Hammersmith Bridge

I had planned today to execute a little dead-heading. But the England v Inda men’s Cricket World Cup match was broadcast on BBC Sport. So a reprieve was granted.

While listening on my computer, I scanned a batch of photographic prints produced on 18th March 2000. The family gathered at Mortlake for the start of the Head of the River boat race rowed to Putney.

Emily,

Oliver,

and Alice brought their parents along from Croydon.

Louisa came down from Newark,

and offered Sam and the rest of the Wadham eight help and encouragement in launching their boat.

Our vantage point for watching the race was Hammersmith Bridge. The ladies perched above while I photographed the action from the railings below.

First the leaders came into sight;

soon afterwards I looked down on the Wadham eight and their nearest rivals.

In May this year the bridge, opened on 11th June 1887, was closed for refurbishment.

It was soon closed indefinitely to traffic because of cracks discovered during these investigations.

This evening I dined on another helping of Jackie’s delicious braised beef, mushrooms, and peppers in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; tender spring greens, and, this time. crunchy carrots. I had been puzzled yesterday because the Culinary Queen had included carrots on her Post It note. Today I found them at the bottom of the pot containing the greens.

Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.

One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to

a utility room leading to a library, fronted by

a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias, geraniums, etc.

I do hope this accurately describes the evolution of a room.

A few days ago I had taken my copy of J.L. Carr’s short novel, ‘A Month in the Country’ from my library, and I finished reading it this afternoon. Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1980, the book is a many faceted gem. Two men are linked by the fact of having survived Passchendaele and each having accepted commissions to uncover secrets of a medieval church. I will try not to reveal too much, but can say that in economical, well-placed, prose encompassing just 121 pages of my Folio Society copy of 1999 the author speaks of heaven and hell; of judgement, redemption, and damnation; of joy and pain; of culture and spirituality; of time and eternity; all with a slowly seething undercurrent of suppressed sexuality. It wasn’t heterosexual love to which Lord Alfred Douglas referred as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, yet there are other reasons for fear of revealing feelings.

Ronald Blythe’s perceptive and informative introduction reflects the author’s style.

Ian Stephen’s detailed illustrations are true to the text.

The front and back boards are each printed with a copy of the artist’s engraving for the frontispiece.

Here are the rest.

Early this evening we took a brief trip into the forest.

From Pound Lane near Thorney Hill we watched ponies paddling in Whitten Pond, alongside which a young woman played ball with a pair of dogs.

On our return we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away with which we both drank Tsing Tao beer.

On Eyeworth Pond

Much of this very hot day was taken up with dead heading and watering.

Soon after 4 p.m. Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond and back.

At this time, ponies and cattle, although they did emerge later, made use of what shade they could find. These were spotted en route to Fritham,

where other cattle lay down in their field.

Foals are growing up fast. On a green above the pond this one manages its own grooming.

Water lilies are now beginning to bloom on the pond,

where a few ducks paddled.

Most of these birds, however,

occupied a dormitory on the bank.

Bright sunlight produces abstract reflections on the surface.

Motley cattle grazed on the hillside as we drove back up to Fritham and, via Hordle Chinese Take Away, to home.

With our usual excellent fare from Mr Chan, we both drank Tsing Tao beer this evening.

Finding Its Feet

Lidl and Aldi are gaining ground in the war to control England’s Supermarket custom. Their quality is very good and their prices very low. There is no finesse in their layout of goods, and there is no guarantee that an item on sale in the central aisles will be in stock the next day. General groceries are usually in regular supply.

This morning, on a regular shopping trip to Lidl, Jackie bought me a linen/cotton blend shirt for £7.99. She would have bought another had she been certain that XXL would fit. It did. This afternoon we returned for another. She left me in the car and entered the store to investigate. The stock had been replenished.

She returned with five more. As she was about to drive off she casually mentioned that there was a linen jacket she hadn’t bought because I would have had to try it on. I took the hint and left her in the car so I could attempt the purchase.

By this time the jackets were strewn all over the racks. None were in their boxes because they had all been tried on.

My rummage revealed that there was just one that fitted me. I bought it Jackie asked how much it had cost. “£19.99″was my reply. “Crikey, that’s very nearly twenty quid,” was her response.

We continued into the forest where, at Frogham, we encountered more baby donkeys.

One was quite elegantly sedate.

The other was far more wobbly. As it slid along the back of the Modus it slipped and fell under the side of the car. Jackie turned on the ignition and I called out to her not to move. She turned the engine off and our little friend extricated itself, rolled over, and commenced clattering backwards and forwards along the tarmac, narrowly missing my sandalled feet. It was certainly finding its own.

It then sandwiched itself between another vehicle and a walking couple who eventually continued their trip along the road. The local woman expressed the view that this creature had probably been born today or yesterday.

From the high point of Abbotswell we looked down on ponies, foals, and cattle basking in the sunshine;

field horses did the same thing beside Blissford Road;

and, nearer home, ponies were silhouetted on Birchy Hill.

This evening we dined on creamy, tangy lasagna with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Squinzano.

The Borrowers’ House

On https://derrickjknight.com/2019/06/16/mutual-grooming/ I featured a photograph taken at Oxton in May 1999 which I had e-mailed to Louisa.

Today, while listening to the men’s Cricket World Cup match between England and Australia, I scanned the rest of a batch of prints I had retained from that trip to Oxton taken with Michael and his family on one of their holidays at Lindum House.

Our walk took us along a path through fields of barley.

Emily sped ahead.

An undulating sheep field led to

more open landscape

above which Emily and Oliver took a rest.

We travelled on to Halam where Emily was delighted to find The Borrowers’ House.

This evening Jackie and I dined on succulent pork chops roasted with onions and sage; new potatoes sautéed with leeks and peppers; and crisp broccoli with which the Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Squinizano.

Before The Storm

Threatened with a thunderstorm, after two lengthy dead-heading sessions, I wandered around the garden while Jackie continued with her general tidying and maintenance work.

The blooms in these images of the Rose Garden and the bed at its entrance are identified in the titles of the galleries, each of which can be accessed by a click.

The Shady Path runs between the Dragon the the Palm Beds. The kniphofia and fuchsia occupy the Dragon Bed. The poppies are volunteers having forced their way through the gravel.

Day lilies, sweet Williams, lobelia, more poppies, and geranium palmatums are found in the section of the Dragon Bed alongside the greenhouse.

Day lilies, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, geraniums, and clematis Marie Boisselot all make their contributions to the Kitchen Bed.

Supported by the Gothic Arch, Wedding Day now flowers above the Brick Path.

More day lilies and a fuchsia thrive in what we now call the Grass Bed.

Here are the current views down the Phantom Path;

from the Concrete Patio to the Oval Bed;

and over the stepping stones in the Cryptomeria Bed through to Margery’s Bed.

By early evening the skies were oppressively leaden, but the storm had held off when we drove into the forest.

On Undershore,

Gilpins is blessed with a quite magnificent cornus, which arlingwoman, below, has identified as Kausa.

On a particularly dark section of Church Lane a trainee rider loomed up out of the murk ahead of us.

Further on a deer dashed out of the light into the dark.

As we arrived at Tanners Lane a pair of kayakers were coming in to land.

There was a distinct dearth of donkeys, ponies and other wildlife in all the spots where we would expect to see them. We came to the conclusion that they had tuned in to the weather forecast and were lying low.

This evening we dined on perfect pork chops; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Reserva 2014.