Footpaths

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Phonebox and postbox

This morning I walked around the perimeter of the field by the disused phonebox and in service postbox, through Honeylake Wood,

Footpath 3

and back across the slender ribbon footpath that will soon be obscured by the farmer’s crops.

Landscape

Oak trees are among the latest to bear leaves, but those beyond the field are beginning to burgeon.

The occasional light aircraft droned overhead; my feet rustled the driest surface that I have experienced through the wood; and harsh squawks of pheasants lent dissonance to the sweeter notes of smaller birds. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Moss-covered trunk

Water in the downward sloping ditch often reaches this moss-covered trunk.

CelandinesDitch

Celandines carpet its somewhat dehydrated banks,

Footpath 2

and the normally sodden undulating footpath leading up to the bridge over the stream had no inclination to inhale my shoes.

Fallen birch

Smaller trees, like this birch, have been left straddling the path

Footpath 1Private Keep Out

from which ramblers are not encouraged to stray.

Tree bent by wind

As readers will know, we are not far from the sea. Many unsheltered trees are bent into shape by the force of the prevailing winds.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, although it was very busy, we received the usual warm welcome and excellent food. My choice was lamb Taba Shashlik Jalfrezi with pilau rice and a share of onion bhaji and egg paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

High Street night sky

The sun was just thinking about setting as we emerged into the High Street.

 

Gold Blends

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Jackie did a great deal of tidying and planting today whilst I carried out a little of the latter.

Landscape bark scattered

We suspected that once the landscape bark in the rose garden began to attract live bird food we would need to sweep the brick path on a regular basis. That time is upon us. Like human babies in highchairs, the carnivorous members of our avian population toss out what they are not partial to.

Our camellias bloom at different times.

Camellia

Whilst this deep red one is at its peak,

Camellias and Japanese maple

a lighter relative fades to meld with the neighbouring Japanese maple;

Daffodils

and these once bright yellow daffodil trumpets have also turned to old gold.

This afternoon I walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back.

Rape fieldSky over rape field

Landscape with rape

The golden field visible from our bedroom window

Hedgerow and rape field 1Hawthorn hedge and rape field

blends in the hedgerow with hawthorn

Lichen and rape field

and like-hued lichen.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack coated in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s excellent vegetable rice followed by Black Forest gateau, with which I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

 

Knitting

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Jackie drove me to New Milton this morning, for me to catch the train to Waterloo and lunch with Norman at Tas.

Pansies

The platform planter’s pansies sparkled with a sprinkling of early rain on this bright, sunny, day.

The train was packed, with many people standing. I homed in on the one seat unoccupied by a person. It bore a back-pack with a collection of papers on the table in front of it. I asked the man next to it if there was anyone sitting there. ‘No’, he said, got to his feet, removed the offending items, and placed them in the rack above. I ask you.

Shelly and Ron

On leaving the main entrance of Waterloo Station I stood contemplating the remaining tower that is the sole survivor of the Shell complex being replaced by residential apartments, when I felt a gentle pressure on my shoulder and turned to see Shelly and Ron, on their way home from a night in London.

City Tour bus

Watching a City Tour bus approach the circular IMAX cinema, I wondered how long such a ride would take.

Plane tree knit and new building

The construction alongside the Old Fire Station is rising faster than the new Shell complex. Anyone caring to enlarge the image of the passing scaffolders’ lorry will be treated to a certain dubious witticism.  In Emma Cons Gardens, opposite the Old Vic theatre, it appeared that the plane trees were being afforded protection against the recent unseasonal frosts. They bore arboreal versions of Hampshire horses’ rugs.

Plane tree knitsWe Knit WaterlooWe Knit Waterloo - Lower Marsh notice

Closer inspection revealed that their decoration is the inaugural part of a project designed to knit together some of our capital’s shopping streets., in this case Lower Marsh and The Cut.

Waterloo Millennium Green

Across the road in Lower Marsh, once described to me as ‘A Beautiful Setting’ Waterloo Millennium Green was beginning to attract basking visitors.

BT engineers

In The Cut itself, I enjoyed an entertaining conversation with a couple of burrowing BT engineers, who were intrigued to learn of our frequent contact with their country colleagues.

Norman and I enjoyed an excellent meal at Tas. My choice was slices of sirloin steak cooked in a tomato and almond sauce, followed by  a delicately flavoured cold rice pudding. We shared a bottle of the house red wine.

I travelled to Brockenhurst on my return from Waterloo. Jackie met me there and drove Godfrey Smith, who I had met on the train, to his Sway destination on our way home.

Palm Bed 1Palm Bed 2

As I thought she would, Jackie had almost completed the planting of the Palm Bed.

The Road To Little Dribbling

Why is it that writers of book blurbs and their jacket designers will often describe them as hilariously funny  at the expense of any other quality they may have? So it is with those of Bill Bryson, which is probably why I have not read one before ‘The Road To Little Dribbling’ that I finished today.

The book is humorous of course, but it is also a fond bitter-sweet ramble through the author’s adopted land. I haven’t read ‘Notes From a Small Island’, but the Daily Telegraph’s description of that would fit this sequel much more appropriately than those that follow. Our friend Barrie Haynes passed this one on to me because he thought my writing similar. I take that as a compliment.

After my lunch, a slice of pizza was ample sustenance this evening.

 

Rain Stops Planting

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It was Jackie who was up with the dawn this morning.

Frost and cherry blossom

She was struck by the frost on the Modus whilst the cherry was blooming, as the early sun lit the field behind the oak-lined hedge.

Frost on bench

The Castle Bench also had its share of white coating, although the sun had not yet reached the back.

Ladybird on euphorbia

By the time we drove off to buy 15 more packs of compost from Lidl, a ladybird (or ladybug if you are across The Pond) had been coaxed out to bask on euphorbia.

Palm Bed

We dug three bags of the compost into another section of the Palm Bed, and, until driven in by needle-sharp chilled rain, began inserting plants Jackie bought yesterday.

These evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious steak pie, new potatoes, and crunchy carrots, cabbage and cauliflower. She drank Blanche de Namur and I drank Axis Margaret River cabernet sauvignon 2014.

Steamrollers

Dawn

Despite the promising dawn this morning,

and the generally bright, if cold, day, hailstones ricocheted off my window panes as I scanned another batch of colour slides I made earlier -in 1977 to be precise.

That June Jessica, Matthew, Becky and I spent a weekend with our friend Carole in Ipswich.

Becky 6.77 1Matthew 6.77

The two children were happy taking turns in Carole’s hammock.

The following month I attended a steam fair in Mitcham.

Steemroller wheel 7.77

This was the wheel of a steamroller

Oilcan 7.77

that carried its own oilcan.

Such vehicles were responsible for smoothing out the road surfaces of my youth. Many’s the time we all dashed out into the street to watch and listen to the clouds of steam rising above the  toffee-like tarmac being rolled out under the three whopping wheels.

Enthusiasts painstakingly nurture these splendid, lumbering, giants of the road and display them at fairs across the country. This one was made by Aveling & Porter, the first successful manufacturers.

At the beginning of September, we attended the annual Soho Festival, where we were entertained by

Dancers 9.77Dancer 9.77

dancers from The Philippines,

Korean martial arts 9.77 1Korean martial arts 9.77 2

and exponents of Korean martial arts. When, having emitted the required sounds, this expert brought his arm down on the breeze blocks each one in the stack was neatly cut into two. Don’t try this at home.

Spaghetti eating contest 9.77

Always popular, the spaghetti-eating competition attracted its usual audience. I console myself with the thought that the scowls in evidence here were prompted by the self-inflicted torture the contestants were experiencing, rather than being a response to my lens.

Gypsy Joe 9.77

Gypsy Joe, on the end of the table, was, to the locals at least, a well-known Soho photographer.

This evening Jackie and I finished yesterday’s Chinese takeaway, followed by Black Forest gateau. I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012

 

New Arrivals

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Poppy and customers

This morning we all joined the other customers in the cafe. Poppy did actually eat most of what was on her plate.

An hour or so later, Jackie and I set off back home, reaching there early in the afternoon.

Aaron had moved a clump of ornamental grass further back in the Palm Bed,

Chair and candlestick

and removed rust from most of the furniture in the rose garden and painted it with Hammerite. Here we have a reclaimed armchair seated under the arch with a church candlestick behind it.

Pansy 1Pansies

Pansies are flourishing;

Snake's Head fritillaries

the Snake’s Head fritillaries proliferate;

Heuchera

our numerous heucheras now have flowers;

Cowslip, hellebore, violas

and cowslips,

Geraneum Phaeum

geranium Phaeums,Grape hyacinth

and grape hyacinths are new arrivals.

This evening we dined on a Chinese takeaway from Happy Days in Pennington, and, between us, finished the Broadwood’s Folly English white wine.

Ducks In The Window

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Road garden with 2 seasons

The statues bought yesterday were what we think are two of a series representing the seasons;

Summer figure

the girl is for summer,

Autumn figure

and the boy, autumn.

These are termed ‘vintage’ which probably means c1950. They have had time to gather signs of age.

Mid-morning today, we left Aaron painting the metal chairs in the rose garden, and Jackie drove us to Upper Dicker where we; and Becky and Ian; visited Mat, Tess, and Poppy and stayed the night.

pony

ponies

By the roadside between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu, possibly because Barack Obama is visiting at the moment, a despondent Donald Trump attempted to drum up support. for his candidature. Signalling a dismal failure, his target audience showed him a clean set of hooves.

Poppy 1

Poppy 2

Poppy 3

Poppy is now able to join us at the table;

Tess and Poppy

and enjoys reading with Tess.

Washing line

Looking through the window at the washing he had just hung out in the garden, Matthew rekindled childhood memories, which he shared with Becky, of strings of ducks drying in the Soho restaurants.

This evening Tess produced a wonderful beef stew with roast potatoes and a quinoa salad, followed by chocolate and peanut icecream. My choice of beverage was an excellent Valdepenas red wine.