Idiosyncratic Titles

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Late this morning Becky and I checked on the chimney pot planter she had successfully refreshed yesterday. She was able to photograph the results;

and I photographed her doing so.

Bee on cosmos

Bees were very active, and I was unable to resist recording this one in a cosmos.

We returned to the house and Becky added her input to this post. So expert is she with Microsoft computers and so adept at mobile phone photography that it was a pleasant experience for me to instruct her in the use of DSLR and loading pictures onto the iMac for transfer to WordPress. Naturally I gave my daughter a free hand in the process, and would therefore hope readers will forgive her idiosyncratic titles for some of the galleried images.

This afternoon we watched the World Cup football knockout match between France and Argentina. Soon afterwards Jackie returned home, having enjoyed three days with her sisters in a static caravan at Bowdens Crest Caravan and Camping Park at Langport in Somerset.

Jackie would have been proud of the excellent chicken curry with special rice that Becky produced for the three of us this evening. This followed vegetable samosas. I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. Jackie had already drunk her Hoegaarden beforehand, and our daughter abstained.

 

Orkney Stories

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This morning I finished reading a book worthy of one of Pauline’s bookmarks. This is George Mackay Brown’s ‘The Golden Bird’. That title is one of two Orkney stories combined in a John Murray publication from 1987.

As beautifully crafted as our NZ friend’s work, these stories tell of his Island home during the last quarter of the 19th century, when he traditions of centuries were beginning to be threatened. The eponymous title tells of the slow decline of the island community and the tensions of isolation within it. The next ‘The Life and Death of John Voe’ takes as its theme the story of a typical Orkneyman who sails the seas and returns to his roots to end his days. A voe, incidentally, is a small bay or creek in the Orkneys and Shetlands.

The writer, who spent all his life in the Orkneys lives, breathes, and conveys the essences of the hardy, taciturn, folk; the savage seas; the rugged landscape; and the essential isolation of the time. With spare, simple, poetic, language, Mackay Brown enthrals and informs the reader. Perhaps the most beautiful passages are left to the final stages of the second story. He is justifiably considered one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century.

George Mackay Brown

The portrait of the writer inside the dust jacket is by Jessie Ann Matthew.

Somewhat later I toured the garden in order to check on irrigation needs.

Pansies in refreshed urn

I was encouraged by the sight of yesterday’s droopy pansies revived by the water I had given them.

Day lily

A variety of day lilies

Knifophia miniatures

and miniature knifophia thrived in the beds.

Bottle Brush plant red

The red Bottle Brush plants are now blooming.

Rose Super Elfin

The red Super Elfin rose is ascending the Gothic arch,

and most of the plants in the various pots and hanging baskets are still benefiting from the soaking administered by the Head Gardener. It looked as if I was due for an easy time.

Water drops on petunias

In the heat of mid-afternoon I undertook another check. This suggested it would be beneficial to water the patio and its surrounding containers. I therefore did that, mostly with a hose. Eventually I ran out of steam and could do. no more.

Soon afterwards Becky looked further afield and noticed droopiness in a chimney pot. She photographed the ailing plants and administered liquid refreshment.

Later, Elizabeth came for a visit and Becky cooked for the three of us. She produced an excellent meal of Cumberland sausages;  mashed potato; tasty onion, mushroom and red wine gravy; cabbage fried with black pepper and nutmeg; and a tin of sweetcorn because she couldn’t find any carrots to julienne and glaze.

 

Father And Daughter Time

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Becky and I are enjoying what is the only extended period of time we have spent alone together in our lives. There is much joint reminiscing and exchange of information, especially concerning my past, that is really quite new.

At one point, I accompanied Scooby, who wandered up the Gazebo Path, into the garden.

Patio planting

Having paid particular attention to hanging baskets and other containers, Jackie had thoroughly watered the garden before leaving yesterday.

In today’s baking heat, some plants, particularly the pansies in the first of these images, displayed considerable signs of thirst, so I managed to distribute the contents of a can or two.

Russell crow was not in evidence today, but Becky did spot a mouse in the compost trug outside the kitchen door. She freed it into the flower bed.

This evening Becky produced a tasty, well-filled, Spanish omelette which we enjoyed on trays in front of the television while we watched the 2nd XI World Cup football match between England and Belgium which was so thrilling that I am typing this when there is still 25 minutes to go. I drank Doom Bar.

Russell Is Definitely Imprinted On Jackie

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I was first in the garden this morning. I wanted to check on our crow.

Hebe in Dragon Bed

This is a good year for hebes, as exemplified by this one in the Dragon Bed, where the crow was not.

Beside Shady Path

Our avian visitor was not along the Shady Path.

Brick Path

He was neither to be seen on the Brick Path;

nor in the Rose Garden, with its poppies and carpet roses, including the white, scented, Kent;

nor anywhere near the New Bed sporting clematises and erigerons.

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

The day lilies and geranium palmatums at the south end

Phlox Blue Paradise

and the phlox in the West Bed all reported his absence.

Crow

Silly me. I should have begun my search nearer the house. There he was, foraging among the paving stones. He was so keen to follow me about

that it took me a while before I could gain sufficient distance to focus on him with a long lens.

He remained firmly on the ground, so I didn’t feel he thought I was his Dad.

This all changed when his mother came out. He was on her in an instant.

No longer was it funny. Not wanting to be pecked again in the young bird’s effort to provoke her into regurgitating food for him, Jackie shoved him off and rushed inside. He followed her in and resumed his onslaught. The same thing happened when she went outside again.

The creature is definitely imprinted on Jackie. Perhaps fortuitously, Shelly, a little later, arrived to take her sister off to Somerset for the annual three day camping trip the three sisters share. We will see what effect the absence will have on Russell.

Russell? Well what else should we call him?

This afternoon I watched the momentous World Cup football match between Germany and S. Korea. After this, Becky arrived to take over administering to her Aged P while her mother is away. This will be the first time ever we have had a few days on our own.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare.

 

How She Suffers For My Art

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Crow

Early this morning, while I was catching up with my WordPress reading, Jackie rushed in with the small camera, having photographed a young crow on the roof of the garden shed.

Crow with bread

I abandoned my computer, grabbed the DSLR, and limped into the garden. Jackie had  provided her new friend with a crust of bread lit by the dawn sun,

Crow with insect

which it soon eschewed for something more to its taste.

She coaxed the bird down from the roof, and was delighted when it made her “feel like Long John Silver” from R. L. Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’.

Her face was then to register a whole gamut of emotions, from pleasure, pain, apprehension, courage, and a touch of agony.

When she could tolerate no more my Lady transferred the tormentor to her outstretched hand.

Jackie tells me that the pecking is what the young birds do to the parents in order to encourage feeding. She was amazing in her tolerance of the attentions of such a savage beak closing on her ear and tugging at her hair.

Young avians do not instinctively know they are birds. They are known to ‘imprint’ onto an early carer. Crows, in particular, are such creatures. Imprinting onto a human may promote a human identity. The corvine variety are able to recognise faces. I wonder which of Jackie’s will be in the memory bank.

Some time later, our new family member trotted indoors and wandered about. I perched it onto the end of my crutch and led it outside. It kept returning. The consequences were the need for a hunt for bird poo to clean up, and an eventual decision to keep the doors closed.

Jackie continued her mammoth garden watering sessions and her infant kept landing on her head and shoulders until, in desperate self-defence, she turned the spray on young Crow.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Drinks on the patio had included Jackie’s customary Hoegaarden and a miniature bottle of Argentinian Malbec for me. I had saved some to accompany the meal. Jackie hadn’t. I couldn’t resist checking on our little bird who was finishing his second slice of bread on the shed roof.

While Mrs. Knight was collecting our food we were hit by a power cut which continued until 10.30 p.m. This meant my post was late into the ether, but I consider myself lucky to have managed it at all.

 

 

 

 

“Ursula Andress, Eat Your Heart Out”

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Late this gloriously hot and sunny afternoon Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond in search of ducklings.

Cattle

Cattle chewed the cud on the verges of Canterton Lane.

Ponies on road

We made good time to the pond, but an equine trio delayed us taking the last right turn.

A delightfully friendly couple enjoying a picnic in the shade pointed out several paddles of ducks and ducklings. Strong pigments splashed over the surface of the water and the shallow bed.

Jackie alerted me to the arrival of a couple of ponies and a foal. If only I could have made the constantly twitching youngster aware that the flies he was desperately trying to escape were taking off from the flanks of the mare to which he clung.

The young lady by this time had entered the water attempting to catch tadpoles. As I took a couple of these shots I exclaimed “Ursula Andress, eat your heart out”.

This evening we dined on a thick crust pizza to which the Culinary Queen added more cheese and salami, served with plentiful fresh salad.

Bookmarks To Treasure

I had a shower this morning.

Only those who have for any length of time been confined to strip washes and a head over the kitchen sink can fully appreciate the joy expressed in that statement.

Back Drive

At the southern end of the garden stretches the Back Drive which, as far as I am concerned might have been Antarctica for the last few weeks. I have usually opened the gate at the bottom for Aaron on a Sunday morning so he can bring his van in without having to jump out to open it. This morning he was able to drive straight in.

I have to admit to having dozed off on the odd occasion during the second half of England’s World Cup Wrestling match against Panama this afternoon.

It is not my birthday for a fortnight, yet yesterday I received what looked like a card from our good friend Pauline https://thecontentedcrafter.com  Well, at this time there has also been Father’s Day and the need for Get Well cards. I received a get well card from Jessica and Imogen and a Father’s Day card from Louisa, both before Dad’s Day. I opened them both. One a little early. I considered Pauline’s, all the way from New Zealand, must be wishing me well, so I opened it this morning to find that it was

both for my birthday and for getting better. A beautifully crafted handmade card came with three wonderful bookmarks. Now I have a dilemma. I normally leave bookmarks in books as a surprise for the next reader. How can I possibly do that with these?

I didn’t go to sleep while watching the highlights of the fifth One Day (cricket) International between England and Australia.

After this we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce, served on Jackie’s superb vegetable rice.