Peter The Pelican

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Heavy rain set in for the day this afternoon. Before that, Jackie managed an impressive amount of weeding and planting. She didn’t have to do any watering.

This time last year we were still preparing the empty rose garden. Now it looks as if it belongs.

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only are particularly prolific;

Shropshire Lad, For Your Eyes Only, Gloriana, Margaret Merril, Love Knot

the full spread of the latter is shown here behind the statue of Spring; to the right Shropshire Lad’s aged white heads hang a bit heavy, although new buds ascend the netting; Gloriana holds up a couple of blooms; The white flowers of Margaret Merrill are to the right of the shed, and bright red Love Knot to the left.

Festive Jewel, Summer Wine, Honeysuckle

Opposite those scenes Festive Jewel merges into Summer Wine on the entrance arch, on the right side of which is the honeysuckle. The urn is one of those bought recently.

Rose Penny Lane

The first delicate pink Penny Lane bloom has opened on the potting shed trellis.

This afternoon I printed Pauline’s A+ plus photographed another.

This evening we dined at The Beach House restaurant at Milford on Sea with Becky, Ian, and Ian’s father, Peter, and stepmother Ali. We all get on very well and had a very enjoyable time celebrating Peter’s birthday today, and Jackie’s tomorrow.

My menu choice was whitebait; steak pie; and summer fruit trifle. I shared a bottle of Montepulciano with Becky. I’m past caring what the others ate or drank.

Before going out I made a birthday card for Peter.

Peter the Pelican was the mascot for the Greek Island of Mykonos from 1985 when, in an injured condition, he was rescued and cured by the islanders, until 1985 when he was killed by a car. Since, among my collection of cards, I had one of a Pelican taken in St James’s Park in 2012, it seemed appropriate to give this to the birthday boy, with an explanatory note within.

Pelican

Traffic Control

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Most of our roses are now in bloom.

Rose Laura Ford

We have, for example, Laura Ford;

rose Summer Time

Summer Time;

Summer Wine 1rose Summer Wine 2

and, sharing the blue painted arch with Madame Alfred Carière, Summer Wine;

Front garden

whilst the pink ones at the front are beginning to festoon the trellis.

A couple of times in recent days, when we haven’t had time to stop, we have seen ponies in the forest attached to very young, limpet-like foals, their Pelham puppet legs only just out of the box. Today we went in search of some. For the first hour we saw none. It is a Bank Holiday weekend, and Jackie speculated that the parents had led their babies off into the forest for their protection from grockles and their groping fingers.

Cattle

All we encountered was lowing cattle leading their larger offspring across our path.

Pony and foal 1

Then, at last, on the moor along the Beaulieu/Brockenhurst road, our patience was rewarded.

Ponies and foal 2

This mare and her foal were part of a larger group, initially keeping their distance.

Ponies and foal 1

The mother decided to lead her infant away from the others,

Ponies and foal 2

but, despite an abrupt change of direction, couldn’t shake off the determined member of a smaller breed who was clearly well imprinted, so,

Pony and foal crossing road 1

Pony and foal crossing road 2

in a vain attempt to escape, she initiated her lanky infant into the arts of traffic control.

Pony crossing road

The rest of the team loyally followed.

Pony and foal 2

Further on, its mother close enough, another young pony dared to be inquisitive.

Foal

It jerked to its feet when she moved a few metres away, reached the safety of her flanks,

Pony and foal 3

and stood, chomping, alongside the mare.

This evening we dined at Royal China in Lymington, where we enjoyed the usual excellent food with very friendly service. We shared chicken satay, king prawns in a chilli sauce, and plain chow mein with bean shoots; and both drank Tsingtao beer.

One Day Of Life

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I can spot a dandelion or a bramble when it grows big enough to be difficult to eradicate. The Head Gardener can spot any sort of weed as soon as it pokes through soil. She can distinguish that soon between a plant she will welcome and allow to live and another that must die. I am not safe in that department, so I don’t weed. Except for the few paltry dandelions and small cluster of brambles from one parent root that I removed today.

Jackie continued her phenomenal soil replenishment programme, sensibly choosing the Shady Bed for her main focus because it was pretty warm. It is worth repeating that this involves digging out poor soil, finger fishing thousands of tiny superfluous allium bulbs, adding spent potting compost, then

Planting in Shady Bed

planting, in this case begonias, mimuluses, and geraniums.

Aaron and Robin spent the morning working on the fence.

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2

In the Rose Garden the forget-me-nots in each picture have self-seeded around the base of Mum in a Million, planted in honour of my late mother-in-law, and just coming into bud. This seems rather thoughtful.

Poppies etc

These self-seeded orange poppies pop up all over the garden, only last a day, and are rapidly replaced.

Day Lily

The same applies to the similarly hued day lilies, so called for obvious reasons.

Irises

Fortunately these orange irises, along the Back Drive, having a delightful scent, bloom a little longer.

Clematis Niobe

The clematis Niobe enhancing the kitchen wall is now very vigorous;

Chilean Lantern tree

the Chilean Lantern tree is coming into flower;

Alliums

and different alliums emerge daily.

View From Decking 2

On the right of this view from the Decking the Cordyline Australis, otherwise known as Cabbage Plant, is coming into bud. It will soon bear sweet-smelling cascading floral filigrees.

Bird's nest

Beneath this palm Jackie found another bird’s nest that has served its purpose.

Sadly, this evening, we came to the end of the last batch of Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi, served with egg fried rice, parathas, and onion bhajis. I look forward to the next one. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2014.

Various Stages Of Life

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The experts on the antiques programme Bargain Hunt, which we generally watch at lunchtime, tell us that silver items should not be polished, for that activity eventually obliterates the hallmarks. Many antique book dealers also believe that uncut book pages should be left in their pristine condition because taking a knife to them reduces their value.

This poses the question whether treasures are to be preserved in figurative amber and never used, or to be enjoyed for what they are

Count Morin, Deputy 1

I had no qualms about taking a sharp kitchen knife to the pages of

Count Morin, Deputy cover

a delightfully told political fable.

It is always interesting to speculate on who has read an old book, or indeed whether it has been read at all. In the old days when books were still well made to last, the pages were often joined at the edges and required cutting, as indicated above, in order to read them. So, if, as in this 1921 publication, you found uncut pages, you knew no-one else’s fingers had left their marks on the virginal leaves. It is such a pleasure to know that you were the first, and gives you a responsibility to take great care of your chosen treasure.

Although this slender little volume from The Bodley Head is illustrated throughout, I have chosen to restrain any impulse to scan the internal pages; because straining the spine to flatten the book in the scanner seems too high a price to pay; and because the woodcuts don’t appeal to me, as they display the heaviness I associate with Black Forest carving, thus denying the elegance of the text in translation by J. Lewis May.

Wood Pigeon and Owl

Without our double glazing I may have been able to eavesdrop on this avian conversation through the sitting room window.

My contribution to the general garden maintenance of the day was to hold the steps and otherwise assist The Head Gardener in retraining clematises at the front.

Jackie reflected training clematis

This photograph was executed with one hand on the steps, and the other on the camera.

Clematis

Clematises such as this one don’t yet need such mountaineering feats to support them;

Violas in hanging basket

and the hanging baskets are within easy reach.

Bird's nest

While tidying her containers behind the shed, Jackie has found a nest from which the chicks have hedged and flown without our knowing it was there.

Thalictrum

She has also found the thalictrum’s true element in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Shady Path

Visible in the Dragon Bed in the centre of this Shady Path view,

Peony

we have a new peony bloom.

Phantom Path

This view along The Phantom Path leads us to the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden entrance

up the entrance of which Madame Alfred Carière and Summer Wine are speedily making their way;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and within, Jacqueline du Pré displays various stages of life.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The Barbecue

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The human memory can be a notorious trickster. Recently, an excellent story from Bruce, himself a master of trickery, featured custard. This brought to mind the typically insightful and amusing Dennis Potter television drama ‘Blade on The Feather’, which had tickled me and Michael almost forty years ago. This contained five characters, three male, and two female. Having forgotten about the excellent Kika Markham and Phoebe Nicholls, and even the plot centring on revenge and the aftermath of a life of espionage during the Cold War era, I remembered only the three superb male actors, Donald Pleasence, Denholm Elliott, and Tom Conti. Only one scene, I thought, was burned into my brain.

This is the film I searched for on You Tube. We watched it last night. My one scene featured Elliott, Pleasence’s factotum, in the posh family dining room, serving lumpy, yet runny, custard from a pyrex jug, and Pleasance, for this insult, in the most progressively, calmly, abusive manner, calling Elliott a dollop of poodle diarrhoea. In fact this was two scenes I had fused together. You must admit, it made sense. My telling and retelling this story over the years produced a few exaggerations. I would act out the butler extracting a far more coagulated concoction from a saucepan, requiring several jerky shakes to slop it onto the baked jam roll awaiting its coating. I also added a few interpolations between the term ‘shit’ and ‘poodle diarrhoea’ during the early morning brandy deprivation scene. If you have witnessed my performance of this, please regard it as poetic licence, rather than a flawed recollection.

Today, Jackie drove me to New Milton and later collected me from Brockenhurst as I travelled to and from Waterloo to meet Norman for lunch at Tas in The Cut.

Emma Cons Gardens from Taxi Approach Road

Looking over the wall on the taxi approach road far over on the other side of Waterloo Station, I was surprised to see an unusual angle on Emma Cons Gardens, and even more surprised that my little Canon SX700 HS was able to record it. The woman in the distance on the corner of Cornwall Road was walking down The Cut, which I was soon to do.

Barbecue stall 1

At first, however, I was drawn by the charcoal smoke and enticing aromas emanating from the barbecue stall, with its usual queue of hungry workers.

Barbecue stall 2Barbecue stall 3Barbecue stall 4Barbecue stall 5Barbecue stall 6

Naturally, I had to approach the scene and soak up the busy, friendly, atmosphere.

Waterloo Millennium Green

Others had brought their own refreshments.

It was, however, the usual Turkish meal that Norman I and enjoyed at Tas. My selection was the best moussaka I have ever tasted, followed by a delicious dessert the name of which I cannot remember, that included in its ingredients shredded wheat and honey. We shared a bottle of the smooth house red wine.

Geetha is another excellent blogger whom I follow. She was in my mind during my reading of ‘The Cream Of The Jest’ by James Branch Cabell which I finished today. This is because Geetha weaves her dreams into fascinating, powerful, poetry. Felix Kennaston, Cabell’s protagonist, goes further as he becomes so immersed in his dream world that ‘the jest’ is that the distinction between his own real life and the fictional world of his characters is considerably blurred. The sub-title of ‘A Comedy of Evasions’ suggests a secondary theme of Kennaston’s being so fixated on his dream woman that he is unable to sustain love for one of flesh and blood. Or is he suffering from a delusional mental illness?

This 1927 publication is illustrated by Frank C. Papé, a favourite of The Bodley Head at that time. The artist is very skilled at line drawing, and although these appear throughout the book, I have chosen to reproduce here just the endpapers.

The Cream of the Jest endpaper 001The Cream of the Jest endpaper 002

This is because they demonstrate the contrast between Felix’s  dream life and his reality.

11_buttery

Note the bookplate on the bottom right hand corner of the first of these two illustrations.

The website oxfordhistory.org.uk tells us that “No. 11 Broad Street, Oxford, was occupied by Thornton’s bookshop from 1870 to 2002. The building dates from about 1800, and is Grade II listed (ref. 1485/170).

The 1881 census shows Joseph Thornton, who was born in Billericay, as the employer of one man and three boys. Aged 72, he was living over this shop with his wife Clara and daughter Lydia (a governess), and one general servant. His son James was managing a bookshop of his own at 33 High Street at this time.

The business remained in the family until 1983, when it was about to go bankrupt. Wim & Scharlie Meeuws of Holdan Books bought it from John (known as “Young Jack”) Thornton, and altered the shop between 1983 and 1985 to meet fire regulations. The Thornton’s name survived on the shop until the business finally moved out on 1 January 2003.

Thornton’s Bookshop was based at Boars Hill until 2007 and is now at Faringdon, about twenty miles from Oxford.”

Sleeping Beauty

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Today, I continued redistributing the gravel on the back drive. This involved shifting barrow loads of the material from one end to another, and raking them smooth. There is more to be done.

rose Félicité Perpetué

Whilst I was there, I noticed, swaying in the breeze, the one Félicité Perpetué bloom that has yet arrived on what should soon be a splendid display draped over the dead stumps.

Rhododendron

On the compost corner the rescued rhododendron is now quite prolific.

Brick path

Does Wedding Day rose, on the Agriframes arch, bloom whilst the viburnum plicatum, visible beneath the arch, is still flowering? If so, the two plants will be in tune.

Rose Garden 1

The Rose Garden now burgeons daily. On the wall of the shed hangs the bird bath Vicki made for us.

rose Schoolgirl

A Schoolgirl has come out to play;

Rose Gloriana

and Gloriana is living up to her name.

Kitchen window view

In the morning this was a view from the kitchen window,

Patio 3

before Jackie removed the honesty to the right, thus revealing the large white clematis Marie Boisselot to anyone sitting in the patio. I put that particular heap of seeding plants onto the compost, because there are plenty more hanging up to dry, ready for scattering later in the year. The frog king, and his princely son ogle Jattie’s sculpture, the sleeping beauty.

Patio 1

Patio 2

We took a short break on the patio with our fizzy lime squash, and surveyed one of Jackie’s myriad of maintenance tasks, namely the tidying up of the corner shingle bed, into which she has set an attractive piece of stone.

Geranium palmatum

Until now, the honesty has carried the purple torches throughout the garden. The batons have now been passed to geranium palmatums.

This evening we dined on our second helping of Chinese takeaway, with which I drank Patrick Chadot Fleurie 2014, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Internet On The TV

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This morning I made a large print for Pauline. I wasn’t entirely happy with it, and that was my last sheet of the particular paper, so I have ordered some more.

As Becky was on her way to use my equipment to make a print it seemed opportune to scan the last few colour negatives from the North Wales holiday of 1983. These feature:

Matthew 1983 2Matthew 1983 1

Matthew by the farmhouse

Matthew 1983 3

and in the disused slate mine;

Becky, Matthew and Louisa 1983

Becky, Matthew and Louisa by the farmhouse;

Becky and Sam 1983 2

and Becky and Sam in the mine.

Our daughter needed my printer to produce  a picture of a certain size and quality. We did this together, and I learned a few things along the way.

Later, the three of us enjoyed company, chat, and drinks in the Rose Garden where,

rose Magic Carpet

among other flourishing blooms, Magic Carpet is spreading out;

Urn planted up

the urn framed by the entrance arch has been planted up;

Honeysuckle

and honeysuckle begins to frame the arch itself.

Clematis Rouge Cardinal

During the day, clematis Rouge Cardinal, has opened out on the Brick Path Gothic arch.

Jackie added some paneer to the delicious chicken jalfrezi that she fed us on this evening. This was served with superb egg fried rice, onion bhajis, and vegetable samosas. My choice of dessert was honeycomb ice-cream. Jackie and I drank Hoegaarden, and Becky drank some of the madiran.

Before returning home to Emsworth, our daughter showed us how to access the internet on our smart TV which is cleverer than we are. This is so we can watch a particular film that I will feature when we have seen it.