The Last Day Of Summer

I’m told that this is the last day of our summer. So I took a walk round the garden.

Here is a random set of views which are, as usual, entitled in the galleries;

and here, literally on the Heligan Path, is the hardest “Where’s Nugget?” (11) yet. With a sense of fairness I have given you that clue and placed him in the centre of the Header Picture.

This afternoon and evening we attended a family barbecue at Shelly and Ron’s to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, Here the happy couple toast each other. Neil, and Jackie can also be glimpsed.

Ron provided a range of kebabs, sausages, and chicken on the barbecue, while Shelly produced salads and puddings. Various beers and wines were consumed. We sat in the garden until dark, discussing politics, religion, and putting the world to rights.

“The Smell Of Autumn”

Today was pleasantly temperate. We took an early drive into the forest where the wider roads are often crossed by hoofed animals who make the own tracks into the woodland.

We stopped at the junction between Crow Hill and Charles’s Lane for me to photograph examples.

The track forks with one tine running alongside Charles’s Lane

and the other crossing it to

continue beside Crow Hill.

Serendipitously, as I was making this record, a young equestrienne left the hill, crossed the lane,

and continued on down the slope. The horseshoe in this picture will be leaving its own print in the dusty soil;

the cloven , heart-shaped, depression in this will have been left by one of the string of cattle who are the real sappers of this terrain.

A couple of keen, fit, cyclists who stopped at this junction struggled to find a cycle track with the aid of their modern device. I offered them an example of old technology in the the form of an Ordnance Survey map. The woman said she preferred old technology, perused and returned it once they had established that they would probably need to continue on the road for a while. The gentleman recently cycled from Land’s End to John O’ Groats with a companion who had received two knee replacements three years ago. I suppose this should have been somewhat encouraging.

The first of these samples of verge detritus was photographed on the edge of Crow Hill, the second at Ibsley,

perhaps stamped on by an angry cow.

Outside Burley a group gathered beside a pony being fed by a young girl. At one point the animal turned away from the hand that the young lady extended, but later thought better of it.

“The smell of autumn”, fondly uttered Jackie as the scent of oak smoke from burning branches drifted into our nostrils.

We followed a splendid veteran car through Ibsley. The driver indicated that we should pass him. We waited on ahead so I could photograph him from the front. He turned off into a side road. Perhaps there cannot be too many happy accidents in one day.

We enjoyed a late breakfast at Hockey’s Farm shop in South Gorley.

A pair of young donkeys, showing signs of moulting, stopped for a snack in the middle of the road outside.

This afternoon Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating visited to check on our central heating problem. He diagnosed a drop in pressure resulting from a hidden leak in the system. He applied two cans of stuff designed to seek out and seal it.

This afternoon, Jackie gave the lavender in the Rose Garden a good haircut. She was not alone. “Where’s Nugget?” (10)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender runner beans I picked earlier. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Tesco’s finest Western Cape Malbec 2017.

The Watchers On The Shore

Today’s weather was once more clear, bright, sunny, and cooler.

Bees continued collecting nectar throughout the garden. On my walk around I captured them on bidens, and on the more mature blooms of Festive Jewel.

Crisp young examples of the latter await their turn at contributing to the queen’s larder.

Tomatoes continue to ripen in readiness for ours.

It is a good thing I was not using film in my attempts to catch the myriad of fluttering snowflakes in the form of Small White butterflies while they swirled through the air. I settled for those landing on a poppy head and on a verbena bonarensis. Another took pity on me and perched on a petunia.

Orange crocosmia Emily Mckenzie brightens the Dead End Path and pink sweet peas dance in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Our Bishop of Llandaff in the New Bed was eaten by a vole a couple of years ago. Its deeper red companion has survived.

Another plant that has proved impossible to grow in the various beds tried by the Head Gardener is the gaura. This one is thriving in a pot.

Lady Emma Hamilton produces multiple flushes.

Rows of small begonias sparkle on the borders of beds like these alongside the Heligan Path.

Nugget darted in and out nearby. I am beginning to wonder whether he associates the click of the camera with the clink of a trowel.

One of the pictures above should provide a clue to today’s “Where’s Nugget?” (9)

Late this afternoon we took drive into the forest.

The only sign of life on Hatchet Pond was this pair of swans.

The others must have heard that members of an excited family were feeding the birds beside the nearby Beaulieu River.

Kite surfers and sailboarders struggled on the Solent at the end of Tanners Lane, where they were watched by a young man on the shore. I suppose I made it two watchers so I could legitimately borrow the title of Stan Barstow’s novel.

This evening we dined on Lidl’s rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce; the Culinary Queen’s flavoursome mushroom rice; and the Head Gardener’s tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Belgium’s Hoegaarden and I finished Tesco’s finest Chilean Malbec.

Nugget, You’ve Got Mail

This morning while Jackie applied herself to unearthing food for Nugget, I occupied myself with dead-heading roses. The two photographs above are a day’s relief for eyes which struggled with yesterday’s “Where’s Nugget?”.

Hearing Jackie clearly speaking Avian I thought at first she had been addressing her little robin, but in fact it was “those ruddy randy pigeons”.

Here are two examples of the Head Gardener’s happy planting. We have pink Japanese anemones fronting similarly hued phlox in the first picture and a melange of begonias, pelargoniums, fuchsias, more of the anemones in the patio bed.

Lwbut has requested close ups of the Japanese anemones. There you go, Bob.

There is evidence from their webs that we are breeding vegan spiders – either that or they are currently constantly being disappointed.

Bees are busy with cosmoses, and sampling various vintages of Summer Wine.

Clematis has granted her presence to the Rose Garden arbour.

Although we have flotillas of Small White butterflies fluttering throughout the garden, we have very few other species, but we do have humming bird moths in phlox.

This afternoon Nugget received his first piece of snail mail.

This card, when opened, plays a recording of a robin’s song. The words inside, in Auntie Becky’s handwriting, state that she chose the card for the words – i.e. the birdsong.

Jackie and I spent a considerable amount of time getting our heads round how to record stuff on her camera. We managed it. I uploaded it into my computer and WordPress wouldn’t support the file format. I was, of course, my usual phlegmatic self on discovering this.

With the late afternoon growing duller and cooler, my chauffeuse drove us on a short trip into the forest.

A colourful range of heathers and bracken beginning to brown spread carpets across the moorland beside Holmsley Passage.

We thought it best to allow this beefy bovine free passage on the Burley road.

We spotted these rather splendid mushrooms along Bisterne Close.

Jackie produced a lovely lamb’s liver casserole with creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy cauliflower and carrots with tender green beans for our dinner this evening. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Unquenchable Polish Spirit

This morning Nick from Peacock Computers visited to instal a new router and to repair the interface between our TV and the You View box.

After lunch Barry from New Forest Chimney Sweeping And Repairs came to inspect our leaking Velux window. He asked me to send him two photographs, which I did.

Nugget overtook me on the Brick Path while I photographed white Japanese anemones and red pelargoniums.

Here are more of these anemones, between fading lilies and honesty seed pods.

These fuchsias, lobelia, and petunias suspended from the eucalyptus have recovered by virtue of the Head Gardener’s nurturing;

as has this unquenchable, aptly named, Polish Spirit which has twice survived the still visible windburn of the summer’s storms.

To the delight of foraging bees, new buds continue to burgeon on cosmoses.

A favourite perch for little robin Nugget stands in the Weeping Birch Bed. “Where’s Nugget?” (8)

This afternoon Jackie collected Elizabeth from her home in Pilley and drove her to collect her repaired car from a garage near us. My sister came back with the Culinary Queen and stayed for dinner, which consisted of luscious lamb’s liver (sorry, Yvonne), bacon and onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco’s Chilean Malbec 2018. Elizabeth had consumed her quota of Hophead Pale Ale on the patio beforehand. One of the advantages of a flavoursome casserole is that you can have bread and gravy if there is enough liquid left over. I did this tonight.

Have I Found A Redshank?

We enjoyed another very hot temperature with clear, pale blue, skies today.

In the garden bees laboured on rudbeckia;

Small White butterflies were ubiquitous;

sun produced X-ray images of such as hollyhocks and pelargoniums;

and cart wheels spoke to the low bark of the eucalyptus.

I wandered around for a while. As usual, titles may be found in the galleries.

Nugget flew at the closed utility room window while expressing his dissatisfaction with Jackie because she spent her time watering plants instead of digging up his breakfast. Bouncing onto the paving below he appeared to have recovered

enough to continue on his own chirpy way.

This afternoon we visited Shelly and Ron with birthday presents, just after Helen and Bill had arrived. We spent pleasant hour together, assisted with the crossword and accepted that we couldn’t put the world to rights.

Giles collected me early this evening for a birding session at the Milford on Sea hide.

As we left by the kitchen door, Nugget, perched on the patio rocker waved us on our way.

Such a hazy mist hung over Sturt Pond that visibility was somewhat shrouded. The Isle of Wight was quite invisible;

walkers on the spit and the bridge were given a nebulous quality.

A crow surveyed the scene from a wooden wire fence post.

We were joined in the hide by 8 year old Will Ryan and his parents.

I managed to identify the spread wings of a cormorant, but

I was at a loss to be sure about the redshank to which this engaging young man did his best to guide me. I may have one or two in this collection. Ornithologists among my readership may be kind enough to let me know. Bigification can be obtained from the gallery.

This evening Jackie and I dined on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad.

On The Verges

Today Jackie drove us to Upper Dicker and back for Poppy’s fourth birthday party. This was a gathering of young families with children who enjoyed great fun in the heat of a splendidly sunny day in Mat and Tess’s garden. There were games galore; much tasty finger food; home made Danish pastries; and a splendid birthday cake made by Tess. It was good to see Miche there and to spend time conversing with her and Becky who had both helped with the preparation the day before.

More than six hours was spent in the car.

The traffic on the A27 gave me quite a few opportunities to

the verges’ wildflowers,

detritus,

and advertising placards.

By the time we reached Beaulieu Road on our return, the low evening sun was burnishing the white cows grazing among the

glowing heather.

As usual, the cattle crossed the road willy-nilly.

While I was focussing these scenes a trio of young people waved as they drove by. They then pulled up on the verge and waved again. I suddenly realised that they wanted me to photograph them. So I did.

Later I watched the recorded highlights of the last day of the third Ashes Test match between England and Australia.

The only other nourishment we required was sparkling water.