The Crane


This morning Shelly and Ron visited with more presents for Jackie. We sat talking on the patio before conducting the obligatory garden tour.


The poplar, of which I featured a close-up yesterday, made a pleasing back drop to our conversation.

rose Just Joey

Also yesterday I photographed Just Joey before he had come into his full splendour, which he had done today.

rose Flower Power

Quite nearby, Flower Power, finally released from the being the Big Beast’s convenience, is demonstrating its vigour for the first time.

Shelly smelling rosa gallica

Shelly bent to experience the full fragrance of stripy Rosa Gallica,

Rosa gallica and Laura Ford

sharing it’s bed with the glowing Laura Ford;

Jackie and Shelly

and, later, looked aloft to admire the budding Wedding Day smothering the Agriframes Arch.


Finally, Jackie proudly showed her sister that the spindly little allium she had last year transplanted from beneath a prised-up brick in the path had, emulating Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, developed into a beautiful swan-necked crane.

After a routine tidying session, we took a trip to Molly’s Den. Jackie has hankered for a couple of stone window boxes with which to replace the plastic ones that sat on the stone wall at the front of the house, except when they were blown down. She suggested that would be what she would like for her birthday. We began at that antiques emporium.

Stone window boxes

These two stood immediately inside the doorway. Obviously we bought them.

But, really! Two stone troughs for a birthday present! That had only ever been subterfuge on my part. While the Head Gardener went looking to make sure they were no better ones among the many other displays, I searched for something that would be a bit more of a surprise.


This vast, hangar-like, warehouse is separated into cubicles and smaller display cabinets linked by gangways like this one.

Clothes - second hand

There’s not much you can’t find here; retro and vintage clothing;


furniture and furnishings;

Garden tools etc

garden tools and kitchenalia;

Baskets, kettles, etc

baskets and kettles;

Wedding flowers

bridal accoutrements;

Jackie in rocking chair 1

and a rocking chair.Jackie in rocking chair 2

Now, in situ, underneath the wisteria arbour, isn’t that a more suitable present?

Stone window boxes planted up

Needless to say, it was essential that the window boxes be potted up post haste.

This evening we joined Becky and Ian at the Crown Inn at Everton for a birthday dinner. The food, the service, and the ambience were all excellent. I enjoyed well-filled steak and kidney pudding, crisp chips, and perfectly cooked fine slivers of broccoli and carrots wrapped in a tender cabbage leaf, followed by unbelievably light and moist bread and butter pudding in creme anglaise. I drank a pint of Doom Bar followed by a glass of Delcoeur vin de l;Herault. Should any of the other three feel inclined to report on their meal, I invite them to do so in a comment.

Jackie was given a joint present from Becky, Ian, Mat, and Tess, in the form of a quite magnificent owl. I will photograph this bird when it has been placed in the garden.






  1. It sounds as though the birthday girl had a wonderful day, Derrick. That chair was made for Jackie! I hope she enjoys it for many birthdays to come. Beautiful photos!

  2. Oh my goodness I so want to visit that shop! What glorious fun – and what a lovely rocking chair! Well done Derrick, I’m sure you just elevated yourself to partner of the year!! All Jackie is lacking in that photo is a nice cool white wine and a pre dinner nibble…… The window boxes look very sturdy, and way more classy than the plastic types of course. Lets hope they withstand old man Windy when he comes roaring past. Happy Birthday wishes again for Jackie – you can never have too many 🙂 xo

  3. This whole post reads like a delightful treasure hunt, Derrick. And Jackie looks very pleased with her gifts – especially the chair! Well done. Happy birthday, Jackie!

  4. A happy story of a wonderful gal and your caring and garden. Quite the imaginative eye you display with the crane plant, as ever. Good stuff at that shop ( I’d enjoy a wander there) but…wait a minute….kitchenalia?… an interesting conjoining of paraphernalia + kitchen = a new word! Fun gift of the good looking rocker. All around a lovely day via Derrick Knight. I’m going to start calling this blog “A Peek Around Derrick’s Neighborhood.”

          1. St Nick is the 6th! Everyone in my house has their birthday on that day! There are only 2 of us but we share the same date but not the same year.

  5. CHIPS WITH A STEAK & KIDNEY PUDDING!!!!!!! You have to be kidding me! Sacrilege of the first order! Go to jail, directly to jail & don’t bother coming out!
    The bread and butter pud sounds delightful.

    1. My sentiments exactly Brian! Chips with gravy, shouldn’t ever happen!!!!

      1. Although I support the right of people to eat food in their own way, unfettered by the dictates of fashion or other forms of comestible-based coercion, I can’t help thinking that chips without gravy are like apple pie without cheese, and apple pie without cheese, as my grandfather used to say, is like a kiss without a squeeze.

  6. Post haste…really. I am glad to see the flowers striking their best poses for Jackie. Did the chair carry a guarantee of a number of hours of leisure to sit in it? 🙂

  7. Now you’re also growing swans in your garden? 😉 Hans Christian Anderson would’ve loved that. What brilliant smiles Jackie wore; seated on her rocking Queen-of-the-Garden throne! Such a sweet and perfect present from the blogosphere’s favorite Knight.

  8. Over here, DIY tv shows and their hosts are all the rage! Molly’s Den would be sold out in a week !! It appears to have a web site, but shipping cost?

  9. I’m going to be obsessed all day with the idea of bread and butter pudding with stirred custard! The birthday outing sounds like a great success–nice gifts–chair and planters, both!

  10. I enjoyed the beautiful roses, especially loved the rocking chair with Jackie relaxing in it! Happy belated birthday, dear Jackie. May it be one of the Best years of your Life! ?

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