My First TV Viewing

The stone, sand, and cement for the greenhouse base was delivered today. Shrubs on the Back Drive beyond the five-barred gate have so encroached upon the path that, with the added problem of branches from a neighbour’s fir tree, the delivery man was unable to bring in the materials. He called his base to order a smaller truck, and I cut back the shrubbery, the clippings of which filled an orange bag. Although the smaller vehicle was able to make the delivery, I sought permission from the son of Bev and John at number 5 Downton Lane for us to remove a couple of branches. There was no problem with that.

Afterwards, making use of ‘The Dragon’s Tears’, ‘Prescience’, and ‘The Abdication’,  I drafted more of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

My photograph is taken from the third of these posts,

King Georg VI

and is supplemented by King George VI from The Daily Mail,

Queen Elizabeth II coronation

and Queen Elizabeth II from BBC News.

I fancied simple fare for dinner this evening. Scrambled eggs on toast followed by a Sicilian lemon tart fitted the bill.

Only Another Sixty Years To Go

Today I put in some more work on ‘A Knight’s Tale’. This involved edited sections from ‘Trams And Trolley Buses’, from ‘The Bees’, and from ‘A Woman Paid My Fare’.

This illustration from ‘The Bees’ is included as are

Trolley Bus by David Bradley Online Trams by Norman Hurford

two historic transport photographs from the internet. The trolley bus is by David Bradley Online and the trams by Norman Hurford.

Only another sixty years to go.

This evening I dined on another plateful of Jackie’s delicious, now nicely matured, lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by a tangy Tesco’s yellow ticket Sicilian lemon tart.

A Building Project

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Today I scanned more colour negatives from the Newark days during 1990/91.

‘Knight & Colbourne Candles’ tells the tale of a teenage enterprise that Louisa shared with her long term friend, Matthew Colbourne. Matt, of Radio Newark, was, a dozen or so years later, to emcee the music for Louisa and Errol’s wedding reception.

These photographs from May 1991 depict an earlier project, namely the building of a tree house. It would, of course, be Louisa wielding the hammer.

Here the boys, Matthew and his younger brother Jason discuss the next move,

or maybe they are just taking a break.

This activity took place in the garden of Lindum House, featured in ‘The Swinging Rat Pack’, where we lived for almost twenty years from 1987. In the background of these photographs stands Newark Working Men’s Club.

The establishment, according to the Newark Advertiser, was, after a century of service, closed last summer because, on account of falling membership, it was no longer possible to meet the cost of repairs.

‘The premises, which was initially Halton House School, a boarding school for boys, is grade II listed.

The building has been widely used by the community including activities for people with learning disabilities. It is also used by a slimming group, rumba classes, jazz sessions and bingo.’

The story we had was that at the end of the 19th century, when our house was built, the club building had been in private ownership, part of the land being sold to one of two brothers who worked at Bainbridge’s, an up-market haberdashery in the town. The home he had built was modelled on Halton House.

Whether the legend that a gentleman had once ridden a horse up the front staircase of the older building is apocryphal or not, I am unsure. It was certainly wide enough.

The house is currently advertised for sale by http://sw.co.uk/property-search/former-working-mens-club-premises-for-sale-5755870-detail.

A certain amount of consternation has been expressed about how I am going to manage with Jackie away for three days.

Lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice

In order to allay all fears I therefore publish a photograph of the prodigious pans of splendid lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice left for me by the Culinary Queen. It is only perspective that diminishes the quantity of rice. A plate of this fare, containing both naga and Scotch bonnet chilies, was just the business. It was followed by a Tesco yellow ticket Belgian bun.

 

Is This The Beast?

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Microlite 1Microlite 3

Yesterday evening, whilst having drinks on the patio, a steady chugging overhead made me feel rather queasy. It took me back to Cumbria in the 1990s. 

As we were promised several hours of rain this afternoon, Jackie spent the morning watering the garden, and I took some photographs. The rain arrived just as Jackie had finished.

I’ll write that again. Because she is going away for three days with her sisters The Head Gardener spent the morning watering the garden. Although rain was expected it does not penetrate the soil in pots and hanging baskets.

My day was largely administrative, involving contacting Environmental Health about next door, visiting the Care Home on the other side of North Breeze to discuss this; arranging for delivery of the greenhouse; and having a meeting at the bank.

Petunias, geraniums, verbena bonarensis, erigerons

I rarely focus on the happy proximity of planting that we enjoy in the garden. Today I will begin with a view that meets us as we open the kitchen door. The erigeron in the foreground has, with Jackie’s midwifery, spawned offspring all over the garden. The petunias and geraniums in the various pots sit pleasingly together, and the tall verbena bonarensis, as it does everywhere, towers aloft.

Petunias, bidens, cosmoses, geranium palmatums

Across the other side of the patio, petunias, cosmoses, and geranium palmatums blend well with the distant spirea, The contrasting bidens, like every other one in the garden, is self seeded from last year.

Cosmoses

We are led back along the Kitchen Bed to this corner from verbenas, geraniums, cosmoses and bidens, through day lilies and more.

Petunias

Various day lilies lurk behind more suspended blue and white petunias in the Dragon Bed,

Petunias

pink and white varieties of which share their berth in the herbaceous border with blue and white lobelias,

Petunias, marigolds

and purple ones swing on the breeze in the company of bright marigolds and geraniums at the western end of the Phantom Path.

Petunias and marguerites

Others produce a white theme with marguerites, with dappled blue and white examples beneath.

Geraniums and petunias

A pink display is provided by more petunias, geraniums, and lobelia, more of the first two in the background with the red Japanese maple, rosa glauca against the fence and palmatums in the foreground.

Here, pink diascas are backed by the strident red bottle brush plant.

When the next two poppies open they will have something to say to these phlox.

Clematis Star of India

Verbena bonarensis sentinels surround this Star of India clematis,

Clematis

whereas Madame Julia Correvon cartwheels across the dead prunus pissardi towards phlox and penstemon.

Petunias and clematis

Petunias hanging near the Brick Path repeat the purple of another Star of India.

Hydrangea and day lily

This vibrant potted hydrangea reflects geranium palmatums in Elizabeth’s bed containing equally powerful day lilies.

Hydrangeas and fuchsia

A similar hydrangea takes the eye through red geraniums to a fuchsia Magellanica, with ferns, lobelias, and verbena bonarensis joining the party.

Hydrangea and geranium palmatums

Further along the bed a cooler note is stuck by a paler hydrangea and geranium palmatums.

Begonia 1

Two different begonia and lobelia combinations hang over the Brick

Begonia 2

and Heligan Paths.

California poppies 1

Jackie is particularly pleased with these California poppies grown from seed spilling over the rocks among the grasses on the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose Super Elfin and snapdragons

The red and white of Super Elfin rambler and neighbouring snapdragons contrast like the emblems of Lancaster and York in England’s fifteenth century Wars of the Roses.

Petunias, poppies,

Further along the herbaceous border one can rest among poppies, petunias, lobelias, and verbenas.

Clematis and verbena bonarensis

Clematis Margaret Hunt frolics among verbena bonarensis in the Back Drive barrier.

Rabbit on patio 1Rabbit on patio 2

As I reached the conclusion of this tour I came upon a surprise scampering among the shrubs, pattering across the patio, and hopping under a hole scooped out of the soil under the North Breeze fence. Was this The Beast that burrows into our garded? If so it will not be alone. This prompted my call to Environmental Health. They have already been alerted to the vermin. They are interested in rats. They are only interested in mice if they are indoors. They do not do rabbits.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

Joints Not Yet Stiffened

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After the usual weeding and tidying in the garden, Jackie drove us out into the forest, where we eventually lunched at Hockey’s Farm in South Gorley.

Ponies and foal 1

We travelled via Nomansland where I communed with a disinterested group of ponies cropping the grass beside a recumbent foal.

Foal and pony 1

One of the adults came close to nudging the infant of its chosen patch of sward.

Foal 1Foal 2

As it snoozed, the little one rested its heavy muzzle on the firm ground.

Foal 3Foal 4

Eventually even that became too much and the creature collapsed, prone and sprawling. You very rarely see the older animals lying down, for they all sleep standing up. Not so the youngsters whose joints have not yet stiffened.

Horses with fly masks

As we neared the village of Hale, domesticated horses in a field along Tethering Lane  wore the fly masks and ear muffs I have mentioned before. These lucky animals are thus offered protection from pestilential flies. As so often, crows peck around what the horses leave behind.

Hale village greenHale village green 2Thatched houses

The small village of Hale has a public green surrounded by thatched houses and a school, some pupils of which were engaged in hearty sports as we arrived. I thought it politic not to photograph the proceedings.

Hale House

The road through the village also divides the grounds of Hale Park. On one side we see the drive to Hale House;

Hale Park

on the other an avenue of trees extending into the distance. The approach is splendid enough now, but what an impressive coach drive would have been enjoyed in its eighteenth century heyday. There is no public access, so we rely on Wikipedia for the following information:

‘Hale House

Hale House was built by Thomas Archer, Groom Porter to Queen Anne, and Baroque architect, who bought the manor of Halesometime after 1712.[1] He demolished an Elizbethan mansion which had been designed by John Webb for the Penruddock family.[2][3] The house was designed and built by Archer around 1715.[3] It was remodelled around 1792 by the architect Henry Holland.[3] Other alterations were made in the early and late 19th century.[4]

The house has two storeys and seven bay-windows at the front.[5][3] It has cement rendered walls, a portico with pediment and Corinthian columns, and a slate roof.[5] The service wings flank the house but are detached.[5] They also are of two storeys, with cement rendered walls and slate roofs.[5]

It is now a Grade I listed building.[4] The house is in private ownership and is not open to the public.

Hale Park

The grounds were laid out from about 1715 by Thomas Archer.[6] During the 19th century and early 20th century the grounds were simplified and new features were added to the gardens.[6]

The park includes a circular pool surrounded by yew hedging and topiary shapes.[6] There is a Ha ha towards the south.[6] The park contains a number of copses, and lodges including the South Lodge which has a Doric portico.[6] Tree avenues cross the park, including a lime avenue which runs north east to Hatchett Lodge, and extends beyond park.[6] The Mount is possibly from the 17th-century house and is enclosed by hedging.[6]

At one time there was an ice house in the park.’

Woman photographing donkey and foal

Further on, outside Woodgreen, as I emerged from the car to home in on another equine mother and child, I noticed that another photographer had the same idea.

Donkey foal suckling

Possibly slightly alarmed by the attention the baby sought a top up from a comforting nipple,

Donkey foal and mother

after which it tottered away,

Donkey foal 2

twitching its tail and tossing its head this way and that in an attempt to repel flies.

Donkey foal 3

Then, like its pony cousin, it sunk to the ground,

Donkey foal 4

stilled its tail, supported its head, and settled down to sleep.

After our substantial lunches, fish fingers and baked beans sufficed for dinner this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The Wisdom Of The Owl

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Aaron with tree roots

Two days ago views along the kitchen window and bed opposite featured a sawn tree trunk at the far end. Here Aaron is with the last of the stump he further sawed and removed. As usual, I printed him an A4 copy for his collection.

View alongside Kitchen Bed

This has provided a little extra space at the end of Jackie’s current work area.

Hebe and Brick Path

Here is another view of the gap, taken from a hebe on the corner of the Dead End Path.

Removing a tree is always a last resort. The branches of this one, however, were very brittle and constantly breaking when strong winds beset this whirlpool of a corner. The extra foot of space is also needed for the expected greenhouse.

Bottle brush plant 1

To the right of the above picture the yellow bottle brush plant has now turned brown. On the other side of the gazebo path a bright red variety has drawn its attention.

Bee on bottle brush plant 1Bee on bottle brush plant 3Bee on bottle brush plant 2Bee on bottle brush plant 1

Swarms of bees gather in the attempt to transfix themselves on the beds of nails that are its blooms.

Snapdragons, geraniums and petuniasSnapdragons and geraniums

Other strong reds of snapdragons, geraniums, and petunias blend in the plastic troughs forming the barrier at the start of the back drive.

Marigolds and black-eyed Susan

Equally vibrant are the marigolds and black-eyed Susans now clutching the orange globe.

Foxglove

It is almost a relief to encounter the cooler hues of this foxglove,

Hosta

these hostas,

Insect on hebe

or the hebes, this example of which has attracted a tiny flying insect I can’t identify.

Although its floor is of gravel, the patio at the South end of the garden is termed the Concrete one. That is because the surface beneath the pebbles was probably where the Post Office vans were parked.

Garden view from concrete patio towards Rose Garden

That is where our mid-afternoon water was taken and we enjoyed views looking towards the Rose Garden;

Garden view from concrete patio towards potting shed

towards the potting shed;

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

of this cluster of yellow day lilies flanked by geranium palmatums;

New Zealand flax

and the New Zealand flax that has flowered for the first time since our arrival.

I haven’t mentioned the wind in the last few days. I thought that if I ignored it it would go away. It hasn’t.

Upturned pot and parasol

A couple of hours after we had been sitting beneath this parasol a sudden gust wreaked havoc. Admittedly the parasol had not been fitted tightly into its base, but it took off like a kite, smashed down into the bed, tipped over the stand supporting the recently planted red geraniums, and dragged down the string of overhead solar lights.

Broken plants

We began by lifting the parasol over everything and slotting it securely into its stand. Then picked up the pot and pedestal. Chucked broken bits onto the compost, and placed what would be salvageable onto one of the tables.

Gravelly soil

It was, I thought, very sensitive of the owl not to give me the benefit of his wisdom as I placed him on a chair and used his table to take the gravelly earth I scooped up and, with fingers and sieve, separated the two ingredients, so The Head Gardener could repot the remains.

This evening we dined on a fusion of more of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Peroni and I opened Jessie’s delicious Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2016 and drank some of it.

 

 

 

 

After The Best Part Of A Century

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This afternoon we travelled to Elizabeth’s home at West End where we lunched with her and Danni.

After a certain amount of reminiscing Jackie and I drove a few minutes away to Mum’s where we spoke for a while in a largely similar vein.

Mum's train set

Among the myriad of ornaments that our mother has accumulated over the years I had not previously noticed her train set.

This had been her Christmas present from Elizabeth the Christmas before last. Mum has provided it with passengers and livestock, and placed a station building beside the track. Numerous prospective passengers surround the display. The blue octopus was crocheted by Elizabeth. The photographs behind are of Adam and Thea, and Danni and Andy on their respective wedding days.

There is, of course, a story behind this. As, Elizabeth says, what can you buy a woman who is in her 95th year? Well, Mum had often told the tale of her brothers’ train set. Ben, now 96 and Roy, now 94 had been given the treasured toy by their father. It was added to at subsequent festive occasions until it could stretch along corridors and between rooms. It could only be played with under supervision. Whenever it came out little Jean (Mum) was sent with her mother and 6d ( a considerable sum in those days ) to the shops. Mum says she cried all the way. She didn’t want to go shopping. She wanted to play with the trains. She was not allowed to, because she ‘would walk on the track’.

So, after the best part of a century, she has her own train set.

From Mum’s, we returned to Elizabeth’s just as Danni was leaving.

Farmers Home 2

Later the three of us dined at Farmers Home pub in Durley. Jackie and I both enjoyed succulent gammon steaks, while Elizabeth did the same with a chicken dish. Desserts were Eton mess for me, and sticky toffee pudding for Jackie, and creme brûlée for Elizabeth. My sister and I each drank a glass of merlot, while Jackie’s choice was Amstel.

Farmers Home 1

Jackie couldn’t resist nipping out to photograph the pub’s hanging baskets. This gentleman, smoking an e-cigarette outside offered to move out of shot, but, quite rightly, the photographer invited him to remain for human interest.