Seeking Camouflage


The sun has returned after several days’ absence. I wandered around the garden with a camera. These photographs reflect the current conditions in our plot.

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscuses are now in full bloom. This one is at the front;


as is this yellow climbing nasturtium sharing the garage frontage with

Hanging basket and clematis Star of India

hanging baskets such as this container of geraniums an lobelia blending with the clematis Star of India behind them.

Dahlias, lobelias, and fuchsia chequerboard

There are quite a few dahlias reaching up to meet the Chequerboard fuchsia sharing the basket suspended from the wisteria arbour with the paler blue lobelias.

Clematis Polish Spirit and buddleia

A buddleia peeps through the Gazebo arch festooned with clematis Polish Spirit;


nearby petunias hang from the eucalyptus.


Leicesteria drop earrings dangle in the West Bed

Japanese anemone

which also contains white Japanese anemones Jackie planted a couple of years ago to contrast with the ubiquitous pink ones.

Begonias and lobelia in hanging basket on dead snake bark maple

Begonias swing from the dead snake bark maple.

Gladioli Priscilla

Priscilla gladioli have survived the rains in the

Through the New Bed

New Bed.

Petunias and geranium

These petunias and geraniums stand on a brick plinth in the Weeping Birch Bed;

Petunias, geraniums, etc

opposite them a pot on the corner of the Raised Bed contains more of each with many blooms behind them.

Crocosmia etc

The crocosmia in this shot greets you as you leave the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden featuring Just Joey

this view of which is focussed on Just Joey.

Elizabeth's bed with Altissimo

Altissimo, in the centre of this shot looking into Elizabeth’s Bed, has sent out a lower than normal stem.

Palm Bed

Yellow rudbeckia takes centre stage in this section of the Palm Bed.

Comma butterfly

This bronzed Comma butterfly appears to be seeking camouflage from the dead little fir tree

Gazebo Path

in a pot on the right hand side of the Gazebo Path.

Perhaps last night’s power cut improved tonight’s evening meal. A consequence was that the lemon chicken Jackie was marinading remained in the lemon juice overnight. We enjoyed this with her special fried rice and runner beans. I finished the pinot noir. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio as an aperitif.




North Of Regent’s Park


Today I scanned the next dozen of my Streets of London colour slides from October 2004.

Regent's Park Road NW1 10.04

Tasteful washes decorate the facades of these houses in Regents Park Road NW1. This street in the Primrose Hill area of London is stocked with a multitude of long established independent shops of all kinds.

Fitzroy Road NW1 10.04 2Fitzroy Road NW1 10.04 1

One such establishment is Fonthill Pottery at 38 Chalcot Road on the corner of Fitzroy Road NW1.

Gilden Crescent, NW5 10.04

Between Chalk Farm and Gospel Oak lies Gilden Crescent NW5, in Kentish Town. This wall on the corner of Queen’s Crescent features local children’s mural of the eponymous Post Office.

Marsden Street NW5 10.04

British pubs are being closed at an alarming rate in the 21st century. The Newberry Arms on the corner of Marsden Street and Malden Road NW5 is just one example. Soon after I took this photograph, the boarded up building was demolished, and by 2010

had been replaced by this block of flats.

St Leonard's Square NW5 10.04

St Leonard’s Square, NW5 is on the other side of Malden Road. Graffiti covers this dirty grey wall, rubbish lies on the pavement, scaffolding runs up the side of the building, the entrance to number 22 is narrow and lead directly onto the pavement, and someone has to live there.

Chalk Farm Road NW1 10.04

It was quite early in the morning that I crossed Chalk Farm Road NW1, yet these two building workers had already earned a break.

Bridge Approach NW1 10.04

This Bridge Approach NW1 is to the railway bridge at Chalk Farm.

St George's Terrace NW1 10.04

The Queen’s Pub on the corner of St George’s Terrace, NW1 and Regent’s Park Road is just yards from the Primrose Hill open space. The area must be considered a reasonably safe one in which to leave such a bicycle chained to railings.

Prince Albert Road/Townshend Road NW8 10.04 2

Prince Albert Road/Townshend Road NW8 10.04 1

Prince Albert Road, NW8 houses rows of apartment blocks like these on the corners of Townshend Road,

Prince Albert Road/Eamont Street NW8

and Eamont Street. They all provide views over Regent’s Park on the opposite side of the road. It was when walking along that street on my birthday, 2005, that I met a woman waiting at a bus stop. I had to work very hard to convince her that, two or three hours after the London suicide bombings, it was not unreasonable that the bus services had been suspended.

It had not been our intention to dine on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare this evening, but our electricity supplier had other ideas. There is no gas supplied to our hamlet. We experienced a complete power cut for three hours, at the point when Jackie was in the midst of cooking a chicken dish. She has just abandoned that project and gone out to hunt down one of Mr Chan’s excellent meals.



At The End Of The Day


Another wet day was spent distilling these last few scans from 120 more colour negatives from Michael and Heidi’s wedding reception of 5th October 1991.

Michael and Heidi 5.10.91

Here they are toasting each other before cutting the cake.

James and Che 5.10.91

James and Che were often in the frame.

Rob 5.10.91

Rob, my former brother-in-law, I thought, belonged in a Film Noir masterpiece.

Adam, Danni, and Frances

Adam and Danni, his children, are framed by ruby-clad sister-in-law Frances and their mother’s colourful dress.

Jack Jewell 5.10.91

Jack Jewell was clearly highly amused.

Brian Littlechild 5.10.91

Our friend Brian possibly saw the joke,

Tom Littlechild


while his and Carole’s son, Tom, like most children, couldn’t get enough of Matthew.

Wolf 5.10.91

Wolf was looking his usual dapper self.

Alex 5.10.91


Jack jnr 5.10.91

and Jack

Jacqueline 5.10.91

are my sister Jacqueline’s youngest two children;

James and Che 5.10.91James and Che 5.91

her eldest being James, who, once more appears with Che,

Louisa, Danni, James, Che 5.10.91

who was a great draw for Louisa and Danni who, I am sure, willed him awake.

Chris 5.10.91


Mum 5.10.91


Fiona 5.10.91

and my niece, Fiona,

Derrick 5.10.91 2

were all candidates for the culprit who temporarily relieved me of my camera. Well, they were all near enough.

Mike and Heidi wedding 5.10.91

At the end of the day Louisa was at least one bridesmaid who felt the need to put her feet up.

This evening we dined on beef burgers, sautéed potatoes and onions, baked beans, and breaded mushrooms. I brought back most of the bottle of pinot noir from the pub yesterday and drank a little more with this meal. Jackie had already consumed her Hoegaarden as an aperitif.




What Was In That Glass?


This morning we visited Caroline and Keith Martin in Highcliffe, where we enjoyed seeing the developments in their garden during this, their third summer there, and having a convivial conversation over coffee and biscuits.

The weather was dull and overcast with showers of varying velocity. It was, therefore, back to the photographic archives for me. Two days ago I had featured preparation for Michael and Heidi’s wedding on 5th October 1991. Today, choosing to present a few in monochrome, I scanned more colour negatives, moving on to the reception.

Derrick 5.10.91 2

This must have been taken the evening before.

Sam 5.10.91

On the day, Sam had an important ushering role.

Michael and Heidi 5.10.91 1

I managed a couple of not very successful shots of the bride and groom on the lawn,

Chris 5.10.91

then mingled with guests like my brother, Chris;

Don 5.10.91

my friends Don,

Steve 5.10.91


Maurice 5.10.91

and Maurice;

Laura and Kate 5.10.91

and relatives like Jessica’s nieces Laura and Kate,

James and Che 5.10.91

and my nephew James and his son Che.

Cath, Derrick, Joan, Michael, Heidi, Werner, Jessica 5.10.91

Matthew made this image of the top table, including Heidi’s sister Cath, me, Heidi’s mother Joan, Michael, Heidi, her animated father, Werner, and Jessica. Cigarettes had not been outlawed in 1991.

Michael and Joan 5.10.91 1

Something had clearly amused Michael and his mother-in-law.

Michael speech 1

The groom certainly enjoyed his speech,

Michael speech 3

as did his wife,

Michael speech 2

and father-in-law,

Heidi, Werner, Jessica, Mark Banks 5.10.91

who paid close attention, along with Jessica, and Best Man, Mark Banks. The bride appeared rapt.

Michael and Joan 5.10.91 2

Joan was happy to receive a beautiful bouquet.

Jessica 5.10.91

I then continued with my photographic duties.

Becky, Mum, Elizabeth, Frances 5.10.91

Becky sits beside my mother. Elizabeth is on her feet between Mum and our sister-in-law, Frances.

Alex and Louisa 5.10.91

My niece, Alex, must have borrowed someone’s top hat, and I really hope Louisa was being very optimistic with an empty glass of champagne;

Danni 5.10.91

and I dread to think what Danni had spotted in this one

Adam 5.10.91

I can’t believe my nephew Adam was ever that small.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House. Jackie enjoyed a brie starter followed by gammon steak; mine was whitebait followed by sirloin steak. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Le Fou pinot noir 2016.



An Early Post Box


The Dragon Bed sign

A couple of days ago Jackie made a new sign for The Dragon Bed, and left a photograph on my camera.

Paul and Margery made a brief visit at lunchtime in order to deliver a birthday present ordered from their last exhibition. Both were looking in fine fettle.

Afterwards, Jackie drove us around the forest.

HeatherHeathland floor

Like many other plants this year, the heather seemed to be blooming early.

Ponies and heather 1Heather and poniesPonies and heather 2

Not that the ponies noticed.

Ponies and heather 3

They just kept their eyes on the grass.

Ladywell 1

On the outskirts of Burley we took a pot-holed drive down Tyrell’s Lane,

Ladywell 2

where I was struck by the topiary fronting a house called Ladywell. This reflected the thatched roofing

Peacock thatch

which bears a peacock motif on top.


Next door, Tyrell’s Way’s garden sports a magnificent gunnera.


As I have occasionally mentioned, sheep are inquisitive creatures. This one in a field at the end of Tyrell’s drive, even lifted its head from its grazing at my approach.

Sheep models

This was in stark contrast to the low maintenance ovine mother and child occupying a garden in Furzley, who completely ignored me.

Shetland pony 1Shetland pony 2

Stony Cross Plain, just north of the A31, seems to be the province of Shetland ponies,

Shetland pony 3

one of which thought that a discarded tissue was not to be sniffed at.

Shetland pony foal 2

A recumbent foal

Shetland pony foal

occasionally stirred itself to stand. This creature has become accustomed to flies,

Pony and foal 1

which is more than can be said for its younger cousin at Nomansland, still skipping in confusion at the irritation.

Jackie at Powder Mill post box

A visit to Eyeworth Pond revealed nothing of interest, except for this post box near the Royal Oak, that we had not noticed before. Shultze gunpowder factory operated near the pond from the 1860s until the early 20th century. This receptacle was erected to make the postman’s life easier, in the days before delivery vans. It was recently restored by the Forestry Commission.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s roast chicken, savoury rice, breaded mushrooms, tempura vegetables, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon/tempranillo.

Preparing For The Nuptials


Heavy rain fell overnight. Although it lessened during the day, it continued to irrigate the garden.

This meant a trip into the photographic archives. Today’s selection for scanning was from colour negatives of Michael and Heidi’s wedding on 5th October 1991.

Michael, Becky, Derrick, Sam, Matthew, Louisa 4.10.91 2

Some of us stayed at Michael’s overnight. This provided an opportunity for the rarity of a photograph of me with all my children together. Jessica probably took the photograph. Louisa sat on her favourite lap,

Matthew, Sam, Louisa 4.10.91 1Becky, Matthew, Sam, Louisa 4.10.91 1Becky and Matthew 4.10.91 1

and she and Sam gave Mat their full attention. Perhaps Louisa was a little worried that Sam’s ruffling could get out of hand. Becky seems to have come into some money.

Derrick and Matthew 5.10.91 1

On the morning of the event it was time to get togged up. Matthew needed assistance with cuff links.

Becky 5.10.91 1Jessica and Becky 5.10.91

Becky and Jessica sported splendid pink and white lilies.

Matthew and Sam 5.10.91 1

Soon, Sam and Mat looked the business, with white carnations for their floral adornment.

Heidi 5.10.91

Meanwhile, at her parents home just up the road in South Croydon, Heidi was preparing herself,

Heidi and Louisa 5.10.91 1Heidi and Louisa 5.10.91 2


Heidi, Louisa, and other bridesmaids 5. 10.91

and her other bridesmaids, who, like the Royals they felt, appeared on the balcony for the benefit of their public.

This evening Jackie and I enjoyed her chicken thighs marinaded in hot chilli sauce; mushroom rice; runner beans; and a melange of peppers, a courgette from Elizabeth’s garden, and leeks bound by flour and egg. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Pyrene cabernet sauvignon/tempranillo 2011.


Mobile, cigarettes, chips, and coke


Aaron, this Sunday, had removed two overhanging branches from a neighbours fir tree, and had dismantled an old temporary greenhouse cobbled together from panels found on our plot. Early this morning we chopped the branches into manageable chunks to fill an orange bag and, along with some of the panels, and a rather rancid bathroom cabinet left by our predecessors, removed them to Efford Recycling Centre.

This effort entitled to us to spend the rest of the morning in the forest.

Ponies in traffic 1Ponies in traffic 2Ponies in traffic 3Ponies in traffic 4Ponies in traffic 5Ponies in traffic 6Ponies in traffic 7Ponies in traffic 8Ponies in traffic 9Ponies in traffic 10Ponies in traffic 11Ponies in traffic 12

We consider ourselves fortunate to have reached Beaulieu and traversed it. The ponies had other ideas. Switching from side to side of the narrow approach road, they caused the longest tailback we have ever experienced here.

Pony on the move

One animal broke into a run when it saw that its companions had

Ponies in traffic 13

reached the wide verge, just outside the village, where we normally see them. If you are bored with all these rear views, imagine what else i was going to do as we fell into line? Do you know that number plate off by heart yet?

Ponies on road

Fortunately, once through Beaulieu, we were travelling in the right direction to be unhindered by a less mobile group.


After this, we set off for Calshot Castle which was open for visitors. Originally built for King Henry VIII the castle was extended and refurbished in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform

The entrance door above leads to the shop where admission tickets may be bought. My first thought was to pass the young woman seated at her desk studying her mobile phone and approach the young man in the corner for tickets. Rapidly reorienting myself I purchased our admission from the young lady, who was, in fact, most engaging. In particular, she had a very tactful way of asking whether we were pensioners, and didn’t use the word once. The gentleman was wearing an R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform.


Entering a room marked ‘Cell’, I found myself in an office, upon a shelf in which was evidence of a recent decapitation.

CannonJackie and cannons

Through the cannon turrets

Paddle boarder

I spied a paddle boarder who wouldn’t have had much chance of penetrating the defences.

Doorway up

We ascended steep stone steps leading

Barracks 1

eventually to a large central room that had, in the last lustrum of the 19th century, been converted to a barracks.

Barracks 2

Each man was allocated his own meagre space containing a metal framed and sprung bed that didn’t look too comfortable.

Tudor chimney and stove

The room contained a coal burning stove fronting the repaired remnants of the Tudor fireplace.

Barracks roof

A number of stone-roofed alcoves

Watching container vessel

were brightly lit by windows from which I could observe visitors watching a container vessel

Watching container vessel and kayaker

and a kayaker down below.

Pointing couples

What, I wondered, had attracted the attention of these two pointers? In the foreground of this shot lies the moat that surrounded the castle.


A corner on this level contained a garderobe. This, primarily, is a locked chamber containing dress and other stores; by extension a bed-chamber, or a privy. This was a very dark room, and the only image for which I used flash. Otherwise you would not have seen the hole, once covered by a wooden seat, which received human excreta to slide down into the depths below.

Top flight of stairs

The final set of steps bore a sign warning of the uneven roof above. I was more concerned about the steps themselves.

Iron door

They led to a stout iron door, one of several that stood one the gun platform up there.

Jackie on battlements

Here is evidence that Jackie made it to the top.

Boats and passers-by 1Boats and passing couple

These images of stored boats, passers by,

Wooden stakes

wooden stakes,

Lifeboat Centre

and a family investigating the lifeboat centre we have to suffice for mine.

Vehicle carrier, ferry boat, yachts

Our trip ended with a brunch in the Activity Centre Café, from which I watched a ferry boat and a couple of yachts crossing the path of a car transporter;

Cigarettes, chips, and mobile

and a family group enjoying their lunch in the sunshine.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Chinese takeaway with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I finished the Bordeaux.