In The Rough

This morning we received an e-mail from our good blogging friend Lavinia Ross attaching a photograph of the cedar tree (Calocedrus decurrens) she has planted in remembrance of my son Michael. We are very touched by this.

Jackie nipped out to photograph the evidence of last night’s sub-zero temperature.

We have light frost on various leaves;

and thin ice on the Frond pond – well, cistern actually.

Plants like primulas

and wallflower Sugar Rush Purple Bicolour seem unscathed.

After lunch Jackie turned her lens on the front garden foragers. in the process discovering

a dunnock and

a second robin happily coexisting with Ron. Robins are notoriously territorial, the males fighting to the death to repel invaders. Two companionable examples must therefore be one male and one female. When Ron first came on the scene we did speculate that the bird could in fact be a Ronette. We now have a real identification problem.

Is this Ron or Ronette waiting for the sparrows to finish feeding;

and which is sharing pickings with the pigeon?

Later this afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

The sun was quite low over the Burley Golf Course where one couple were nicely silhouetted;

another apparently caught in the rough;

and ponies,

one of which lethargically turned to observe me, dozing or grazing.

On the opposite side of Burley Road trees, like Narcissus, admired themselves on the surface of a deepening pool.

Before we left home I had remembered that Elizabeth had given me a long walker’s stick for my birthday last year. This is intended to aid balance. I therefore decided to keep it in the car. I was tempted to leave the road at Bisterne Close and walk into the woods. As I set off Jackie reminded me of the stick. Well, at least I had got it into the car without prompting.

It was a great help in traversing the undulating forest floor with its soggy, shoe sucking, areas, yet lacking yesterday’s booby traps.

Moss-covered raised roots were easier to negotiate than yesterday’s bare snaking ones.

Winter’s long shadows stretched over the terrain

much of which was reasonably dry underfoot.

There were, of course, more reflective pools.

One long-limbed mighty oak needed only a wildcat steed to present a passing semblance of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Somehow she has retained her mighty arms whilst another lost one of hers some time ago.

Back in the car and further down the road, even at 3.30 p.m. ice shone on the waterlogged verge.

This evening we dined at The Smugglers Inn at Milford on Sea where Jackie enjoyed spinach and ricotta cannelloni followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. I would have enjoyed my otherwise good sirloin steak, chips, onion rings, and fresh salad more had my steak knife been thrown away. My great and butter pudding and custard dessert was excellent. The service was friendly, speedy, and efficient. Mrs Knight drank Hop House Lager while I drank Doom Bar.


  1. How very wonderful that your good friend Lavinia planted a cedar tree for Michael – such a noble tree! The ancient oak is fabulous isn’t it. I hope it can survive a few more hundred years! The Ron and Ronette dilemma may prove to be most pleasing come spring. I hope Nugget doesn’t get his knickers in a twist over them though – where’s his girlfriend?

  2. Michael’s tree will grow strong and tall, Derrick and Jackie! I will think of your son and help keep his memory alive every time I see this tree, which will continue to grow and live on, long after all of us are gone.

    A frosty morning there, and a beautiful sunny day! You are blessed with robins and beautiful flowers! The forest drives are always a favorite of mine, with reflecting pools, ponies and all sorts of life going about its business.

  3. More reflections and they are gorgeous. Steak and onion rings Mmm… I think I’ll add it my menu for this week.
    Thank you, Derrick

  4. I am touched by the gesture of your friend to immortalise Michael. The frost and freezing expanses water, silhouetted golfers, reflected trees β€”they all add up to the mood.

  5. That is so sweet and so special of Lavinia to plant a tree for Michael! I think that is one of THE best ways to honor and remember someone dear. I’m all teary-eyed with joy-tears.

    Love Jackie’s frosty photos! So pretty!

    Your mighty oak photos took my breath away! So amazing and wonderful! I am enthralled by large well-seasoned trees who have lived long and seen so much! Making the world a better place for us Human-Beans.

    I’m glad so many birdies are still out and about and you all are taking such good care of them!
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚
    PS…I think the robins should wear name tags! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

    1. There was room for one more tree in that row, and the same tree farmer friend who gave me the coastal sequoias gave me a couple of cedar trees. I took the bigger one for Michael Knight, and the smaller one went out back for lack of space up front. I know what a hole his passing has left in Derrick and Jackie’s hearts, and I feel their pain.

      The next tree up from Michael Knight’s tree is for my friend Darlene, then for Tom, then your Michael’s tree, then my friend Cheryl, and the last one up that line is for Clare Pooley’s aunt and uncle.

      Darlene was a poet and writer, grew an wonderful garden, did home canning and sewing, wife and tireless champion of a musician friend up in Washington. I still have the apron she made me, and think of her. She and her little Japanese spaniel did Hospice work, comforting the terminally ill, before she became ill with cancer herself, and needed Hospice.

      Tom was a wonderful co-worker that Rick and I both worked with a different times during our respective careers. He will forever be known for his kindness and helpfulness to all, and for his Hawaiian shirts and folding beach chair he brought to work for his break times. He was a unique soul.

      And then their is your Michael, a special son, taken from his father all too soon. I would have enjoyed knowing him. I know what a hole he has left in your heart, and I feel your pain.

      Cheryl was a retired geologist, a wonderful friend and enthusiastic supporter. She passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock to all of us.

      Some time ago, in a post Clare had mentioned a favorite aunt and uncle who had passed away. I gave them a tree, as they were dear to her. Clare feels like a sister whom I have never met.

      The trees all have a barricade of netting around them. Male deer still shedding velvet from their antlers like brushy type trees and shrubs to help scrape the velvet off their antlers, and have wreaked havoc around here over the years. I am lucky I barricaded the new tree the first night (see the poles in the photo, I put deer netting around them afterward). Deer attacked new rhododendrons up front, tell-tale broken branches damage, and hoofprints as evidence. Deer – love them and curse them! πŸ™‚

      1. I thank you so much for giving us the description of each tree and what they represent, Lavinia. I can personally feel the pain for each loss.

  6. Perhaps one of the robins will lay eggs, thus eliminating the need to look Ron/Ronette under the tail to determine gender.
    Who was dozing or grazing, you or the pony, Derrick? Just wondering…
    Resemblance to Durga is uncanny, even without a tiger.

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