“Look. That Man’s Taking Photographs”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Barry & Owen Van

Leaving their van in our front drive

Shoes

and their slip-on shoes outside the door,

Barry and Owen, who are New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, having first serviced Mistletoe Cottage next door, provided us with their trademark clean and efficient job.

Barry 1

A dust sheet is laid down;

Barry and Owen 1

face-masks making father, Barry, and son, Owen, sound like Star Wars stormtroopers are applied;

Barry and Owen 2Barry and Owen 3Barry 2Barry 3

a shield is fitted into place, and the soot vacuumed out, leaving the room spotless. As you can see, there was no need to cover furniture. The job was completed and the equipment cleared away in about an hour. If you need a chimney sweep look no further than http://www.findachimneysweep.co.uk/sweeps/new-forest-1-cg-7641-qualified/?area=&service=

This afternoon we met Elizabeth at Lavender Farm at Landford, where we wandered around, enjoyed refreshments, and purchased a few plants.

Trails on glass 3Trails on glass 1Trails on glass 2

Beside the car park lies a very long greenhouse on the inside of the glass windows of which tiny trail-blazing cartographers have etched uncharted territory.

Lavender Farm 1

Apart from the many plants laid out for sale, there are a number of more formal herbaceous borders;

Climbing rose

various climbing roses;

SalviasSalvias and Elizabeth 1

splendid displays such as these salvias placed in a bed in the midst of a brick path. Jackie, in red, investigates plants for sale in the background of the first view, while Elizabeth approaches in the second.

Gladiolus and metal sculpture

Glorious gladioli abound. This example is embraced by one of the many metal sculptures.

Banana leaf

Potted banana trees have been reduced in price.

Gaura

Unusually this elderly gaura stands guardsman erect.

Lavender Farm 4Lavender Farm 3Lavender Farm 5

There is a large freely planted area through which it is possible to wander,

Lavender Farm 6

take photographs,

Children at Lavender Farm 1Children at Lavender Farm 2

or run around among the lavender.

Lavender Farm 2

Many visitors come to spend a pleasant time seated at table with friends, tea, coffee, and cakes.

Coleus

A spectacularly colourful coleus

Coleus and sparrow

sat in a shiny bright blue pot close to our table. A sparrow walked around it. The background blackboard already advertised Christmas lunch.

Sparrow

Elizabeth couldn’t eat all her scone, which was broken up and tossed on the decking for the little bird and its companions.

Mother and child

Some of the dining areas were under cover, such as one sheltered by a thick transparent plastic material. As I passed this, a mother, exclaiming “Look. That man’s taking photographs”, brought her daughter to peer through it. She was amused at the result.

Before Elizabeth returned home, the three of us dined on Jackie’s superb spicy lamb jalfrezi with fried onion rice, followed by chocolate eclairs and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, alcohol free Becks; and I finished the Fleurie.

Heroes And Heroines

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Most of my day was spent on wrestling with administration involving phone calls, some of which were not returned; form filling the requirements of which were unclear; and e-mails, one of which I had never received. I really can’t be bothered to go into details on this, save to say Jackie drove me to Hordle Post Office to catch the last post, and to obtain a leaflet listing the entrants to the Hordle Scarecrow Trail, and giving me the opportunity of photographing a few more scarecrows.

Scarecrow 1

Heroes and Heroines is this year’s theme. The first example we encountered today was ‘Firefighter and rescued cat’, outside Flanders House in Silver Street.

Scarecrow 2

The fireman’s phone flashed blue at intervals.

Scarecrow 4

Next came ‘Superman’ at the Hordle Crossroads Garage.

Scarecrows 1

The residents of 62 Everton Road celebrated the ‘Unsung Heroes – Our NHS Nurses’.

Scarecrows 2

Laid out on a bed was a poor unfortunate

Scarecrows 5

flanked by an equally startled looking Theatre Nurse S. Crow

Scarecrow 7

and eager Sister Strawman.

Scarecrows 4

Pressing where indicated on the victim’s device elicits an agonised cry of pain.

Scarecrow 5

Jeremy Hunt is the Conservative M.P. who has been Minister of State for Health since 2012. It was a witty stroke to provide him with a pair of crutches.

Scarecrows 3

Perhaps there was another joke in propping him up beside

Scarecrow 6

Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, who’s mystical boudoir so entranced Ronnie Barker in the the television sitcom ‘Open All Hours’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime beef pie with marvellous gravy; boiled potatoes, carrots, broccoli and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I started another bottle of the Fleurie.

 

 

New Roses

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This has been a day of varied activities. This morning involved various administrative phone calls; a trip to Lymington to confirm the order and pay for Jackie’s new laptop; and a drive among the lanes around Sway.

Horse and rider

Other road users somewhat impeding our leisurely progress included a horse and rider;

cyclists

a group of cyclists consisting of a gentleman and young girl lagging behind two boys pausing on the brow of a hill;

Hay truck

and a truck bearing a precarious looking wide load of hay.

Sunflowers and acorns

Coombe Lane, in particular, is home to Long Cottage, the garden of which contains a row of sunflowers fronting a rather wizened little oak tree bearing large clusters of cupped acorns.

Friesians

Further along this road a group of inquisitive young Friesians thronged to their gateway in order to enquire what we were doing there.

ScarecrowScarecrows 1Scarecrows 2

Hordle has its own Scarecrow Trail, but since we followed the Bisterne one thoroughly, and parking is quite dangerous alongside the exhibits in the more populous village, I will simply photograph those we come across in our wanderings. The first of these are outside Hordle Parish Church of All Saints. They have been created by the children of the nearby Nursery School.

Hole for new rosesBrick path 1Sweet peas

Early this afternoon Jackie dug  the first hole for  the roses that will ascend the now unclad Gothic Arch seen at the far end of this section of the Brick Path, alongside which stands the Nottingham Castle bench with its attendant sweet peas.

Clematis Star of India

The rear of the bench can be seen in this shot of the Star of India clematis in Margery’s Bed.

Dragon Bed 1

The elegant forms of white gladioli take centre stage on this view of the Dragon Bed,

Dragon Bed 2

while, to the right of them, the colours of Japanese anemones, fuchsia, and lobelia form a similar sinuous shape.

Rose Penny Lane

Later, we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought two roses for the bare arch. We have examples of these elsewhere in the garden. Penny Lane wanders over the potting shed in the Rose Garden, and the bright red Super Elfin has taken off like a rocket in the herbaceous border.

Jackie digging hole for Super Elfin

Here Jackie, having planted Penny Lane, starts on a hole for the heavily pruned Super Elfin. I helped out a bit with that one, but the Head Gardener refused to photograph me on the grounds that my minor effort didn’t warrant a presence on the blog. Frankly that seemed a little harsh to me.

Penny Lane and Super Elfin

In a short while we can expect to see a difference.

Beef pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef pie, with meaty gravy, boiled potatoes, spring greens, and bright carrots. The Culinary Queen finished the sauvignon blanc, and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

 

Free Ice Creams

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

We spent a sweltering morning on garden tasks. Jackie prepared an area in the West Bed from which Aaron had removed an ancient, unproductive, rose yesterday for a replacement yet to be acquired. I occupied myself dead-heading and clearing up.

This afternoon we drove into the forest. Jackie did her best to avoid the bank holiday visitors, many of whom were beginning their slow trek home.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

We found ourselves at Thorney Hill where the views down the slopes were uninterrupted; the bracken is beginning to adopt its autumn colouring;

Blackberries

and blackberries sprawled over the hedgerows.

Cyclist

The occasional car, and one sole cyclist occupied Braggers Lane,

Horses 1Horses 2

further along which we stopped to observe horses in a paddock. Some wore fly masks.

Shadows

The fencing cast criss-crossed shadows.

As we were about to leave, Heather and her companion drove up. Despite her Scots accent, this delightful woman owned one of the horses. Another belonged to her friend. Heather was enjoying an ice-cream. She offered us each a Magnum, for which we were suitably grateful.

Heather's horseHeather and horses 1Heather and horses 2

The two horses were eager to be tackled up for a ride. Their noses appeared over the barred gate, and I do believe that, as they were petted, they sampled Heather’s ice-cream cone.

Once my driver had consumed her choc ice on a stick, we waved farewell and continued on our way.

Ponies 1

Ponies at Furze Hill cropped the grass

Ponies at pool 1Pony and foal at pool

beside a stream

Foal at pool 2Foal at pool 1Foal at pool 3

into which one of this year’s foals ventured

Foal at pool 4

for a paddle while it chomped on blackberries.

Pony 1

Possibly it was this creature’s parent that pounded down the slope and across the pool to the far end; slaked its thirst, then clambered past me to the road. I thought it best to move out of the way. It looked quite heavy.

I had made my way down to the pebbly bed of the stream, so, when a passing cyclist called to her companion to look at the baby down there, it took me a second or two to realise she was referring to the young pony.

After this we enjoyed a drink in the Foresters Arms at Frogham, and returned home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, runner beans, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

A Family Event

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This afternoon we attended the third family event in three days. This was Shelly’s birthday party.

Helen and Daphne

Here, Jackie’s sister Helen sits with Shelly’s mother-in-law Daphne.

Ray, Shelly, Malcolm

Father-in-law Ray smiles beside Shelly and Malcolm, probably checking the cricket score on his mobile.

Ron 1

Ron, here taking a break and joining in the conversation,

Ron and sausages

tended the barbecue, providing flavoursome sausages,

Ron tending barbecue

tandoori chicken, and, later, minted lamb kebabs.

Anthony

His son Anthony distributed hot dogs with onions, while Helen was on hand with mustard and ketchup.

Jane

Jane, being Anthony’s sister, is Jackie’s niece.

Reflection and Helen

Reflected in the window behind Helen, is the father of

Immy 1Immy 2

Immy

Jackie (Ron's sister)

whose lithe grandmother, Jackie, is Ron’s sister.

David, Neil (Donna)

David, son of Helen and Bill, holding the can and Neil, brother of Anthony and Jane, are cousins.

David and Jenny

Here, probably wielding the same can, David stands with his wife, Jenny.

Pete and Tess

Friends Peter and Tess share a reflective moment.

Jackie's back

Jackie sports two pairs of glasses and a pearl necklace.

Neil, Donna, AnthonyDonna, Anthony, Neil

Shelly and Ron’s sons converse with Neil’s partner, Donna;Jane and Katie

Jane shares a tale with Immy’s mother, Katie;

Jane, Jackie, Bill

Jackie and Jane catch up with each other as Bill makes his way back to his chair;

David, Jenny, Helen, Bill

David and Jenny share a table with his parents, Helen and Bill.

Jackie, Jane, Tess, Anthony, Neil, Donna, Chris, RonJane, Tess, Anthony, Neil, Donna, Chris, RonAnthony, Neil, Chris, DonnaAs the sun lowered its way to the horizon the last few guests enjoyed coffee together. Anthony and Neil are always sure to produce a cricket bat and ball on these occasions. They had earlier enjoyed a few overs on the grass behind them.

Neil, Donna, Chris, Tess, Shelly, Bill

Chris, with the longer beard, is Jane’s partner. Shelly stands between Tess and Bill.

In addition to the plentiful barbecued meats, various ladies had produced excellent salads, trifles, meringues, and cakes. My choice of beverage was Marston’s Amber Ale. We toasted the birthday girl with champagne.

As can be seen this was an enjoyable close family event.

 

 

Friends From Schooldays

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning and early afternoon we spent time sweeping paths, dead heading, weeding and watering in preparation for a visit by Frances and her friends Annie, Kay and Dave. The others stayed for dinner and a very pleasant evening’s conversation. Annie was unable to remain for the meal.

First we sat enjoying convivial conversation on the patio, then went on garden tour.

Frances (Dave, Kay, and Jackie)

Here Frances admires the dahlias beside the wisteria arbour.

Dragon

Jackie called me to photograph a Red Admiral splayed along a dragon’s neck. I wasn’t quick enough, but if you look carefully you can see the butterfly making its escape past the wing.

Dave and Kay

Dave and Kay here stand by Jackie’s shed.

Kay (Annie and Frances)

Kay leads the way along the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Annie (Frances)

Annie possibly took more photographs than I did.

Dave, Annie, Kay, Jackie

Jackie led the group down the back drive while Frances remembered how it had been when we first arrived here.

Frances and Annie

When Annie departed, she and Frances posed for a photograph reflecting that they had been friends from schooldays.

For the rest of us, Jackie produced a superb meal of beef in red wine, creamy mashed potato, and crisp carrots, broccoli and green beans. I drank Patrick Chadot’s Fleurie 2014, while Jackie and Frances drank Isla Negra sauvignon blanc 2016.

“I Buy Dat”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

The weight of traffic through Lyndhurst and on the A27 meant that the journey to Upper Dicker on the way to Poppy’s birthday celebration took 4 hours in contrast to the normal two and a half that the return trip occupied. Fortunately we left home early enough to spend the afternoon there.

Poppy drawing on paving

When we arrived our granddaughter was occupied with coloured chalks drawing on the paving stones in the garden.

Poppy and pink dress

Jackie and I had brought her a couple of ballerina dresses. She liked them both,

Poppy and red dress

Poppy 2

but it was the deep red one that she proudly chose to wear on this occasion.

Tess and PoppyPoppy 1

She is very fond of her food, and now needs little assistance, here rendered by Tess, to unwrap a biscuit. She thought her hat complemented that of her mother.

Balloons

Plenty of balloons testified to the festive occasion.

Poppy with balloon 1Poppy with balloon 2Tess and Poppy

Becky and Ian gave her a helium filled one that was a great hit. Tess inconspicuously prepared a splendid spread of grilled steaks and various tasty salads. Mat was in charge of beverages, and thought it a good wheeze to offer me a local beer named Old Man brewed by the Long Man Brewery. I enjoyed it.

Poppy and mirror

Poppy’s aunt and uncle also gave her a suitably decorated mirror which she gave several nose prints.

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, Scooby 1

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, ScoobyPoppy, Tess, Becky, bubbles

Another of their presents was a battery-operated bubble machine.

Poppy operating bubble machinePoppy and bubbles

She soon got the hang of operating this.

Poppy asleep

 

Soon, a sleep was in order, until

Poppy and birthday cake 1

Tess’s delicious birthday cake was produced.

Poppy, Tess and birthday cake 1Poppy and birthday cake 2Poppy, Tess, and birthday cake 2

Although the birthday girl was persuaded to blow out one candle herself, she needed Ian’s assistance because she was far more interested in prising of the M & Ms and popping them into her mouth.

Matthew told us the story of the blue hat. He and Poppy had visited a charity shop in Emsworth with Becky a few days ago. Spotting the hat, Becky had placed it within Poppy’s line of sight. Her niece grabbed it and tottered off with it to the changing room, from which emanated “I like dat. I buy dat”. Out she came. Her Dad gave her the necessary dosh. Over to the counter she trotted, slapped the money on the wooden surface and said “I buy dat, lady”

Jackie and I needed no further food or drink, other than water, this evening.

 

 

The Angel And Blue Pig Inn

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

North Breeze garden work

Work starts early in the morning in the razed North Breeze garden. In preparation for the rear extension, soil has been dug out from the area behind the house. Presumably the digger is levelling off the heap. The fire is now concentrating on rubbish from indoors. We have a view across the pub car park to the fields beyond that the jungle has previously hidden from sight.

Garden view from Safari Suite

This is our garden from the same viewpoint. The blurred effects are from sunspots, not smoke.

Pedestal with dahlias

Mark, who has bought the house, has given Jackie this pedestal from the lounge. He thought she might be able to put something nice on it. He wasn’t far wrong.

Having taken two more orange bags of garden refuse to the dump we drove on to Lymington to the Register Office seeking an appointment for a marriage. This, the website informed us, was situated at

Lymington Library

Lymington Library.

What the website did not inform us was that appointments could only be made on line or on the telephone. There was nothing outside the library to confirm the location, but we found this at the back of the building. A very helpful librarian peered through the registrar’s office window and encouraged us to wait outside the room and nab her when she had finished with the people she was interviewing. This didn’t seem a particularly hopeful possibility, so we sat outside the small chamber and when I had managed to obtain a signal, I made a call to the general office.  Naturally all the staff were busy and I had to listen to repeated messages telling me I could do this on line. Eventually another very cooperative young lady took me through what we had to do to progress to the next stage, which would probably take two months. Then we would be given an appointment time. I’m sure the whole business was much more straightforward in 1968 when we enjoyed our first wedding.

Did I mention that Jackie’s ancient laptop died this morning? I thought not. This meant that our next visit was to Peacock Computers where Max, the sales person, was not available until 2.00 p.m. This left an hour and a half to kill.

We wandered down the High Street,

Ice creams, keys, mobile phone

passing visitors clutching car keys, ice creams, and mobile phones;

Family crossing road 1Family crossing road 2

and watching groups with pushchairs eagerly awaiting their chance to cross the busy road that mostly became clear when vehicles held each other up.

Our goal was

The Angel and Blue Pig 3The Angel and Blue Pig 4

The Angel & Blue Pig Inn, where we enjoyed excellent lunches.

The i New Forest website informs us that ‘Since the 13th century the Angel Inn has welcomed weary travellers. It is notorious with tales of smuggling and in the 18th Century Lymington like much of the south coast was rife with the ‘Free Trade’. There was a tunnel running under Lymington High Street to a smaller inn opposite and from there it proceed down the hill to the water. Smugglers could then haul their brandy, silk and spices without catching the eye of the customs men.

The Angel also has a spooky reputation. Allegedly one of the most haunted hotels in Britain. Up to 6 ghosts including a coach driver, naval officer and a phantom blonde have been seen on the premises.’

The building was refurbished in 2013.

Woman with dog on lap

We ate outside, where we attempted to converse with the archetypal lapdog which took vociferous exception to me when it turned around.

Pigs in metal

A pair of iron pigs kept us company

Cherubs

while a couple of cherubs, one coy, and the other sleeping, watched over us. At least, they would have done had they opened their eyes. Whoever modelled the sleeper certainly knows how baby boys are wont to crouch in their slumbers.

Pig dangling

Another pig was suspended from a makeshift gibbet.

The Angel and Blue PigThe Angel and Blue Pig 2

Most customers preferred the small garden area, but a few found the dimmer inside more comfortable.

My main meal consisted of wonderfully fresh fish and triple cooked chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce; Jackie chose salmon and haddock fish cakes and salad. We both enjoyed treacle tart with orange-flecked ice cream for dessert. I drank Ringwood bitter while Jackie drank Amstel.

That takes care of my customary culinary coda, so I will sign off after reporting that a satisfactory meeting with Max resulted in our ordering a new laptop for Jackie.

Careless Mother

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

A rare glimpse of the sun this morning reminded me that I had neglected to offer any photographs of the front garden in yesterday’s post.

Plants in front of garage door

These are the flowers fronting the garage doors. I am sure that the Head Gardener would wish to have it pointed out that she swept this area later.

Japanese anemones in front garden

Two general shots display Japanese anemones and a couple of clematises;

Front garden 2

and petunias, hydrangea, and erigeron. The tree is a winter flowering cherry.

Honeysuckle and solanum on trellis

On the trellis honeysuckle and solanum are prominent,

Trellis and hanging baskets

while petunias in hanging baskets and orange nasturtiums add vibrant colour.

Cloudscape

Although patches of blue sky would peek between occasional gaps in the threatening clouds, we didn’t see much more of the sun.

I spent much of the day on form-filling and other administrative tasks. This afternoon Jackie drove me to the soon to be closed down Hordle Post Office to avail myself of a box that would take larger envelopes. We then drove into the forest.

Donkey and foal

At East Boldre it seemed sensible to stop as a donkey foal wandered in front of the car.

Donkey eating thistles 1Donkey eating thistles 2

Not worried in the slightest, the mother lived up to the reputation of her kind, and tore at thistles

Donkey eating bramblesDonkey eating brambles 2

and brambles in contented oblivion,

Donkey foal 1Donkey foal 2Donkey foal 3

whilst her offspring, after a little thought, ventured back into the road,

Donkey foal in road having a scratch

causing an Openreach van to give the creature a wide berth when it stopped to enjoy a leisurely scratch. Either the adult was extremely negligent or she considered that the youngster had learned that it had the right of way on New Forest roads. This is almost certainly the same mother and child I photographed in April soon after the baby’s birth, when it was sprawled out across the verge.

Heather hillock

Further on, beneath a heather covered hillock at Crockers Clump,

Pool 1Pool 2

on the edge of a Stygian pool,

Fallen tree 1Tree trunk 2Tree trunk 1

a long tree had fallen across the sward, coming to rest against one still upright. In compliance with regulations in the interests of ecology this tree will remain where it lies until it rots away.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev served with new potatoes, crunchy carrots, and toothsome green sprouting broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden annoying 1445, and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

September Approaches

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Ash on marigolds

Although, like this on these marigolds, a certain amount of ash remains from the North Breeze bonfire,

Brick Path, smoke, and mechanical digger

the prevailing wind has changed and the fire much less prevalent. The mechanical digger glimpsed over the fence is levelling the now plantless next door garden.

This afternoon we both took up deadheading again. When I became bored with snipping, I wandered around with the camera for a while.

Garden view across Margery's Bed

This is a view from Margery’s Bed looking towards the Rose Garden

Rose Gaujard

where Rosa Gaujard is among the flourishing roses

Clematis Duchess of Albany

and Clematis Duchess of Albany festoons the arbour.

Gazebo Path

Alongside the Brick Path

Palm Bed

lies the Palm Bed with its resplendent rudbeckia and Japanese anemones.

Garden view from Shady Path towards house

From the Shady Path we are led towards the house.

Dahlia

Just visible among the wisteria leaves these rich red dahlias stand proud,

Dahlias 2

while a striated variety remains out of range to the left of the picture.

Shady Path

This similar view from further along the path

Begonias

contains the hanging basket featuring bell-like begonias.

Lilies

Delicate pink Crinum Powellii swamp lilies float over

Cryptomeria Bed

the Cryptomeria Bed.

Hanging basket

All the hanging baskets demonstrate their gratitude that their thirst has been regularly slaked.

Clematis Star of India

Clematises like Star of India continue to shine,

New Guinea impatiens

and New Guinea impatiens brightens several beds.

Cosmoses

I didn’t get around to deadheading these cosmoses, because

Jackie brought me the telephone which emitted the voice of our mortgage advisor. I needed to return inside, turn on the computer, download some documents, and endeavour, with his assistance to understand  their contents. This took some time, and I wasn’t up to returning to the gardening afterwards. Instead, I drafted this description of the condition of our garden as September approaches.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, despite the fact that they were very busy, we received our usual warm welcome and friendly service with excellent food. My choice was lamb naga. We shared special fried rice, a plain naan and an onion bhaji; and both drank Kingfisher.