War Of The Voles

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This afternoon I made a rather pathetic effort at clearing up some of the Head Gardener’s laborious pruning cuttings, then allowed myself to be diverted with a camera.

Leaving the house by the stable door gives a forked view down the Gazebo and Brick Paths.

We are led under the wisteria arbour which also supports a couple of clematises,

and beneath which lie other plants such as fuchsias and dahlias.

Other clematises scale the gazebo.

White sweet peas thrive on the arch linking the Weeping Birch Bed with the raised bed opposite.

Elizabeth's Bed

Elizabeth’s Bed is nicely fluffed up;

Bacopa in Florence's basket

Florence sculpture’s basket of bacopa is responding well to careful nurturing;

Phlox, petunias, lobelias, begonia

happy planting is displayed along the Shady Path where phlox in the bed; and petunias and begonias in the basket above  blend in a diagonal punctuated by lobelias.

Bees on alliums

Bees are particularly attracted to these purple alliums.

Clematis in Rose Garden

A true blue clematis climbs the potting shed in the Rose Garden;

Snapdragons

and a bright red snapdragon hangs by the kitchen window.

One evening recently Jackie spotted a little furry creature that we thought to be a vole. She has been nurturing an ailing Bishop of Llandaff  in the New Bed for a while now. This morning the whole plant had disappeared. Just behind the vacant space was a tiny tunnel. A vole had struck. They are apparently partial to dahlia corms. So far, others in the bed have survived. Apparently there is little defence possible against their tiny teeth.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak on Mexican burgers, fresh salad, coleslaw, and French fries. the meals were very good, as was the service. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Ringwood’s best.

Water, Water…… Hardly A Drop To Drink

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The best part of the day was taken up with body maintenance. We began with a drive to New Hall Hospital and a post-operative examination by Mr. Kask, the surgeon, who pronounced progress satisfactory. We did not take a diversion on the way back home because I had a G.P. appointment after lunch.

There was one complication during the knee replacement that I have felt indelicate to mention before. The insertion of a catheter is routine there. They couldn’t get mine in. A urologist was summoned to do the deed. An enlarged prostate was considered to be the problem. This was news to me. Rather unpleasant symptoms continued for the next three weeks. Given that my other knee replacement is due in about four months, it seemed a good idea to deal with the prostate post haste. That is why I saw G.P. Doctor Jansen this afternoon. She prescribed antibiotics, asked for a urine sample, and made a referral to Mr. Guy, the urologist at New Hall.

After this, Jackie drove us into the drier and drier forest. On the road to Exbury a very small grey pony tagged along with his bigger cousins, foraging for what fresh greenery could be found.

Squirrel in dried up pond

Not far on a squirrel squatted on the bed of a pool that normally contains paddling mallards and larger ponies up to their knees in the water they drink.

Couple in water

There was, however, no shortage of seawater at Lepe beach, where synchronised swimming

and solitary sailboarding was under way.

Back on the Exbury road, a group of small cattle found some potable water, slaked their thirsts, and pestered the traffic.

The rice Jackie produced this evening – so packed with chopped omelette, chestnut mushrooms, peppers, onions and peas – was a meal in itself. It was, however, accompanied by pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce. Neither of us imbibed.

Morning And Evening Light

In the early morning light this morning, carrying the camera, I walked to the far end of the back drive to open the gate for Aaron.

Rose peach

The peach rose we inherited beside the patio is producing more blooms.

Petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, lobelias

Just one example of Jackie’s splendid planting in that area includes petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, and lobelias.

Geranium

This geranium hangs in a basket suspended from the kitchen wall.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the bed beside the Wisteria Arbour was still in shade. After taking this picture I dead-headed a number of small orange poppies.

Lilies

Clumps of these heady scented lilies stand either side of the Westbrook Arbour.

Crocosmias and verbena bonarensis

I turned into the back drive around the corner of the New Bed, where crocosmias blazed in front of verbena bonarensis.

Rose Dearest

There are two Dearest rose bushes in the herbaceous border along the drive. One is laden with blooms; the other is struggling.

Later, Elizabeth visited with Danni and Andy in order to deliver various items of equipment for her room. My sister has sold her house and not yet found another. She will live with us while she seeks one.

Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic.

Crocosmia Lucifer

The late afternoon light burnished crocosmia Lucifer in the Palm Bed;

Day lilyDay liliesDay lilies

various day lilies,

Day lily and hydrangea

and a bright red hydrangea.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I chose Davedush, while Jackie’s preference was Chicken dopiaza. We shared an egg paratha and special fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

Haven’t We Seen Them Before?

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This being a glorious Saturday in the tourist season, we ventured out early into the forest. Groups of walkers toting huge packs; a solitary jogger; and numerous cyclists were already on the road.

Jackie parked the Modus on a verge in the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive while I wandered among the giant redwoods and the cones underfoot.

A number of benches have been strategically placed, some partnered by marker posts bearing interesting carvings, perhaps from these majestic trees.

Our stopping point was prompted by my spotting a family group on a bench alongside a path. A couple with a dog walked past them and continued on their way. The youngest member of the group rose from her seat and photographed the others. She enjoyed a stretch, and they walked on with their dog.

Many other families could be glimpsed among the forest giants. One couple pushed a baby in a buggy; slightly older children and other dogs scampered along.

Two groups converged, and passed each other with no apparent acknowledgement. Just a moment. Haven’t we already seen the second group on the other side of the road?

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst on our way home, a group of pony trekkers crossing the road demonstrated that it is not just the free-ranging animals that hold up the traffic.

For me, this afternoon’s main viewing event was the Wimbledon women’s tennis final between Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams. Scheduling clashes and delay caused by last night’s epic men’s battles meant I could not watch the tennis on BBC One and the third place World Cup football play-off between England and Belgium on ITV. I settled for the continuation of the Djokovic/Nadal semi final into the fifth set, then the first half of the football, followed by the complete women’s final.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika with vegetable rice. She had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Malbec in the Rose Garden beforehand.

 

Paol Soren Was Right

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This afternoon I planned to take a trip to Mudeford Quay after watching the Wimbledon semi final match between Kevin Anderson and John Isner. After the third consecutive tie-break set I decided to leave the match and Jackie drove me to Mudeford. On our return home, the fifth set had just begun. This was clearly going to take some time, so we reversed our normal process; ate lasagna and salad from plates on our knees watching the match, and drank our Malbec and Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden almost two hours later. When the final point was scored, the set closed at 26/24; the contest had lasted 6 hours and 35 minutes; and both men had grown stubble.

The reason I was keen to go to Mudeford was that when, some time ago, we had last seen low tide at this location Paul Soren had calculated that the next time this would occur would be today.
Sure enough, my Australian friend was right. We could see the sandbanks and the marker buoys. In the final picture in the above group a little motorised boat comes into view.
For safe passage, this was steered through the port and starboard markers.
On this glorious summer’s day people of all ages and sizes endeavoured to catch crabs off the quayside,
while hopeful gulls circled overhead for any that may be dropped.
Angler
One solitary angler tried his luck.

 

Drinks In The Westbrook Arbour

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This afternoon I watched the women’s Wimbledon tennis semi final between Serena Williams and Julia Goerges.

Jackie in Westbrook Arbour

Our pre-dinner drinks this evening were taken in the Westbrook Arbour

giving us views down the Phantom Path and across the grass patch. Day lilies, various clematises, and a number of hanging baskets were in view. The only identification I can apply to the butterfly that flitted about is that it was a fritillary. I cannot be sure of its precise name.

When we are threatened with a thunderstorm, in recent years I have developed a bad headache. So it was this evening. I went to bed early in an attempt to sleep it off.

Drinks In The Rose Garden

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We have recently subscribed to a joint funeral plan which offered a free will writing service. It is a distinct example of my ability to grasp ambivalence that I can prepare for the inevitable whilst at the same time feeling it is not going to happen to me.

By appointment today, the will writer telephoned and gleaned all the necessary information for her to draft up documents for both of us. As the Administration Department of our marriage I then prepared Jackie’s application for a renewal of her driving license. She signed it, of course. It hasn’t found its way to a post box yet.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon quarter final tennis match between Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson. I will not give away any details for those who may have recorded the game, save to say that there was a certain amount of consternation that it might continue long enough to clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final contest with Croatia.

Have no fear, we even had time for drinks in the Rose Garden, where, in addition to the many roses, we could enjoy other plants such as lilies and the Lanarth White lace cap hydrangea.

We watched the first half of the football on the sofa with bowls of Jackie’s superb pork paprika on our knees. This was served with new potatoes and chantenay carrots. I drank a Mendoza Malbec 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden. Now we are going to see the second half.