‘I Was Afraid You Were Going To Say That’

Early this morning I continued working my way through the backlog of e-mails.

Shrubbery clearance

I then finished clearing the section of overgrown shrubbery. This involved extracting more stubborn roots; dismantling the rock wall in the middle of it; using some of these to build up the border with the pergola path, and laying others as access stepping stones; finally digging over all the old soil and adding Jackie’s sifted compost.

When we settled down to our now customary lunchtime fix of the antiques programme, ‘Bargain Hunt’, we could receive no sound on the TV. We watched that with sub-titles, but the situation prompted me into action.

It is fairly obvious that maintenance of the garden takes priority over the house in our summers. But the telly was just one issue demanding of attention that has been put on the back burner.

Speaking of burners, we have not used our log burning stove, because we don’t trust it without having had it overhauled. So, a voicemail message was left for a chimney sweep.

We have Everest windows that don’t fit properly, and a Velux window that leaks. A message was left for a double-glazing expert.

The sound had disappeared from the television some months ago, and Ben from Milford Sound & Vision had come to fix it. He had at first thought the set was kaput, but managed to sort it out. This time it may not be so easy. We drove to Milford and after some discussion Ben sold us a new TV. This will be delivered and installed next Wednesday. I think we can live without sound for eight days, although it does mean I will be unable to enjoy ‘The Big Bang Theory’ just by listening to the dialogue which I enjoy from my corner chair whilst I am working on the pc.

We need a shower shield in the guest bathroom, and have a leak in the outside tap which services the garden. Having been unable to receive a reply on either of The Lady Plumber’s numbers, we drove on to her home the other side of Highcliffe. The said Sam was about to go on holiday and will contact us when she returns home. I had also left a message for another plumber, Mike, who texted me this evening saying he would call next week.

Although there wasn’t.as yet, anything to show for it, I felt I had at least achieved something, entitling me to a wander round the garden. While I was doing this, the windows man called and arranged to visit us on Thursday.

Rose Winchester Cathedral

Rose Winchester Cathedral now displays its first object of veneration.

Roses - scarlet

The blooms on this unidentified scarlet rose stand a good eight feet over the Oval Bed.

View down Pergola Path

The rose garden is now visible down the Pergola Path.


We have a number of hibiscuses, one of which is in the front garden,


where a myrtle is beginning to ignite its star-bursts.

The Head Gardener went off to buy plants for the exposed bed, and we later planted

Echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckia perovskia

echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckias, and perovskia Blue Spires in the vacant space.

Soon after this the chimney sweep responded to my message. When I confirmed our address, Barrie, the tradesman, said ‘Crikey. I was afraid you were going to say that’. He had examined the stove for our predecessors, had told ‘the gentleman’ what a state it was in, and what needed to be done. He had heard no more. Nothing daunted, he will come again next week.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s delicious liver casserole, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots, followed by custard tarts. I finished the Italian red wine and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.


  1. @ I think we can live without sound for eight days, I think I could live without my TV for eight days. I would hate to live without internet connection though. That would be tough.

    Beautiful blooms. Garden maintenance is paying dividends 🙂

  2. Something’s occurred to me: how does Jackie rustle up all these mouthwatering suppers when she spends all day in the garden? Are there two of her?

  3. The cosmic myrtle is wondrous! I can see you and Jackie huddled under a blanket wearing beanies and watching a soundless tele ALL WINTER! There’s no other thing for it; move into the shed!

  4. So funny, Derrick. I can just see you both, eating lunch and watching TV with the sound off. Wouldn’t someone have wondered what the heck you were doing if they walked in?

  5. I love the Winchester Cathedral rose; I also Winchester Cathedral. I still get goose bumps when I think of their shattered stained glass window and how they pieced them back together.

  6. Your photo of the white rose is mesmerizing. Since I’m always trying to hypnotize myself, I gazed at it for a few moments… getting lost in the soft, white petals… trying to catch a whiff of the scent of rose… the picture began to get blurry… and…

    Nah, I can’t hypnotize myself, but your photo is gorgeous. 🙂

    1. It is heavily scented, all our new roses have to be scented, there is one exception, that is ‘For your eyes only’ I just loved the look of it so much.

  7. Ah, I felt accomplished for you just reading all your arrangements. I will be making some myself in the next week. Your stove must be in some condition to have the sweeps remember it that way. I hope it seems less burdensome to you than to your predecessor.

  8. That’s a very busy day indeed (I guess it shows what gets accomplished without TV). I don’t envy you coordinating up all of the trades. I can find that exhausting!
    The roses are heavenly – I really like that scarlet one – you don’t often see that shade in roses (mostly what passes for ‘scarlet’ is deep red or pinkish red). It reminds me of the miniature hybrid Rosa ‘Warm Welcome’

  9. Well, for once, I wasn’t consumed with envy at the description of what you dined on. Liver is on my “No, thank you”, list. But, I’ll bet The Cook does it beautifully for those who appreciate that particular organ of the body. (Hmm, fava beans and a fine Chianti, anyone?)

  10. Sounds like life at the little house in the big woods. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else. Good luck with all that needs to be fixed. At least you have those beautiful flowers as consolation.

  11. Always something with houses right Derrick? This is keeping you busy though – you are getting a lot accomplished. Seems like the garden has opened up a space for more beautiful plants – love the photographs!

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