The Prime Suspect

Jackie spent much of the morning watering the garden and tying up roses. After lunch I joined her and dead-headed roses and Welsh poppies while she continued.

When the heat drove us in for a rest, the Head Gardener watched Gardeners’ World and I scanned another 21 pages from

H.E. Bates’s “Down The River” illustrated by Agnes Miller Parker.

Later I took a few photographs and joined in a another watering session.

Here are a few images from upstairs, featuring the blooms of the Cordyline Australis; the eucalyptus; the yellow Bottle Brush plant; and the red Chilean lantern tree receiving attention from Jackie.

Even this last mentioned small tree was wilting in the heat. The two-toned pink peony can be glimpsed just above left of centre in the first image.

For several days now Jackie has discovered pure white eggs, of a size too large to have been laid by our garden birds, either secreted among the flowers beds or lying on the lawn. Yesterday evening she noticed one on the grass bearing a small hole through which she discerned yellow yolk and clear viscous albumen. She left it intact.

This morning this is what it looked like. Our neighbours on the corner beside the pub keep ducks. Clearly someone is nicking their eggs, depositing them in our garden, and enjoying a meal later. To our mind the prime suspect must be a fox, but we haven’t seen one. Maybe Russell Crow.

Certainly not this tiny mouse that Jackie watched feeding on borage seeds.

Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away opened up again today. That fare, is therefore what we ate for dinner. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and drank more of the Carles.


  1. Oh dear! Shame about the duck eggs. ๐Ÿ˜” I cannot believe how hot and sunny it is in the UK, youโ€™ll be wanting some rain!

    1. Itโ€™s finally raining today. First rain weโ€™ve had in six weeks! Our fields are actually browning. Insane.

  2. Another lovely day – turning cooler tomorrow?
    I watched Titchmarsh showing how to grow vegetables in small spaces which was interesting but the suggestions were ludicrously expensive. Much cheaper to go to the Farm Shop nearby.

    No problems with your site now I have this laptop up and running

    1. That is good to hear about your laptop, Andrew. We don’t think it’s worth growing our own veg, too. It is cooler this morning – light rain falling at the moment. Look at us – two Brits talking about the weather ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks very much.

    2. Apart from the start up costs (building it), growing veg from seed is by my calculations cheaper than buying farm shop produce. Just my opinion.

      Iโ€™ve found the first few months of growing produce in our first ever veg patch therapeutic, exhilarating and above all else, delicious.

      1. I agree but you don’t need fancy boxes and containers. A spare patch of land in the garden works just as well.
        Choosing crops well is important. It is the savings that can be achieved in lettuce leaves that astounds me.

      2. I’m sure that was so. I have grown veg in the past, but now there are only two of us and we are surrounded by good farm shops it wouldn’t be beneficial for us – and would take up flower space ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Fair enough. My wife is into flowers, and veg is my domain – thankfully we have the space to entertain us both.

  3. Whatever animal it is that’s transporting the eggs, it has what my father would have called a soft mouth in order to carry them any distance for eating elsewhere. I wonder if your badger would eat eggs. No clue.

  4. The garden is looking lovely. It’s lovely to have the warm weather but the grass here is desperate for rain. We haven’t any animals up here yet because the grass isn’t growing!.

    What a mystery about your egg thief. Oh I’m delighted the Chinese takeaway has reopened.

  5. I think I may be in love with Peonies, I keep seeing them. Do you know how long they take to grow if planted young?

    Sorry about the egg… let’s hope it was an unfertilised one.

    That book looks lovely, is it one you’ve had a long time?

    1. Thanks very much, Val. I’ve had the book, and its companion which I will eventually feature, for about 40 years. Peonies will take two or three years to flower. I hope you are well.

      1. Thanks, Derrick. I think I may try to get a copy of the book as a present for someone I know. ๐Ÿ™‚ And maybe a peony for me… I’m okay thanks, I hope you are, too.

    1. Jackie, at this time of the year, about 8 hours. We both did that for the first two or three years. For a couple of years my knee surgery kept me out of it. Now I spend 2 or 3; and we have Aaron for 3 hours on Sunday mornings. Thanks a lot, Bridget.

  6. The book is well-illustrated, and your gardens look beautiful! It will be interesting if you ever catch the egg thief. For something the size of a duck egg, my guess would also be fox.

  7. I was relieved to learn the eggs were too large to be from your garden birds. I enjoyed the illustrations and the mouse photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Your eggs remind me of the inexperienced herons and such that don’t quite have that nesting thing figured out. Every now and then I’ll find mallard eggs on a boat, or a heron or egret egg just plopped in the middle of a dock. Motherhood can be confusing!

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks very much, Linda. A pair of swans in the village of Emsworth, about an hour’s drive away, build their nest of litter every year – under the road bridge in the middle of a stream.

  9. Thanks for the fascinating journey Down the River. As for the kidnapping and assassination of eggs, I am not sure Mr Dormouse is up to it.

  10. Eggshells, suspects, a silent garden, mystery. An excellent opportunity to put your Sherlock Holmes side in play.

  11. I have two theories. Professor Plum in the dining room with the candlestick (less probable) or Mr. Fix in the field with its teeth.

      1. Just had another suspect come to mind after watching a magpie try to get into the moorhen nest on our pond this weekend. Could it be a magpie?

  12. YAY for the rain! All of the trees, plants, garden-dwellers and Human-Beans rejoice! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you get some more good-rain soon!

    Ooh ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and OH ๐Ÿ™ on the mystery of the eggs. I hope the culprit is NOT Mr. Russell Crow! He seems like such a nice fellow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I hope you catch the culprit in the act and can take his mugshot! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Love the illustrations in the book! And the writing…wonderful! What vivid descriptions that get the imagination stirred and the emotions ignited! (No offense to authors today…but many of the authors of yesteryear wrote with more intelligence, had a better grasps of language, a better ability to use words and tell stories, etc. )

    HUGS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. It’s a shame the ducks won’t be allowed to hatch, but I suppose that’s Nature, eh? The empty eggshells though will be a good supply of calcium, especially if Jackie has any vegetables in the garden.

  14. Nice to hear your fave Chinese restaurant is opening up again. We try supporting our nearby favorites, too. They have been open for takeout only, and – I hope – are at least hobbling along until they can open fully again. This pandemic is so hard on small businesses, but then again, I want them to stay safe, too. Take-out works well for us. Your garden is looking smashing – so sorry about the heatwave and incessant watering. My Chilean lanterns are almost done, but they looked fabulous for quite a while. Love that plant! Best of luck in solving the odd egg-thief mystery!

  15. It’s a shame about the eggs, and the lack of rain. I imagine it’s quite a job keeping your beautiful garden well hydrated. I like the garden shots, especially the one from above.
    I’m sure you’re happy to have Mr. Chan’s open again.

    1. When we came here there was stagnant water in an abandoned garden. Consequently we had a lot of mosquitos. That is clear now and the mosquitos are absent. Thanks very much, Steve.

      1. This year, the tiny black hugs drive me nuts in the backyard. They fly around my face, under my sunglasses, in my ears. I think theyโ€™re planning to swarm and carry be away to be their next dinner. All I do is swat. Derrick, your gardens are so peaceful.

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