, Flo and Dillon will eat later.


This afternoon I published

Otherwise much of a rainy day was spent wrestling with the upgrading of older posts, possibly as much with my iMac as with the posts themselves.

I managed just one:

Apart from recategorising as Books, the post now has a tiled gallery and a header picture.

This evening we all dined on Papa John’s pizzas, with which I finished the Nero di Troia. Any of the others is invited to add their beverage in a comment.

Categorised as Books

Droll Tales 14

There was no Mervyn Peake illustration to the fourth tale, entitled by The Folio Society “The Building of Azay Castle” from the second Decade of Balzac’s collection.

This was more than compensated for by Gustave Doré in what his publishers called “How the Chateau d’Azay came to be built.

Jean de Bosschère’s publishers showed the same title, which is in fact really more accurate, given that this really has nothing to do with building but all to do with the decision to build it.

With all the author’s fluent prose and a smattering of double entendre, he tells of the resourcefulness; obsession with a beautiful, older, woman; the sexual prowess; a bet ultimately lost, yet made good by a clever cryptic account, of a poverty-stricken young man.

Further details of each of these publications is given in that the second Decade is published by New York’s Covici, Friede in 1929. It is America’s first edition thus and is a limited copy. The illustrations are not protected by tissue but the book’s condition is good and covered by a cellophane wrapper. 

A Model Driver

With the silence of the morning of warm sunshine belying the chill of the crisp air disturbed only by

the screeching of nesting jackdaws taking up their annual residence in the disused chimney pots, the flapping wings of wood pigeons engaged in the usual ceremonial ritual of chase and feigned refusal, and other males’ familiar courting cries of “U-ni-ted” resounding in the distance, I wandered among the garden shadows,

focussing on a variety which are entitled in the gallery.

Afterwards I recovered the pictures to the following posts:

The first of these required the Attempt Block Recovery route; the other two, Convert to Blocks. If nothing else, these variations keep my brain agile – sort of.

This afternoon, on a forest drive, attracted by the

collection of ancient steam rollers at the entrance to Springhill Nurseries on Shirley Holmes, I almost missed

the model driver and her equally glamorous passenger gracing the truck behind the largest rusting vehicle.

Becky and Ian joined us later and, with three mothers in our party on Mothers’ Day, we all dined at Lal Quilla, where we enjoyed the usual ambience, service, friendly staff, and excellent food. My main course was lamb pathia and I drank Kingfisher. I am now past detailing further details of who ate and drank what.

Converting To Blocks

This afternoon I watched the last three matches of this year’s Six Nations rugby competition, between Scotland and Italy, between France and Wales, and finally, between England and Ireland.

Before then I published

Then converted the following Classic Edit posts to Blocks:

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s flavoursome penne Bolognese sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and accompanied by tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Nero di Troia.

Droll Tales 13

In truth, I am not sure how take the third tale of the second Decade of Honoré de Balzac’s scurrilous stories. And I am not sure that the publishers and their illustrators are either.

No doubt packed with the author’s double entendre one could take this as what The Folio Society edition entitles “The Edificatory Conversation of the Nuns of Poissy” – perhaps that is also tongue in cheek? – or do we understand the warnings against male fleas to be the consequences of consorting with men? Repeated reading suggests the latter to me – but also that there are many ways of getting round the difficulty. After all, this convent was the butt of jokes.

Mervyn Peake’s illustration demonstrates one refuge for disappointed suitors.

“The Merry Tattle of the Nuns of Poissy” is the preferred title of Gustave Doré’s publishers, while those of

Jean de Bosschère who, true to type is sure of how to interpret the prose, prefer “The Merry Quips of the Nuns of Poissy”

Further details of each of these publications is given in except that the second Decade is published by New York’s Covici, Friede in 1929. It is America’s first edition thus and is a limited copy. The illustrations are not protected by tissue but the book’s condition is good and is covered by a cellophane wrapper. 

High Street Features

This morning Jackie left the Modus alongside a protected tree in the Beaulieu car park.

From there we walked along the path to the High Street, Jackie to seek a gift in one of

the several tasteful shops, and me to gather pictures of them and other features.

A parked car reflected the awning of one of the outlets.

Vehicles were parked along both sides of the narrow street. A truck belonged to scaffolders, one of whom seemed to be sporting an impressively long mohican.

A split in a roof rack wrapper revealed snow crystals.

Decorative brickwork and pointed arches embellished early facades;

while modern aerials were installed on chimney stacks, such as those

glimpsed through bare branches. Another tree with a gnarled and severed trunk is engaged in healthy regeneration.

The Beaulieu Bakehouse restaurant, which was once the village bakery offers enticing indoor lamplight from its windows.

One wall bears a letter box bearing the initials GR, thus following the tradition since the reign of Queen Victoria, of allocating the stamp of the royal incumbent of the time. When this feature was fitted this would have been our current king’s grandfather. For the following seventy years they all bore ER, our longest ever reigning monarch. We await the first CR, for her son, Charles.

From the High Street can be seen the bus stop shelter alongside the lake of the Beaulieu River.

Hopefully not for the same original purpose as staddle stones, the job of which is to allow storage buildings to be lifted clear of the ground, the refuge stands on low brick pillar supports. The barns once stored produce such as grain or hay, keeping the contents free of ground level water, and preventing rats or other vermin from reaching them. The wooden building rests on the smooth round tops of the mushroom shapes.

Later, I gave the following posts the upgrade to Block Editing:

because of the stable stones link;

because it continues the story of the arrival in Old Post House and has now been categorised as Garden. (The garden mentioned in Bats, above, is Elizabeth’s in which we worked before moving down here)

because it explains the stray header.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s tangy lemon chicken and colourful savoury rice with which she finished the Orvieto and I drank Puglia Nero di Troia 2020.

Ready For Spring

In bright, warm, sunshine this morning Martin cleared more of last year’s dead garden material.

Here he works around the patio and Dead End Path;

The Pond Bed is now ready for new growth,

such as the tree peony in the Palm Bed, to emerge.

Daffodils, for example the tête-à-têtes, are really proliferating.

Summer and Autumn seasonal statues continue to gather lichen,

while Florence casts her shadow across the Shady Path.

Hellebores are beginning to hold up their heads; berberis, sometimes somewhat nibbled lingers on; and a hyacinth which began life in a gift pot returns year after year.

This afternoon, I facilitated enlargement and provided header pictures for the following posts:

Essentially what I am doing with these Classic Edits is converting them to Blocks.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon toting a large bag of very good clothes for Ellie which had once served Ella or Jack. She stayed for cups of tea and conversation including swapping recommendations of TV programmes.

Later the rest of us dined on flavoursome pork bangers and creamy mash with tender cabbage, crunchy carrots, fried onions, and meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Reflections Of Pilley

Knowing that this morning’s dry weather was due to turn wet – which it did – Jackie and I took a forest drive that needed to extend no further than Pilley where rich photographic pickings were to be found.

As we clanked and clattered across the cattle grid into the village we found a veritable herd of shaggy haired donkeys foraging, sleeping, and scratching around the green at Pilley Street and May Lane

Some sprawled somnolently, their hooves tucked beneath them;

a small group surrounded a car attempting to drive down the lane;

others tore and crunched at prickly bushes;

one adventurous animal investigated a parked truck.

Some of those not using low scratching posts engaged in mutual grooming. The last of this group of pictures was obtained through the passenger window glass. I would the window down, saying I wonder whether I could get a clearer shot through the opening. “You won’t” said Jackie. An instant later the eye of a donkey appeared in my viewfinder. The hopeful animal had obscured my sight as it attempted to enter the Modus.

We wondered whether to take home to Dillon a baseball cap left on a post.

Further on, we witnessed much reflective activity on Pilley’s lake,

including that of Canada geese,

a pair of mallards,

and the ripples beneath an inactive set of branches.

Opposite the bus stop a grey pony enjoyed a lunch of cold soup. The last six of these pictures are Jackie’s.

Later, I continued the tedious task of facilitating enlargement of the pictures in the following posts from the Classic Editor period:

This evening we all dined on tender roast beef, crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding, with firm carrots and Brussels sprouts, and meaty gravy. Ellie enjoyed her squashed vegetables with gravy and horseradish sauce. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Facilitating Enlargement

spent much of the day recovering the pictures, including headers, to the following posts:

The first two of these have now been recategorised as Garden.

What I have discovered is that these very early posts, originally prepared with the Classic Editor, bear the statement Nothing Here when, in edit mode, I click on them to enlarge them, so, in order to make that possible I am converting them to Blocks. This, hopefully means that viewers should be able to enlarge them should they so wish.

This evening we all dined at Lal Quilla. My main course was Chicken Jaljala; Jackie’s Lal Quilla Special; Dillon’s Chicken Dansahk; and Flo’s Chicken Makhani. We shared rices, peshwari naan, and sag paneer. Jackie, Dillon and I drank Kingfisher, Flo J20 and Mango Lassi, which was one of the flavours Ellie enjoyed. The service and food was as excellent as ever.