The Tenacious Rose

The Golden Cockerel Press was an English fine press operating between 1920 and 1961. Its history and further information can be found in

Tapster’s Tapestry is a little gem of satirical phantasy published in 1938 which I finished reading last night. These two illustrations are of the title page and the jacket, repeating one of the full page illustrations and made of stiff cartridge paper, still intact after 82 years.

Gwenda Morgan’s illustrations are good examples of her period.

As we left the house for a forest drive this afternoon we admired the tenacity of this strongly scented climbing rose clinging to life suspended by a stem broken by the recent storm Alex.

Today was unseasonably warm with sunshine and showers subject to fast moving clouds photographed at various autumnal locations including

Bennets Lane;

Anna Lane;

and Forest Road

with its now replenished reflective pools.

Ponies enhanced the landscape on the road to Burley

where curly tailed piglets buried their snuffling, snorting, snouts in their frantic competitive foraging for acorns.

I am delighted to report that there was plenty of Jackie’s chicken and leek pie for another sitting served with crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Montpeyroux Recital 2018.

Edwin Drood

My inspirational teacher, Richard Milward, featured in stressed that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. As I have progressed through my reading life I have come to believe that the journey through a book has been more important to me than the focus on a satisfactory ending. Charles Dickens, however, would have followed Mr Milward’s mantra – and rightly so.

The exception of course was

This was no fault of the author who had panned out his tale in his even more than usually cryptic notes, but unfortunately fell to a fatal heart attack when only a third of the way through the work. Just three of the chapter instalments had been published and Dickens had been compelled to elide some of the text for the next two because he had written too much for their publication in their customary form. It was left to others to edit the rest and reintroduce the omissions.

Despite its gradual infusion of foreboding, the writer’s customary dry wit and humorous descriptions feature throughout the published sections. The characterisation is typical of the master, and has the promise of more complexity than usual.

I have to acknowledge a gradual slackening of interest in the last fifty pages or so: perhaps I did really need to know there would be one of my old schoolmaster’s favoured endings; perhaps the humour had lessened; perhaps the emphasis on the likely death of Edwin reflected Charles Dickens’s premonition of his own demise.

Would it not have served our great novelist’s memory better to have left the publication of Edwin Drood at the episodes he saw into print himself?

Christopher Hibbert’s introduction to my Folio Society edition is useful and informative, as is the publisher’s note on the text and reproduction of Dickens’s own outline plan.

The illustrations,

in the artist’s typically lively idiosyncratic style, are faithful to the text and refuse to be constrained by the same boundaries as the typeset blocks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s Chicken and leek pie, which she photographed herself; creamy mashed potatoes; green peas; crunchy carrots; piquant cauliflower cheese; tender cabbage, and tasty gravy with which we jointly finished the Sauvignon Blanc.

From Garden To Woodland

Jackie spent much of the morning working in the greenhouse, alongside which this is the

view to the yellowing weeping birch.

Pansies are blooming in the iron urn and in hanging baskets;

others of which contain such as petunias and calendulas.

It is still the season for dahlias of varying hues.

A variety of fuchsias continue to thrive, as do

clematises, calendulas, nicotiana sylvestris, Chilean Lantern tree, heucheras, Compassion rose, nasturtiums, geranium Rozanne, sweet peas, and hot lips.

These final views are of the Gothic arch and the Shady Path with its owls.

Drops from the early morning rain may be seen on a number of the individual images which may need bigifying (a word which the internet owes to the late Pauline King).

Late this afternoon we shopped for toiletries in Old Milton before driving into the forest where

I rambled among the ponies foraging in the woodland alongside Bisterne Close.

Clouds loured over the Holmlsey skyline as we returned along the eponymous Passage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s golden smoked haddock; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; green peas; and bright orange carrots, with which we both drank Valle de Leyda gran reserva Suvignon Blanc 2019.

Still Tagging Along

Work continued on the Rose Garden this morning. We used a metal mallet to straighten the legs of the recent acquired rusty obelisks and hammer them into position.

More fallen leaves from the copper beech tree were swept, gathered up with big hands, and deposited into

black bags in bin subsequently transferred to the compost area. The potted pansies in the above pictures have settled in nicely.

Penstemons and fuchsias continue to thrive.

As seen on the Shady Path there are many more leaves to be collected.

This afternoon Jackie began our Christmas shopping at Otter Nurseries while I sat in the car and read more of Edwin Drood.

Although we had enjoyed the best of the light this morning we then drove into the forest where

trees are turning on Pilley Hill.

At the Lodge Lane road junction

donkeys foraged;

fallen trees stretched across the woodland;

and burnished mushrooms burgeoned beneath golden-brown beech leaves.

Indigo clouds swept across pale pink skies over St Leonard’s Road where

our familiar miniature pony still tagged along with the big girls;

and strutting pheasants trotted across adjacent fields.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Takeaway’s tasty fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Corbieres.

One For Flo

On a dismally dull albeit dry day we spent much of the morning tidying up the Rose Garden. This involved pruning, dead-heading, planting bulbs, and sweeping up lashings of leaves shed by the overhead copper beach. There is much more to be done, but we gave ourselves the afternoon off and went for a drive.

On Thatcher’s Lane we had settled in for a long, slow journey behind three equestriennes, when they cantered on ahead and down a slope to pull over on a verge to let us pass. We exchanged greetings as we did so.

Further along the road Jackie disembarked to purchase a plump pumpkin from the display outside a small house.

Crossing into Fish Street I enjoyed watching a group of what I think are rheas feeding in a field.

Readers may care to read

in order to understand the title and header picture.

Pannage pigs at Ibsley had attracted the usual attentive visitors. Despite the nose rings intended to deter deep excavation these snuffling porkers churned up quite a lot of soil. (It has just occurred to me to wonder whether the human fashion for nose rings has a similar reason). The last picture in this gallery displays the classic curly pigtail.

On an unnamed lane on the approach to Godshill we met a stag which paused, weighed up its options, then leapt uphill through a thick hedge to allow us safely to pass.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Corbieres.

Impact On The Horizon

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon reading “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, and, as yet, like its author, I have not finished it. I will feature it when I do.

Later, we drove into the forest where

Jackie parked beside Ran’s wood and I rambled with my camera.

A febrile squirrel periodically caught my eye.

While I concentrated on nearby chickens at Beaulieu Jackie focussed on distant egrets.

Fawley Power Station’s lesser impact on the horizon is to disappear when it has been demolished for housing development. It is represented by the unlit tower to the far right of the broader view. The Refinery pictured here continues, and is the largest in Europe.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank 2107 Corbieres.

Taking A Chance

There is a direct path from the kitchen window featuring our late beloved blogging friend, Pauline’s, light catcher to my computer station.

The light prism cast by this often accompanies me as it did this morning – a comforting reminder of a lovely lady.

After a reading session this afternoon Jackie drove me to Puttles Bridge so I could walk

along the Ober Water Trail. There were very few other walkers; only the barking of dogs disturbed the otherwise silent solitude. Fallen and broken trees, some across the stream, others sporting graffiti, gave evidence of the recent heavy winds. Leaves floated in the rippling water until coming to rest at a log dam; beneath my feet acorns nestled among exposed sylvan roots. The red and yellow notches in the various posts along the way signified the length one could choose to walk, red for one mile and a half, yellow for one mile. It is only when you near the one mile bridge that the path offers a glimpse of the water reflecting the surrounding woodland. When I first took this walk at the beginning of the year I didn’t have the energy to approach the stream for pictures such as these. Today this seemed not far enough just to turn round and retrace my steps.

I therefore decided to take a chance on the path across the bridge at one mile linking up with another path leading from Puttles Bridge.

It didn’t. It took me up a slope offering silhouettes of walkers and ponies. and leading to a closed visitor centre.

Looking back at the tree line tracking Ober Water I set off across the tufted, often soggy, terrain, avoiding heaps of pony droppings, trying neither to trip over clumpy shrubbery nor sink into boggy bits, and eventually finding the location of the Puttles Bridge area.

Feeling on my last legs this is what I met.

I then had to scramble my way across to the road and take the long way back to the Modus. By the time I had reached the entrance to the car park I was so obviously knackered that it was necessary to persuade a party of four leaving the car park that I did not need them to turn round and drive me the last fifty yards or so. The trek had lasted 70 minutes.

This evening we enjoyed a dinner of Jackie’s most flavoursome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; tender runner beans; crunchy carrots and firm broccoli, with which I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie didn’t.

Pork Scratchings

On our visit to Mum at Woodpeckers Care Home this morning she may have had difficulty remembering what she was meant to be doing this week, but her reminiscing was pretty sharp. It was sometime in the 1980s that I ran The Paris Marathon and she hadn’t been there but she told us all about it. Even more detailed was her description of how her father earned his life-saving certificate in Manchester in the 1930s. He had been in the process of shaving when my uncle Ben rushed in to tell my Grandpa that three girls had fallen into the deep water in the disused marl pit. George Hunter, one cheek still lathered, dropped everything and ran up the hill to the pit. One girl was lost; one another man failed to resuscitate; the third was saved by my grandfather.

A transformer was being changed by the electricity company in our area and we knew we would have no supply until mid afternoon. We therefore drove to Friars Cliff to try lunch at The Beach Hut Café. The car park was full so we turned away and continued to Hockey’s Farm Shop for brunch.

On the way to Friars Cliff Jackie parked in Lake Grove Road so I could wander round the lake that lies beside the B3058 along which the man in the last picture in the gallery was walking into New Milton. Two different groups kept their distances beside the water and a young woman pushed a buggy in their direction. Mallards paddled; two-tone trees and silhouetted bridges reflected; pebbles glistened in the water; cyclamen clustered among the dappled woodland.

Pannage pigs crossed the road at Ibsley;

some enjoyed a reflective paddle;

two busied themselves scratching against low wooden posts.

Despite doubtful clouds the rain desisted.

At Hockey’s Jackie photographed samples of autumn produce being sold in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

As readers will know, ponies have the right of the way in New Forest roads like this on on the way up to Gorley Common.

Any vehicles approaching another on an uphill climb where passing is not possible without backing up or finding a place on the verges has the right of way anywhere.

This was ignored by a van driver who descended the hill at a rapid rate forcing Jackie to reverse a considerable distance. When we encountered him later swinging round a bend far too fast in our direction in another part of Gorley we expressed the vengeful wish that he was late and hopelessly lost.

An autumnal scene with horses and another silhouetted equine pair compensated for the actions of the bully.

‘Little Thatch’ at Hyde has some time recently been gutted by fire.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious chicken stoup and toast, followed by rhubarb and ginger ice cream.

Car Park Conversation

We have a popular adage that asserts that all accidents come in threes. So it is with cafetière glasses. We keep spares for the large one that dispenses our morning coffee. Two have been broken in the last month. That left one. This afternoon we therefore visited the Christchurch Sainsbury’s to maintain our reserves. Jackie was successful in this purchase and bought a few more items while she was at it. This left me in the car without a book. After a while a piercing voice penetrated the fifty yards or so between me and its owner. Phrases like “blue smoke”, “three times”, “I was in Social Services”, and “I went into lots of houses” reached me quite easily.

That held my attention for quite some time. The patient listener eventually managed to unload his trolley and make his way across the car park to return it to its stand. The picture showing part of a white head does not feature the capped head that had stopped him and continued to talk and no doubt gesticulate. Even when the victim did escape the orator continued from a distance. Eventually the shopper reached the security of his car and the other man wandered away.

Just after Jackie returned to the car a heavy shower set in. I was quite grateful that it had not curtailed my entertainment.

We then took a drive through the rain,

which paused for me to photograph landscapes looking down from Braggers Lane.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage, liver, and Bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Réserve de Bpnpas Cotes du Rhone 2019.

A Change Of Diet

The morning was dry with bouts of sunshine when

Jackie wandered around the garden with her camera. She went out to photograph the Amistad salvia but got carried away and also pictured agapanthus seeds, dahlias, rudbeckias, roses, clerodendrum trichotomum, begonias, fuchsias, sedum, phlox; and a fly, wasps, and a shield bug perched on ivy flowers. As usual individual titles appear in the gallery which can be enlarged by clicking on any image.

On our afternoon drive we witnessed dramatic skies releasing a number of heavy showers as seen descending from the louring clouds in two of these images and producing at least one rainbow. The last three of these pictures were taken from Beaulieu Road on our way home. The first two from Coombe Lane, Sway where

sunlight picked out the autumn colours in the trees as a lone horse walked down its sloping field.

The first shower sent a group of ponies alongside the Brockenhurst road to shelter as close to the trees as possible.

Pannage pigs munching on sweet chestnuts brought a number of visitors’ cars to a halt in order to disgorge their drivers and passengers to watch and photograph the animals delighting in their change of diet from the more available acorns.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage, liver, and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potato; firm and flavoursome Brussels sprouts; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.