September Approaches


Ash on marigolds

Although, like this on these marigolds, a certain amount of ash remains from the North Breeze bonfire,

Brick Path, smoke, and mechanical digger

the prevailing wind has changed and the fire much less prevalent. The mechanical digger glimpsed over the fence is levelling the now plantless next door garden.

This afternoon we both took up deadheading again. When I became bored with snipping, I wandered around with the camera for a while.

Garden view across Margery's Bed

This is a view from Margery’s Bed looking towards the Rose Garden

Rose Gaujard

where Rosa Gaujard is among the flourishing roses

Clematis Duchess of Albany

and Clematis Duchess of Albany festoons the arbour.

Gazebo Path

Alongside the Brick Path

Palm Bed

lies the Palm Bed with its resplendent rudbeckia and Japanese anemones.

Garden view from Shady Path towards house

From the Shady Path we are led towards the house.


Just visible among the wisteria leaves these rich red dahlias stand proud,

Dahlias 2

while a striated variety remains out of range to the left of the picture.

Shady Path

This similar view from further along the path


contains the hanging basket featuring bell-like begonias.


Delicate pink lilies float over

Cryptomeria Bed

the Cryptomeria Bed.

Hanging basket

All the hanging baskets demonstrate their gratitude that their thirst has been regularly slaked.

Clematis Star of India

Clematises like Star of India continue to shine,

New Guinea impatiens

and New Guinea impatiens brightens several beds.


I didn’t get around to deadheading these cosmoses, because

Jackie brought me the telephone which emitted the voice of our mortgage advisor. I needed to return inside, turn on the computer, download some documents, and endeavour, with his assistance to understand  their contents. This took some time, and I wasn’t up to returning to the gardening afterwards. Instead, I drafted this description of the condition of our garden as September approaches.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, despite the fact that they were very busy, we received our usual warm welcome and friendly service with excellent food. My choice was lamb naga. We shared special fried rice, a plain naan and an onion bhaji; and both drank Kingfisher.




Do Cattle Predict Rain?


After much overnight rain, today was humid, overcast, and drizzly.

Kitchen Makers

It seemed a good morning to visit Kitchen Makers in Sway. The Culinary Queen has been managing with a less than ideal cooking area since we moved here three years ago. Of the two local outlets, there are no prizes for guessing why this one should have taken the Head Gardener’s fancy as the first to investigate. An on-site visit has been arranged.

Heather 1Heather 2Heather 3Heather 5Heather and gorse 1Heather and gorse 2Heather, gorse, and blackberries

Afterwards we took a drive through the forest where even the swathes of heather and clumps of gorse could barely enliven

Landscape overcast

the gloom.

Cattle 1

Now, does anyone really know whether cattle can predict rain? As a townie, I grew up believing that they always lay down when it was about to rain.

Cattle and ponies 1

It seems this is now in doubt. Whatever the truth of the matter, it was clear to us that all the ponies we peered at through the drizzle remained on their feet, whereas the cows chewed the cud in a recumbent position. Anyone wishing to examine the issue may find why do cows lie down on Google helpful. On the other hand, they may not.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, boiled potatoes and carrots, piquant cauliflower cheese, and spinach. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.


The White Doves Of St James’s


Before we set off for Emsworth yesterday afternoon, we watered every plant container in the garden. This took some time. Just as we passed Brockenhurst on the way to Becky’s birthday celebration, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Returning home for it added 45 minutes to our journey.


Assembled at the North Road flat were Matthew;

Jackie and Tess

Tess, seen here with Jackie;


Becky’s friend, Naomi

Louis and Ian

and her son, Louis;



Becky 2

Becky, seen here expressing surprised pleasure at our present of a Jutta Manser wood engraving;

Poppy 1

and, of course, Poppy, here taking one of Flo’s teddies for a walk in her grown-up cousin’s toy pushchair;

Poppy 2

trying on a Princess crown she had made herself,

Poppy and Tess 2Poppy 3Poppy and Tess

changing into a suitable outfit to match that of another teddy;

Poppy 4Poppy 6

rolling around the floor;

Poppy 5

and bouncing a balloon.

Poppy 7

Across the road at Nicolino’s restaurant our granddaughter polished off two bowls of olives before the starters arrived,

Toast featuring Poppy, Matthew, Ian, etc.Toast featuring Becky, Poppy, and Ian

then enthusiastically joined in the toast.

Matthew, Ian, and Louis

I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen.

Naomi, Becky, Tess, and PoppyBecky, Tess, and PoppyBecky and Tess 2Naomi, Becky, TessBecky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 1Becky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 2

Jackie, opposite me, photographed the ladies. Matthew was also engrossed in the story Becky was relating. Poppy, twisting her noodles, seemed a little concerned that her Grannie had grown a flashing object on her face.

Becky, Tess, Poppy

Eventually the menu was studied for a choice of desserts.

Becky, Tess, Poppy, IanBecky, Tess, Poppy 2Matthew, Ian, Louis

Tess’s sunglasses were passed around.

Becky 3

Here is Becky looking none the worse towards the end of the evening,

Poppy and Tess

and Poppy as lively as ever.

Derrick 19.8.17

This could hardly be said of me when Tess came over to photograph my rather daunting Eton Mess, before which I had consumed a fine minestrone soup with chunks of white bread, followed by an appetising fish risotto. Naomi and I shared the best part of a bottle of Bardolino. As you can see, I was past caring what anyone else had enjoyed.

We stayed the night at Becky and Ian’s and returned home soon after 8 a.m.

Rooftops 1Balustrade with sparrowRooftops 2

Before this I photographed some rooftops from the balcony. Visible in this third picture are

Doves and belfry 1Doves and belfry 2

the white doves that live in and around the belfry of St James’s church.

Doves flying round belfry 1Doves flying round belfry 2Doves flying round belfry 3

Periodically the birds would take off,

Doves in flight

wings glinting, fly over the houses,

Doves flying round belfry 4Doves flying round belfry 5

and return home to roost.

This evening we dined on flaky smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and carrots, with bright green spinach. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf du Paps 2015.





Ladybird, ladybird…….


Solanum and honeysuckle

As shown from the solanum and honeysuckle on the trellis, our front garden remained free of ash from next door’s bonfire,

Ash on pulmonaria leaves

and, although some the precipitation, such as this on the pulmonaria

Ash on Japanese anemones

and Japanese anemones, remains,

Dragon Bed

the fire has died down and we are able to see the garden views again, and beds like that of the Dragon are able once more to savour the sunlight.


This decorative dahlia

Oval Bed 2

sharing the Oval Bed with orange hawkweed,

Oval Bed

bidens, phlox, and rampant rudbeckia, basks in a more pleasant source of warmth.

Gladiolus and sweet peas 1

Gladioli and sweet peas retain their pristine whiteness;

Iron urn

contents of the iron urn cascade over the Brick Path;

Chrysanthemums 1

and these potted chrysanthemums enjoy the increase of light provided by the removal of the North Breeze jungle.

Stinging nettle in Elizabeth's Bed

Splendid stinging nettles, like this one in Elizabeth’s Bed, are making their presence felt. They will have to go.


Little cherry tomatoes are ripening;

View across grass patch

the grass looks lush;

View from Phantom Path across Weeping Birch Bed

and the Weeping Birch Bed,

Kitchen Bed

Kitchen Bed,

Rose GardenMirror in Rose Garden

and Rose Garden, fresh again.

Ladybird on dahlia

Now, what do we have here? “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home; your house is on fire and your children are gone.”

This afternoon we are on our way to Emsworth for a family celebration of Becky’s birthday. We will stay overnight and I will report on that tomorrow. It will be an Italian meal at Nicolino’s.



Fifteenth Anniversary


Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 1

This morning we set off on the Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail. At each end of the road through the village and its environs a town crier announced the event.

Various outlets sold leaflets listing the entries with a map showing their locations. The price was £1 in aid of the Village Hall. Most scarecrows sported a receptacle for donations to the same cause. We bought ours from Tyrell’s Ford Country Inn. As this was the last stop on the route, we carried on our search in reverse order, although my photographs are here presented starting at number 1.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 12

This was The Scarecrow with no Name!! outside Old School House. It didn’t look much like Clint Eastwood.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 18Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 14Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 13

24, Dragon Cottages was responsible for both no. 2, We’re all going on a Summer Holiday;

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 15

and no. 3, We have gone to Pot.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 16

Gangsta Grannie resided at 23, Dragon Cottages. It was a neat touch to provide her with a walking frame.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 17

A punster was responsible for Country Life is in the Jean’s (sic).

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 25

Charlie the Train was a recycling of Thomas the Tank Engine featured four years ago. An engineer stands in the cab;

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 40

the prospective passenger behind him can be seen through a window;

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 26

and a signalman waits outside. This exhibit was produced by the residents of 71, Lower Kingston.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 27

A subtle wit was employed for I’m just Cheese (Cheese straws – Get it?), at Clover Cottage, 16 Lower Kingston.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 41Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 28

It was particularly breezy at White House, Kingston, where Crow Farm was situated. The farmer had lost his hat and his wife swizzled on her stick.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 29

I picked up and replaced the hat (seen beside the wall in the first picture) and the wind righted the good lady. They seemed rather pleased.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 30

There was a Hive of Activity outside Iona, 18 Christchurch Road. Witticisms were written on tags attached to some of the bees,

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 31

and other clever details, such a bridal couple.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 32

A leggy spider is Surfing the Web outside 221, Christchurch Road,

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 33

while on the green across the road cheeky Peekaboo Pikachus enlivens the shrubbery.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 34

Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson peers from the garden of 6 New Road.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 35

By the cattlegrid in the forest on Charles Lane we have Not Forest Rangers it’s the Power Rangers.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 36

3 Little Pigs inhabit the brick sitting room outside Rose Cottage, 51 Bagnum. Mum’s photograph stands on the mantelpiece, and a notice asks visitors if they can find

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 37

the Big Bad Wolf.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 39

At 37, Sandford, Country Fun portrays the television programme Country File. Each of the figures,

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 24

for example John Craven, carries a photographic image of a presenter.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 19

On the big oak trees in Dragon Lane hang an explanatory notice about Whispering Wood

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 20Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 21

and half a dozen pairs of eyes fashioned from car parts.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 23Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 22

A Tin Can Alley had been set up outside 39, Sandford, in Roll Up Roll Up.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 38

Another work that invites us to a further search is Noah’s Ark in the grounds of St Paul’s Church.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 7Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 8Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 11Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 9Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 10

We failed this one, because we only found five of the six pairs of animals.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 5

The Blue Planet appears somewhat out of its element outside the driveway to the Stable Family Trust.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 6

Wonder Woman had lost one of her amulets in the grass of Garden Cottage,

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 3

while another unlikely American symbol, Humpty Trumpty, sat on a wall

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 2

in the grounds of Tyrell’s Ford, above a snoozing Mexican.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 4

A fifteenth wedding anniversary was being celebrated outside Lower Bisterne Farm.

The Three Tuns 3The Three Tuns 2The Three Tuns 1

Having completed our tour we just had time for lunch in The Three Tuns at Bransgore.

Jackie enjoyed a burger, chips, and salad; while I chose superb Mudeford haddock and sea bass in an excellent sauce served with a crisp range of vegetables. My lady drank Peroni while I drank Ringwood’s best bitter. As usual, this rendered an evening meal unnecessary.


Donkeys and Ice Cream


When we arrived home from Elizabeth’s late yesterday afternoon, the house was very smoky, and the garden full of ash, all emanating from a bonfire in the North Breeze garden, which had been almost razed to the ground. The jungle is no more.

Much rain in the night freshened up our garden,

Bonfire in North Breeze garden 2Bonfire in North Breeze garden 1Bonfire in North Breeze garden 4Smoky garden 1

but had not put out the fire which was added to today.


Some parts of our plot and its contents, like these dahlias, still saw the sun,

Smoky garden 2Smoky garden 3Smoky garden 4Smoky garden 5Smoky garden 6Smoky garden 7

but mostly it remained befogged.

By Hatchet Pond

Elizabeth, Danni, and my great nephew Jasper, came to lunch, after which we drove in convoy to Hatchet Pond.

Jasper and Elizabeth 1Jasper and Elizabeth 2Elizabeth and Jasper 1Jasper 1

Jasper and his Gee-ma investigated the lapping wavelets at the edge of the water.

A woman handed the little lad a bag of prawn crackers with which to feed the water birds. As I said, you always receive too many of this freebies with a Chinese takeaway meal. Jasper wasn’t all that interested, so Danni decided to feed them to

Donkeys 1Donkey foalDonkey shadow

the hastily arriving donkeys, one of which was really very young.

Danni feeding donkey 1

She began with a medium-sized one,

Danni feeding donkey 2

which was head-butted away by the largest creature.

Donkey 1

This animal was so aggressive that the crackers were soon chucked on the ground.

Water liliesBall and water lily

Leaving Jackie on a bench, the rest of us walked to the far end of the pond, past the water lilies,

Women on bench

and others seated in the sun,

Jackie, Jasper, Danni, Elizabeth, ice creams, and donkey

in search of ice cream.

Jasper and Elizabeth 3

Elizabeth clutched wipes for protection against her grandson’s drips,

Jasper and Elizabeth 4

occasionally licking her lips in anticipation.

Ice cream melting

Eventually she was handed the melting cone.

Donkey close-up 1Donkey close-up 2Donkey close-up 3

After this, the aggressive donkey rested its muzzle on my lap.

We dined on Mr Pinks’s fish and chips, gherkins, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, while Elizabeth and I finished the Douro.

Jasper, Elizabeth and Danni

Danni has just e-mailed me our selfie on the bench.


A Little West End History


Barbe Baker Hall is named after the grandfather of a former resident of Elizabeth’s house, The Firs.


From my sister’s bathroom window can be seen the roof of this historic corrugated iron chapel. The tiled roof in the foreground is that of her purpose built workroom.

This ‘Tin Tabernacle’ is, according to, ‘a survivor of several “dissenter churches” founded in the area between 1764 and 1843 and is built of corrugated iron and painted green. It has the title “Barbe-Baker Hall” after the Rev. J.T.W. Baker who was Chaplain at the South Stoneham Union (Workhouse) situated a mile away. His grandson was the well known “Man of the Trees who collected trees from around the world and planted some fine specimens in local parks.’

Barbe Baker Hall 1Barbe Baker Hall 3Barbe Baker Hall 4Corrugated iron wall

Despite its dilapidated appearance, this establishment remains a regular place of worship.

Barbe Baker Hall and The Firs

Elizabeth points out that anyone interested might like to buy her house, glimpsed in this photograph, which is currently on the market for sale:

The Workhouse was, after the formation of the National Health Service in 1948, and with the addition of other premises, converted to the Moorgreen Hospital which. last year, was sold to developers.

Historic buildings have been retained and are being converted; some later, minor, buildings demolished;

The Pavilions 1

and the land filled with new flats and

The Pavilions 2The Pavilions 3The Pavilions 4

houses forming the residential development entitled The Pavilions,

The Pavilions 6The Pavilions 5Scaffolders 1Scaffolders 2Scaffolders 3

currently being constructed by Barratt Homes. The roof of the original building was, this afternoon, crawling with an army of scaffolders.

The Pavilions 7

Some of the properties are already occupied.

Apart from the now usual hold-up from horses on the road out of Beaulieu, we had an uneventful drive home from Elizabeth’, where we had stayed the night.

My sister had provided an excellent roast chicken lunch, so pizza and salad was all we needed to keep us going through evening. With this, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I consumed more of the Douro.