Clouds Yesterday evening’s volcanic skies, casting an ochre glow on everything beneath them, delivered just a few heavy drops of the promised overnight rain. Ushering in the month of July, today was even hotter and more humid, yet largely overcast. Red Admiral pn hebe My early task was the dead-heading of roses, and lifting soil-filled window boxes onto the head gardener’s work table for planting. A lone Red Admiral butterfly struggled to slake its thirst on a hebe that the bees claimed as their own. Horses and oak I then walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back. Three horses, tails twitching to deter the flies, now sheltered under their favourite oak. One of these animals availed itself of a companion’s flickering switch, apparently to pick the insects out of its nostrils. Mallow

Small mallows now mingle with other plants in the hedgerow,

Footpath obscured

which bears evidence of one of the ways in which farmers obscure ramblers’ footpaths. Look hard, and you may see the Footpath sign that, last year, I could not find until winter.

This afternoon, Jackie found incriminating evidence on our back drive. In accordance with all crime scene investigations, forensics, in the form of me and my camera, were sent in to examine the remains.

A fine fishing line, attached to two square spools, led across the gravel from a gap in the north hedge, and disappeared through a hole in the fence belonging to number five Downton Lane. Doubling as Agent Gibbs, on loan from the American crime drama series NCSI (Navy Crime Scene Investigation), and suspecting that I knew where the trailing twine belonged, I questioned Karen from the Care Home. She had an idea that the owners, who were out at the moment, were residents. A most cooperative witness, she removed the lines from our drive, and pulled, at some length, the rest of them, containing hooks and bait, back through the fence. She identified them as crab lines. This seemed useful information, not to be regarded as tampering with the evidence.

Fishing line on back drive 1Fishing line on back drive 2Fishing line on back drive 3

Now, all you sleuths, equipped with this forensic record, and the knowledge that splendid white ducks are kept in the garden of the Care Home, and that a marauding black cat lives at Number 5, you must piece together the story for presentation in court. I am confident this this will not be beyond the capacity of that great story-teller, Bruce Goodman, at

Window boxes

Later this afternoon, once Jackie had worked her magic on them, I carried the flower-filled window boxes to the front garden wall, where I placed them as directed.

Tesco’s Oriental Kitchen, in the form of their Meal for Two, Menu A, provided tonight’s dinner. This consisted of prawn crackers, spring rolls, chicken & cashew nuts, sweet and sour chicken, and egg fried rice. I microwaved the two chicken dishes whilst Jackie, eschewing the cooking directions on the box, fried the spring rolls and then, adding a mangled egg, the rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed a little more of the cabernet sauvignon. My lady pronounced the meal acceptable. Naturally I agreed.


  1. Now Derrick, you just know Bruce will just kill them all off in some bizarre manner – poor ducks and or black kitty! The Red Admiral shot is just lovely and the window boxes are planted to perfection!

    1. Thank you for all this Pauline. It was difficult to catch the butterfly without a bee or two dive-bombing it. Bruce will surely have a neat twist on the tale

  2. Fabulous photographs, Derrick. I particularly love the butterfly one but I am biased. The volcanic clouds also captured my attention xx Rowena

  3. Cats are natural predators but humans are the most lethal kind. It’s no wonder people believe that the world was created for our consumption. Perhaps you’ve been rambling where you’re not wanted and the wire is there to trip you over 🙂

  4. Crab lines? No clue. The cat’s trying to trap ducks with a crab line? The ducks are trying to bell the cat (with a crab?) or strangle the cat (Bruce?) with the crab line…Someone is tying a snare? I’m dumbfounded, but entertained.

  5. OK – I shall work on Derrick. Crab lines on a driveway! I shall let you know (and send the bill) once a conclusion is reached. For starters, it sounds remarkably like it should be a scene from a Eugene Ionesco play! Thanks for the challenge. I’m already partly convinced that the Red Admiral on the hebe is trying to thwart the bee…

  6. This place of yours, a village on cliffs high above the sea, shimmers within a contained peace that feels almost hazy, almost like a dream. Its beauty can appear impossible, both as a whole and in the smallest of its parts. But now I think that this peace and beauty are also created, in large part by the uncommon fullness of your attention to them.
    I speculate now that you would see, create, and reflect peace and beauty’s details wherever circumstances placed you, even in places you wouldn’t choose to be – and that we would soon be as equally absorbed in your new gaze.

    In any case, I hope that you are also soon clambering down to any beach that beckons you, amidst people you don’t know, meeting new dogs and pointing to old dangers. XO

  7. So now, I’ve been introduced to yet another blog to follow!

    And, how come I had a strong urge to read Samuel Pepys, after reading your post?

  8. The flowers have blossomed beautifully, the garden is extraordinary. Don’t let anyone hurt the ducks or the kitty!!

  9. Those impressive volcanic clouds certainly delivered their powerful eruption in our part of the world. Crab lines at noon! That sounds intriguing!

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