Down The Back Drive

By e-mail this morning I received from my Australian friend, Gwen Wilson, a copy of a 1939 register of the residents of Shaftesbury Rd, Carshalton. This was the location of the VE Day Street Party featured in my post, “Holly”. I have added it to the post.

Later, Malachi initiated a FaceTime conversation.

Schools in Fremantle are open again. Attendance is voluntary. Other children may continue on line. My grandson had spent the day on virtual classroom worksheets .

This is his effects cartoon of his feelings about it;

and this at the end of the day.

Mal wanted to send some other pictures to my mobile phone. I was forced to explain why I couldn’t access these because I do not use the internet on my phone – this because I am old and can’t manage it. I had to resort to telling him how limited technology was when I was his age. At each stage he registered his amazement with a suitable effect.

Ordinary people did not have telephones, and those who did often had party lines shared with neighbours who could pick up their phones and listen in. We had no telephone throughout my childhood.

We didn’t have a television until I was 15 and that was a small black and white second hand one given to my father.

We didn’t have a car. We could play cricket in the London street because there were no cars there. (I do hope that is a dollop of chocolate, Mal.)

So, you see, I like to keep things simple.

For most of the day the skies darkened; a fierce wind threw garden furniture to the ground and smashed a pot; heavy rain lashed the windows, also battered briefly by sharp hailstones.


During a brief lull I stepped out to gather up North Breeze’s soggy rubbish scattered around our front garden. I got no further than photographing a little of it before hailstones clattered down. Was the litter the badger’s revenge?

Jacki had taken advantage of the precipitation cessation by wandering round the back drive with her camera.

She focussed on the blooming borders

with their healthy hostas,

happy hawthorns

and euphoric euphorbias. (I couldn’t help myself).

White libertia and Erigeron;

lemon antirrhinums;

and pink pelargoniums also thrive there.

The Head Gardener is particularly pleased with how the stumpery on the corner of the Weeping Birch Bed is developing.

Nearby, daffodils continue to bloom.

Just as I was photographing the gravel at the front, Jackie had reached the Star of India clematis beneath the wisteria.. Like me, she was driven inside by the piercing sleet.

This evening we dined on The Culinary Queen’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and tender green beans with which she drank Heineken and I drank Cellier des Dauphines Cotes du Rhone Cuvรฉe Spรฉciale 2016.



      1. The technology available nowadays is amazing compared to that with which I grew up. Costly telephone calls, or hand written letters taking ages to arrive was how I communicated with my relatives.

  1. Gorgeous pictures, Derrick. Sounds like a remarkable conversation with Malachi. I can understand: it must be hard for him to believe that we didn’t have phones and television (and computers etc.) in our homes.

  2. I enjoyed Malachi’s sense of humour in response to your history lesson. And no, that wasn’t a dollop of chocolate ๐Ÿ˜€ With no grandchildren to educate me I have no clue how he does what he does and feel rather like I’m being left behind…… The garden is looking neat and tidy despite Mr Badger. Have you removed all the peanuts now? And I agree, the stumpery is a marvelous thing <3

  3. We used to have a party line in our farm house. You mentioning how people could listen in to conversations reminds me that when one of my brothers was in the navy in Simon’s Town and telephoned my mother, he would let the conversation run for a minute then complain that the reception was becoming so bad it was difficult to hear her. “I think too many people are listening in,” he would say. This would rapidly be followed by the clicks as other users replaced their receivers! Television was introduced in South Africa only in 1976!

  4. I always love kids amazed expressions when one talks about life before mobiles, internet, pc games etc However did we manage?

  5. From the picture, the white flowers on the tree resemble a bush flower here that we call penta. I remember how the back drive used to look – so neat and beautiful now!! Great job!

  6. I am sorry about your awful weather. I am very glad that my granddaughter Matilda has not learned to pepper our conversations with images. I don’t think that I could take it.

    Jackie’s drive pictures were very good. The yellow snapdragons were my favourites today.

  7. What a fun conversation with your grandson–and how wonderful that there is the technology to allow you to converse. We had a phone, car, and TV when I was little, but my mom did not. Her family finally did get a phone because her parents had a little grocery store, so it was really the business phone that they also used.
    The stumpery is quite splendid.
    Sleet sounds awful. It’s very windy here today. My husband told me part of our fence came down. I hope that’s it for damage!

    1. Yes, let’s hope that’s it, Merril.
      Perhaps you were further ahead than post-war UK.
      The sleet was very fleeting – just picked on us when we took the cameras out ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks a lot.

  8. The back drive does indeed look neat and tidy. Oh, I do love your garden.

    In a text I received a picture from one of my five-year-old granddaughters. Her online schooling included making a card with flowers and send it to someone who is lonely. She thought of me, if she can’t visit then I must be lonely. I couldn’t help thinking how much the picture reminded me of a graveyard!

  9. I am sure my grandchildren share your grandson’s feeling about remote classroom teaching and learning, Derrick. Remind me please, how old is Malachi?
    Unfortunately, we are at the epicenter of the epidemics (couldn’t help it) in Florida, so kids are not going to school any time soon. What they will do during the summer with camps closed is a truly frightening perspective.

  10. What a fun conversation with Malachi! And I love his creative replies! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Boy, the world sure has changed in our lifetime! I can’t even imagine, tech-wise, what it will be like for our grandchildren when they are senior adults! They are amazed by the things we didNOT have (like video games, cell phones, etc.,) but I like to share with them all of the outdoor adventures we enjoyed! (like riding our bikes all over town, playing in streams, building forts, rope swings in trees, etc. ) ๐Ÿ™‚

    If that was Brock Badger’s doing, he was busy last night! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Good to see so many owls enjoying the beautiful flowers and plants in your garden! ๐Ÿ™‚

    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. this obsession with adding rabbits ears and cats whiskers to your face is something I just do not get at all. As for a poo emoji for a face… whatever floats your boat

  12. Well played, Derrick and Malachi! I have to agree with Malachi’s worksheet assessment: the reaction applies to worksheets both digital and hard copy. I can’t abide ’em.

  13. So fascinating to explore the perspectives of a new technically evolved generation!
    Make me wonder about cheesecloth bright clothes, chilling out to cool music, growing our hair long and not giving a damn … back in the day.

  14. The stumpery corner looks like a fun place for a picnic, but then there are many lovely dining spots in your garden. Euphoric euphorbias sounds like a lot of fun, too!

  15. This turned out to be a deep post taking me down several levels, down the corridors of times long gone by. All those posts are fascinating and riveting, the missing links in the stories add to the mystery and intrigue, and the feeling of wonderment for the past.

    Those animated expressions from Australia are priceless. I can relate to many of your experiences even if I have clocked lesser years than you, because of the developmental gap in our respective countries. However, I took a blind leap into the ocean of technology on a personal level, educationally though I was never up to the mark. Strangely, I could never relate to the artificial lingua franca of emojis and hackneyed, convoluted phrases.

    1. Thank you very much, Uma. I remember the amazement when, not long after 2000, a friend shown me a photograph sent by e-mail from Australia. Now Malachi can change his appearance while chatting and I can photograph that from here. And, of course, you and I can identify similar experiences – when I was young it took months by boat for Test match teams to reach their opponents.

  16. I was 17 and first day at work before I first picked up a telephone. Now it’s nearly always either in my hand or my pocket… and tempus continues to fugit.

  17. I love these virtual wanderings through your gardens, Derrick and Jackie! The lemon antirrhinums are what I think my mother used to call “Butter and Eggs”. That brought back memories!

    I am sorry you experienced high winds and hail. Hail is something I dread here come this time of year when we are close to planting the garden.

  18. I love your stumpery. Malachi’s face creatures made me laugh but I do hope my sweetheart doesn’t find out how to use them.

  19. I was just going to say, “Tell that to kids today and they won’t believe you” and then saw that someone beat me to it! Nice garden path – a little wider than ours!

  20. Your grandson is quit the character, isn’t he? I loved the pink pelargoniums… thy resemble geraniums, only more delicate, hmm?? Glad you had a good May Day. Sorry about that pot… the weather can be so destructive sometimes.

    1. Thanks very much, Jan. Mal certainly is a character. We used to call all those plants geraniums, but now we have to term the cultivated ones geraniums.

  21. Lovely photography and I enjoyed thoroughly your conversation with your grandson. It reminded me of the conversations I have sometimes with my 15 year old son where he puts these features and other filters during the conversation.

  22. What a lot of rubbish you had to clear up in your front garden! The wind rain and hail were most unpleasant here too.
    The stumpery is looking very good!

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