“Look. That Man’s Taking Photographs”


Barry & Owen Van

Leaving their van in our front drive


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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;


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.


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


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;


and blackberries sprawled over the hedgerows.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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”


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.


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.