Fruits Of Labour

I am close to deciding on my final cut for the Everton Festival Photographic Competition. Many painful decisions are being made now, concerning which shots to leave out.

In order seriously to consider the deer having her nose scratched I have converted this image to Black and White, thus giving a sharper silhouette. This is, incidentally, quite a small crop from the original picture. Does anyone have an opinion?

Jackie has been working very hard all this week on planting and replenishment of soil.

Here she tidies what she has achieved against the kitchen wall;

this side of the patio, all of which has been repotted, leads through the Dead End Path,

Earlier plantings include this allium in the Palm Bed and clematis climbing the Wedding Day (formerly Agriframes) arch.

While I think of it, I have been calling the clematis wandering up the wisteria arbour Niobe; we now think it should be named Star of India.

It faces the bright red Chiliean Lantern tree.

Rose Altissimo stands sentinel between Elizabeth’s Bed and the

Rose Garden where Laura Ford’s yellow pigment splashes onto the heuchera border, and

Special Anniversary

nods to the numerous gloves the foxes have scattered therein.

Creamy yellow Summer Time makes its bid to support the peeling old shed;

Jacqueline du Pré plays on;

and the deep pink climber Elizabeth rediscovered races Roserie de la Haie to the skies.

The Weeping Birch Bed bursts with burgeoning blooms.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts roasted in sweet chilli sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and ratatouille with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Happy Birthday, Louisa

Thirty years ago today we enjoyed Louisa’s seventh birthday party at Lindum House. Today I completed the scanning of photographs taken on that day.

These are from a mix of colour negatives and prints, because I have still not found all the negatives. The prints were made commercially and therefore suffer from a little cropping as is common from such sources.

Kate, our teenaged emcee, organised a variety of active games which all put their hands up for.

The day was warm and sunny enough for Jessica to organise the important business of scoffing at the kitchen table taken out to the lawn.

This is your Birthday Card, Louisa.

Lots of love, from Dad XX

“The Royal Stump”

This morning I e-mailed two more entries to the Wessex Photo Spring competition. These are entitled ‘A Paddle’ and ‘The Hind Leg’. (A paddle is the collective noun for ducks in the water; a garrulous person could be said to talk the hind leg off a donkey – with Jackie’s assistance I couldn’t help myself).

Later I photographed the roses on the front garden trellis.

After lunch Jackie drove me to that photographic outlet in Ringwood to collect some paper I had ordered. We then travelled on into the forest and stopped at the recently opened bird hide at Blashford Lakes.

When I entered the building a man inside mouthed “lapwing” and pointed to the window. As I approached it flew away. I observed that I had that effect on birds. He replied that he had had that effect since he was eighteen. Quick to pick up the innuendo I gesticulated in the direction of the two attractive women in his company and offered the opinion that something must have improved. This was met with hilarity. The said waterfowl was decent enough to return for a forage.

I was informed that two somnolent birds bobbing on the water were great crested grebes.

A pair of ducks sharing a spit with a black headed gull soon took to the water. I trust one of my birding blogging friends will help me with identification. (The consensus seems to be Tufted Ducks – see arlingwoman and John Knifton’s comments)

We stopped for a drink at The Royal Oak, North Gorley where the avian propensity for taking flight at the sight of my lens did rather pay off. Two jackdaws perched on the chimney pot were possibly protecting a nest. One decided to decant to the TV aerial when I was in mid-click.

Since we last visited the eponymous Quercus has had to be felled. The pub landlord quipped that they should now be called “The Royal Stump”. Jackie suggested that the slice might attract the attention of a dendrochronologist.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

“Welcome To The World Of Flies”

Now I am going to throw a spanner in the works of selection. I have just remembered ‘The Drift’, the second half of which post contains a number of pictures which must be included. It is such a unique New Forest event. I don’t wish to impose more work on my readers, but any comments would be welcome.

I have culled the 5 least popular of my 19 and added the four above from The Drift. At least the shortlist is reduced by one.

When we visited Wessex Photo yesterday I was encouraged to enter that company’s own competition on the subject of Spring. This gave me the opportunity to submit

this jackdaw gathering nesting material from a cow’s hide, taken from my post of 3rd May. I had rejected it from my first selection for the Everton competition because it could have been taken anywhere.

A brief walk around the garden this afternoon gleaned

these diascia which have survived two winters outside in their pot;

these marvellously scented sweet peas having forced their way through paving beside the kitchen wall;

above the campanula and geraniums the red peonies first photographed in bud;

this velvety climbing rose now springing from the arch Aaron erected over the Shady Path;

and, in the Rose Garden Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only; Summer Wine and Madame Alfred Carriere above the entrance arch beside

Festive Jewel nudging me for a dead heading session.

Later we took a short drive into the forest. Warborne Lane, outside Lymington, is so narrow that we just coasted along in the wake of these two horse riders. The two cyclists lurking behind the hedge had no choice but to wait their turn for a place on the road. We waited for them, too.

On the moorland beside St Leonards Road cattle and ponies lazed or grazed.

So bright was the head of this wagtail darting about that it seemed to be wearing a daisy hat.

The twitching of his mother’s tail as she reacted to the troublesome flies made it difficult for her offspring to latch onto his milk supplier.

Eventually he set off on a frisky trot

soon returning to shelter behind his Mum.

The flies were getting to him too. Dropping to the ground he rolled and kicked around for a while,

then tried to nudge them away.

“Welcome to the world of flies” exclaimed Jackie as he gave up and rose to his feet again.

On our way home we stopped at Hordle Chinese Take Away for this evening’s dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Select Six

Much of the morning was spent trawling through twelve months of photographs, seeking a selection from several thousand of the New Forest from which to enter six images into the Everton Festival: three prints, and three electronic efforts. This was a daunting effort. How do you portray this particular forest? A pony portrait of course could have been produced anywhere. I managed to pick about sixty possibles.

The Assistant Photographer reduced these to 19. Now it is your turn. I would be grateful for any suggestions as to which should definitely be included/excluded.

Because I am running out of printer inks with which to make the prints we set off to Wessex Photo at Ringwood to collect these. But we didn’t get very far. As Jackie began reversing the Modus in the front drive, Helen and Bill drove in. It would have been rude not to have offered them coffee. So we did. And enjoyed a catch up conversation.

Afterwards we did travel to Ringwood and I made my purchases.

We diverted to North Gorley on our way home. There,

the greens were occupied equally by equine and bovine residents. Flies were beginning to plague the animals – cattle ignored them, ponies switched their tails; one pony paddled, another nursed its new-born foal; a bovine necking session was in progress.

This unnamed lane led us towards Ringwood.

Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; new potatoes, firm broccoli, and breaded mushrooms were what we dined on this evening. I finished the Carmenere. My Lady abstained because she had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Reflective Mood

It wasn’t until about 4 p.m. the afternoon that I realised on glancing through the window beside my desk that the sun had made a fleeting appearance as,

against the still indigo skies, it lit the pink rambling rose rising from the front trellis.

Its deeper pink companion soared above the porch, and the first of the Félicité Perpétue blooms which will drape themselves over the opposite fence has opened out.

I had spent the morning reading and responding to the letters of condolences it has taken me three months to complete. We posted these from Everton Post Office and drove on further into the forest.

Royden Lane took us to

Lower Sandy Down. On the left hand side of this shot stands

a large oak tree the bole of which is home to ferns, ivy, and mosses.

An unusual number of ponies grazed around Hatchet Pond, normally the realm of donkeys.

Stately swans disturbed the surface of the lake which mirrored their images.

A black headed gull was in an equally reflective mood.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; boiled new potatoes; breaded mushrooms; and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

Six Trains

This post by Linda at shoreacres, https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/32382/posts/2281944455 took me back this morning to my 1940s childhood.

Linda has eloquently described steam railways in America.

From 1947 to 1954 the magical – to us children at least – The Devon Belle steamed past our kitchen window in Raynes Park on its way from Waterloo station to the West Country. Details of the train and its history can be found in http://railway.g3w1.com/The_Devon_Belle/devon_belle.htm

I was intrigued to read that the author of this piece lived in Raynes Park until he was three and a half, and has memories similar to mine, although I was 5 years old in the inaugural year.

My entire childhood from the age of two in1944 to 1960 was spent in the maisonette at 29a Stanton Road, alongside which ran the railway path. The family ate in the kitchen where we could watch the trains. Chris and I would collect the numbers of those driven by electricity at any time during the day. But our favourite was https://youtu.be/XPpqD3GUmSA

This was, of course, because of the steam engines, but also the Pullman carriages which gave us something else to collect. Each of these first class cars bore a different name, usually of a woman.

When eating we were not expected to wolf down our food, leave the table, and get on with whatever else in which we had been engrossed. No, we had to wait for six trains to go by before we were permitted to “get down”.

When I open the back gate for Aaron on a Sunday morning this involves a walk down the gravelled back drive.

Beyond the gate on the south side we have a range of wallflowers and valerian;

on the opposite side there is currently a heap of the redundant griselina stumps, and more yellow wallflowers.

The dark patch of soil a bit further along, beside another stump and a spray of libertia, consists of spent compost from Jackie’s pots. This is being used to fill the holes left by the removal of the overgrown hedging.

Further still, a clump of Johnson’s Blue geraniums is found beside erigeron and bronze fennel.

This afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a brief journey before the rain set in.

Forest Road Burley was the venue for an equine mothers and babies group, only occasionally divided by the traffic with which they played havoc. Observant readers may spot the foal featured in ‘Aquatic Surface Cover’ of May 8th.

A young man with a video camera also stopped to film the scene. We enjoyed pleasant conversation.

For this evening’s dinner the Culinary Queen roasted duck breasts in plum sauce and served them with mushroom wild rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

P.S. Our friend Barrie Haynes has made this comment on my Facebook page:  ‘Unfortunately, the Devon Belle was not a commercial success. The Observation Cars had to be turned on the locomotive turntable at Ilfracombe and the station was badly sited for the town. I believe the Pullman observation cars were later used in Scotland and I think at least one of them is still with us. Because there were no water troughs on the Southern, engines were normally changed at Wilton.’