The Skate Park

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Today was another featuring sunny intervals in cloudy skies. I began with a stroll round the garden where the latest opening rhododendron is progressing well.

Becky and Ian having stayed over, we all lunched at the Beachcomber in Barton on Sea.

The Solent’s waves were choppy; the Isle of Wight and The Needles were swathed in haze;

crows struggled against the blustery wind on the clifftop, and airborne alongside gulls.

This afternoon we took a trip to New Milton where Ian and I visited a solicitor for an executorship matter, while the ladies went shopping. Afterwards I sat on a bench in the Skate Park while Ian hunted for the shoppers.

Skate Park

Black- headed gulls scavenged on the grass against the backdrop of the distant mural;

a couple of young lads experimented with skateboards, until school was out when others joined them on bicycles.

This evening, before Becky and Ian returned home, we all dined on Jackie’s splendid beef pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, and creamy mashed potato. Becky and I drank more of the Malbec, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Ian, Peroni.

 

Before WordPress 2

My second Facebook diary page (26.4.2012), before progressing to WordPress:

Began the day, as usual, with an hour or so learning French vocabulary. Lunch with my friend Norman in Harlsden. Walked the first part of the journey from Morden to Colliers Wood through Morden Hall (National Trust) Park and along Merton’s Wandle Trail. Pissing with rain, it being London in April. A woman in Sainsbury’s gave me her place in the checkout queue because I only had a bottle of wine. That was nice. In the Park I met a former rugby prop forward and we chatted for a while in the pouring rain. What the hell, we were drenched anyway.

On the tube I noticed a young woman with an oval face and huge round specs. Surprisingly I thought they suited her face perfectly, so I told her. She was chuffed.
Read more of Farenheit 451. Did an evening telephone supervision session.
Today’s Scrabble with people in UK, South Africa, Singapore and Australia.
‘…..and so to bed’. Samuel Pepys eat your heart out.

Before WordPress 1

I had begun writing about my day on Facebook on 25th April 2012. This had been in response to pressure from family,  before I had ever heard about blogging. Here is my first effort:

At last, through playing World wide Scrabble, I’ve twigged how to operate this facility – or at least a bit of it! So, here goes: recent outings with Jackie include a trip to the National Theatre to see She Stoops to Conquer – an excellent performance of a very funny play by Oliver Goldsmith; and a fundraising qiz night for Merton Mind – our team was winning until the last round – James Bond films – we got 3/20!
18 months on from my hip replacement I am walking for an hour for most days.
Playing Scrabble with people all over the world I have made several good on-line friends and have learned, for example, from first hand experience of the Japanese tsunami.
My most recent crossword for the Independent newspaper was published this Monday.
Current reading includes Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 and Flaubert’s Education Sentimentale in the original (be impressed, please).

Yellow Fields

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Today was one of cloudy sunshine with April showers in the afternoon. We took an early morning drive into the forest.

Machinery on road

When we encountered a piece of heavy plant blocking East Hill in Lymington we wondered why, with the temporary lights at red, no traffic passed it on the way up. This, we discovered, was because there was a queue of vehicles too wide to manage it.

Moving on, the swiftly flowing ford stream at Norleywood did not deter a cheery cyclist.

Dog following woman leading another and a horse

Further along that road to the east, a black dog trailed behind a young woman leading white one and a horse.

A loaded tractor on Charles’s Lane

gave us plenty of opportunity to admire the flanking forest scenery.

Please keep to the main tracks

Throughout the New Forest at this time are posted requests to dog owners to keep their animals to the main tracks in order to protect ground nesting birds. This one is at Wootton, where

ponies blend or contrast with the landscape.

The Yellow fields along Hordle Lane are examples of those throughout the country in springtime.

“Selby House is a small farm in the middle of Northumberland.” It has this explanation on its website. “Rapeseed oil comes from oilseed rape, a root vegetable and cousin of mustard cabbage. The name is derived from the Old English term for turnip [the Latin] rapum. And yes, it comes from those yellow fields you can see in late spring.

Cold pressed means that the composition of the oil isn’t altered by heating. It isn’t the most efficient process but this oil isn’t about efficiency it’s about taste and purity.

The seed husk that is left over is called cake and this is mixed with other cereals into a safe and nutritious animal feed or some people use it in their solid fuel burners since it is a very low carbon renewable fuel.

The oil has delicious earthy, nutty taste – try it in dressings, stir fry, roasting, dunking.

Compared to olive oil it has half of the saturated fat and a much higher natural omega 3 content, the one in our diet that is often lacking.”

Becky and Ian arrived this afternoon and we all dined in the evening at Lal Quilla. Food, company, and service were all as excellent as ever. My main course was king prawn Ceylon, with chapatis. We shared onion bhajis. Kingfisher and Diet Coke were imbibed.

 

Fill Your Boots

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Early this morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a Pre-Admission Clinical appointment. This was a most thorough and efficient physical check involving all the usual blood tests, etc., including an ECG. I seem to have passed. There followed various questionnaires for which Jackie was invited to participate. Next, we were introduced to the Head Physiotherapist who explained what we were to expect before and after surgery. I was, incidentally told that I was “a lucky man” in my allocated surgeon.

The off-white tarpaulin covering the skies developed a leak in the afternoon, so I was fortunate in managing to produce a few photographs before lunch.

Rape fields

On the road through Salisbury’s Downton, fields of oil seed rape blazed in the murk.

Cattle

A cluster of white-faced cattle huddled in the corner of a field

Cattle

beribboned by tributaries of the River Avon near the mill at Woodgreen. (See Paol Soren’s comment below for important information about these creatures)

Thatched roof

Having been attracted by the recently patched thatched roof of

Thatched roof

Surma Valley Indian restaurant at Burgate,

Surma Valley restaurant

we just had to have lunch in this 16th century building set in 3/4 of an acre of grounds. We were not disappointed. Service was friendly and efficient and the food was first rate. Jackie enjoyed her sheek kebab starter followed by prawn buna and aromatic pilau rice; as I did my mulligatawny soup, lamb tikka gowchi, and special egg rice. We both drank Kingfisher.

Shoes

We have an expression, “fill your boots”, originating from early naval times, when a mug was called a boot and this was an encouragement to get quite drunk. Now we use it to mean eat so much that your boots are also full. We didn’t exactly do that, but Jackie brought some of hers home in a doggy bag for this evening. An earlier visitor to the restaurant avoided doing so by leaving his boots outside.

My laptop died some time ago. Later this afternoon we collected a replacement – a MacBook – from Peacock computers and I did my head in trying to load all my various accounts, like this one, onto it.

 

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Behind The Nottingham Castle Bench

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After a day in our mother’s garden, I wandered around ours.

Lamiums

Lamiums rise from the Dragon Bed, where

Rhododendron

the first of our rhododendrons is in full boom.

Margery's Bed grass-side

Another of these rich red shrubs, in Margery’s Bed,

Pieris, rhododendron and view across lawn

can be seen on the grass patch side,

Pieris

beyond the pieris

Pieris and view across grass patch

that stands behind the Nottingham Castle Bench,

Honesty

opposite which one of the ubiquitous honesty plants presages the hebe blooms with which it will soon blend.

Cyclamen

Cyclamens border the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Pansies

These particular pansies smile in the West Bed,

Hellebore, comfrey

where hellebores, like these among the comfrey and the tellimas, are adopting their maturer colouring,

Snakeshead fritillaries

and snakes head fritillaries hang their lanterns.

Japanese maple red and camellias

We thought we had lost the red Japanese maple from which I had removed dead material two years ago. Aaron cut some more away recently and fresh shoots are appearing.

Daffodils

Many later daffodils linger

Tulips

and our surprise collection of tulips has revealed yet another dramatic red striped variety.

Spirea

A white spirea cascades over the Palm Bed,

Prunus Amanogawa

and at the front of the house the prunus Amanogawa is now in full bloom. Should anyone wonder at the proliferation of piping on this side of our building, that is because this, we believe, was originally the back of the house.

This evening we dined on real fusion food – Jackie’s superb savoury egg rice, Mr Chan’s spring rolls and prawn toasts, Lidl’s pork rib rack in barbecue sauce; Belgium’s Hoegaarden beer and Argentina’s Trivento reserve Malbec 2017.

Giving A Hand

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Just before lunch today, Jackie and I arrived at Mum’s home in West End where we joined Mum and Elizabeth. Jackie had packed a plentiful picnic lunch of sandwiches, tomatoes, cakes and jam tarts; Elizabeth brought salad. These were enjoyed when Danni and Andy joined us a little later. We were a gardening party to spend the afternoon working on our mother’s garden.

Elizabeth began by assembling the new lawn mower and cutting the grass;

while Jackie pruned the shrubbery on the drive to the

front garden with, among others, its magnolia, heathers, and muscari. Perched on Mum’s raised garden chair, I helped to fill the bags with the cuttings

I offered similar assistance in cutting up the photinus that the Head Gardener pruned in the back garden. By cutting out the lower branches she gave the tree shape, and, in the process, revealed the hiding place of a blue cockerel.

Danni and Andy concentrated on weeding and redefining the edges of the flower beds.

In truth, I spent most of my time watching the others work. Well, someone had to take the photographs.

The penultimate photograph in the lawn mowing sequence contains an ailing rose with muscari at its feet. Jackie dug out the rose and set the smaller, healthy, plants aside for replanting while Elizabeth raked out and bagged up photinus leaves.

Until she began to feel cold and wish to go back indoors, Mum kept an eye on proceedings. She had been helped out without her walking frame. Elizabeth gave her a hand as far as the door, after which she made her own way inside.

Back home this evening Jackie and I consumed some of the lunch that had been surplus to requirements.