On this hot, humid, and overcast morning our friend Giles visited for a tour of the garden he had not been able to enter since before the lockdown.
We enjoyed a pleasant catching up, continued over coffee inside.
This afternoon, after filling up with petrol, Jackie drove me to the north of the forest.
The ponies again gathered on Ringwood Road outside Burley, but largely stuck to the verges where they nibbled hedges and left deposits in driveways.
I disembarked at the Smugglers Road car park and climbed a well-trodden pony trail
so dry that it had partially turned to sand.
Various similar tracks wound across the arid moorland hillsides among the banks of purpling heather.
We drove along the lanes around Linwood where woodsmoke filled the air;
and along the cup de sac to Highwood where I aroused the curiosity of a pair of heavy field horses.
Just outside Ibsley a splendid oak stretched wide its arms.
This evening we dined on lean, slow roasted, brisket of beef; roast garlic potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender sweetheart cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.
This morning my gardening occupations combined dead heading and making photographs.
These roses Summer Wine and Altissimo, both coming again, were too high for me to reach with hand secateurs, and I couldn’t be bothered to fetch the steps.
Bigifying will probably be necessary to appreciate these bees on bidens, on Japanese anemones, and coming to land on crocosmia. Just click on any image to access the gallery and enlarge further with clicks on the ‘view full size’ box underneath and again if required. The bees swarming the Japanese anemones must be welcoming the plants’ early blooming.
Crocosmia blend well with other plants such as these bell-like alliums and the Japanese maple with its fingers singed by recent violent winds.
From beside this latter crocosmia I was able, through the maple, to view the petunias and pelargoniums featured alongside the kitchen wall.
We haven’t identified all the clematises in the garden. The first of this triptych above, for example, is a Lidl unnamed purchase; we do know that it is Niobe who shares the arch with the fuchsia, Chequerboard; the Head Gardener was determined to track down ‘clematis viticella purpurea plena elegans’, which took her some time, because when we arrived seven years ago this then weakly specimen was ailing in the rubble jungle that we eventually turned into the Rose Garden – it was fostered out in another bed until we returned it to its native soil, and has taken three years to reach the top of its supporting beam.
One of these yellow evening primrose blooms has survived the night well; this phantom hydrangea is also a survivor – it is the plant after which the eponymous path is named – first planted on one side of the Phantom Path it was really rather poorly for its first two years, until Aaron moved it into Margery’s Bed where it has enjoyed more light. We hope it will soon be in the shape in which we bought it.
Hemerocallis still thrive and we also have stargazer lilies in the main garden.
Four hours later, in mid afternoon I set out once more with my camera, giving me shifted lighting conditions.
A bee did its best to weigh down a verbena bonariensis.
Niobe could now sunbathe, and the clematis at the barrier between the garden and the back drive enjoyed light and shade;
the freckled lilies kept out of the direct sunlight;
sweet peas and hollyhocks could take it stronger.
My lens found the white flowers the best beneficiaries: sweet scented petunias, powerfully aromatic phlox, a clutch of dahlias, different Japanese anemones and the phantom hydrangea sheltered in shade this morning.
This evening we dined on prawn fish cakes, peas, and fresh crispy bread and butter with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles from a second bottle.
As I sit at my computer early in the morning reading regular WP posts, I am treated to
the gently swaying delights of Stargazer lilies and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the front garden.
Unidentified lilies graced the dragon bed where,
observed by a basking ladybird,
I dug holes for two more roses set to climb the Head Gardener’s recently purchased arch. Hopefully they will soon rival the runner beans in the Palm Bed.
A trip to the compost bins revealed dahlias and a fuchsia blending nicely in the New Bed alongside what I think is a Meadow Brown butterfly drinking from a verbena bonariensis.
This afternoon we drove to Bisterne Close to deliver the print made yesterday and enjoyed a conversation with Jan and Steve.
Afterwards we turned into Forest Road where
this pony produced a natural silhouette.
Passing sunlit bracken by the roadside,
I followed a pair of grey ponies into
the more major Ringwood Road where they joined a group of cousins in exercising their right over the traffic leaving and entering Burley.
This evening we dined on tasty baked gammon; crisp roast potatoes; cheesy macaroni pie; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.
This afternoon I printed a photograph from https://derrickjknight.com/2019/04/17/the-first-foal/ for which I had been asked. The rider’s daughter had identified her from the blog post and it was very pleasing to receive the request.
Later we drove into the forest via
Outside Pilley Community Shop
a loose string of ponies, totally unaware of Social Distancing, formed a disorderly queue outside the Pilley Community Shop, which wasn’t even open. Most drivers were content to wait patiently or to weave their way through the obstacles. One, surely inviting a kicking, shoved the animals with his small van and took the direct route. A man and a woman, from different directions, advanced on foot, clapping. This clearly amused one grey which, at the risk of losing its false teeth, emitted a good laugh in appreciation of the applause. As always, click on any image to access the gallery, each member of which may be bigified.
This evening we dined on baked gammon; penne cheese; a perfectly presented peppers, mushrooms, onions and leeks melange; somewhat elderly broccoli, and tender youthful runner beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carles Priorat 2016
The wind and rain returned with a vengeance today and beset us until late afternoon.
Knowing what we were in for last night we lay down the patio chairs and furled the three garden parasols.
During a slight lull in the deluge I photographed raindrops on agapanthus, sweet peas, gladiolus, pelargoniums, fuchsia Garden News, dahlias, hostas, lilies, begonia, rose Festive Jewel. As usual each of these is individually named in its gallery which can be accessed by clicking on any one. Each can be viewed full size by clicking the box beneath it and further bigified with another click.
I was born 7 weeks premature in Leicester General Hospital in 1942, which must surely mean that I am lucky to be here. That is the same length of time that these Japanese anemones have sprung early into life.
We have four little toy ladybirds whose wings swivel in the wind. The top one of this pair among the Erigeron, pelargoniums, and fuchsias outside the kitchen door has reached the end of its clockwise rotation after which it turns anticlockwise; its companion has just begun.
The sidalcea in the Oval Bed simply bowed before the blustery blasts.
This lily in the West Bed was protected by a shrubbery canopy.
An iron urn at the entrance to the Gazebo and Brick Paths, and a chimney pot on the lawn are two planters benefiting from the recent rain.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Pinot Noir.
Yesterday’s rain had desisted and sun was permitted the occasional appearance when we took a drive into the forest this afternoon.
A pony and foal had peeled off a group on Wootton Common alongside Holmsley Road. They held up the traffic on the opposite verge, until the mare abandoned the youngster who took some time to realise it had been left alone. Meanwhile the others were making their way through the shrubbery. Junior then trotted delicately back across the road and trailed after the others.
More ponies grazed among the forest trees along Rhinefield Road;
others set up barriers along the Linwood Road which is so narrow that it has designated passing places cut into the moorland.
We passed through Appleslade where walkers could be seen atop a hillside.
It was four and a half years ago, as featured in https://derrickjknight.com/2016/01/14/rockford-common/ that Becky had led me up the side of Rockford Sandpit.
The dead tree I had photographed on that occasion was still standing.
Today a group of children were engaged in what one is expected to do in a sandpit.
A small family were making the descent.
I determined to take the more sensible route up a winding, more gently sloping, solid path. It was easy enough to steer clear of the other climbers.
I photographed just one of the ponies at the top of Rockford Common, the distant landscape, the purple heather, and the browning bracken, before returning by the same route. This had been the toughest test of my new knees yet.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.
Welcome rain descended all day in an ever-increasing crescendo.
Undeterred, my Chauffeuse drove us into the forest as rain battered the Modus and spattered the windscreen, across which the panic stricken wipers raced to and fro.
In the dingy early afternoon of this cold summer’s day motorists splashed through puddle-wet streets reflecting headlight beams. The occasional dog walker suffered for his pet.
On one side of a narrow lane off Burley Road invasive balsam did its best to choke a replenishing stream; native teasels stood proud on the other;
around the corner a quizzical sheltering cow clearly wondered what we were doing there.
In the grounds of the Alice Lisle pub at Rockford Green a fine chestnut pony carrying out its lawn mowing contract seemed to be availing itself of a Driza-Bone equestrian coat to keep off the rain.
Last week Ditchend Brook, crossing the Blissford Road ford at Frogham, was virtually dry. Today, raindrops bouncing off its rising surface, the stream was on the move again. This was the only point at which I emerged from the car on this trip; when the raindrops had finished ricocheting off me I probably smelt like a wet dog.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious shepherd’s pie crunchy carrots, and tender green beans and cabbage with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019.
During a heavily overcast yet warm morning I took a walk around the garden with my camera.
At the front of the house I photographed just one example of our fuchsia Delta’s Sarah and pink pelargoniums; a severally-hued hydrangea alongside white marguerites with yellow buttery centres; and the first of three rich red lily plants to bloom.
Another Delta’s Sarah is found among pink sweet peas and verbena bonariensis in the Weeping Birch Bed
which can be approached via stepping stones across the Cryptomeria Bed which is named from
the tree seen behind the standing lamp to the right of top centre in this picture of the Gazebo Path.
The white rose, Winchester Cathedral, and the peachy Lady Emma Hamilton are enjoying further flushes in the Rose Garden.
The blue and white petunias in the Ali Baba planter are beginning their descent which will have them cascading like those in this container accompanied by sweet peas, hot lips, and lobelias.
Just before mid-day we drove through a busy Highcliffe intending to brunch at The Beach House café on Friars Cliff. Both the car park and the beach were so crowded that we turned back and lunched at home.
I spent the afternoon finishing reading ‘Love in the time of Cholera’ by Colombian Nobel prizewinner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is the entry from brittania.com written by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria:
Gabriel García Márquez, (born March 6, 1927, Aracataca, Colombia—died April 17, 2014, Mexico City, Mexico), Colombian novelist and one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, mostly for his masterpiece Cien años de soledad (1967; One Hundred Years of Solitude). He was the fourth Latin American to be so honoured, having been preceded by Chilean poets Gabriela Mistral in 1945 and Pablo Neruda in 1971 and by Guatemalan novelist Miguel Ángel Asturias in 1967. With Jorge Luis Borges, García Márquez is the best-known Latin American writer in history. In addition to his masterly approach to the novel, he was a superb crafter of short stories and an accomplished journalist. In both his shorter and longer fictions, García Márquez achieved the rare feat of being accessible to the common reader while satisfying the most demanding of sophisticated critics.
It must be 30 years since I first read this marvellous novel, and now, I hope, have done so with far greater understanding.
I do not know Spanish, but I am quite certain that Edith Grossman’s translation has contributed greatly to the fluidity of Jonathan Cape’s 1988 edition. The author is clearly a master of the long, eloquent, sentence and it must have taken great skill to convey this.
The book is filled with wisdom, insight, and humour, penned in flowing, natural language. Its theme is a lifetime of loves described in emotional and physical detail with all the accompanying passion, anxiety, intrigue, anguish, guilt, jealousies – you name the feelings – they are there.
What, wondered this reader in the midst of the 2020 pandemic, has cholera to do with the story, which is well told? After all the disease barely merits a mention until the penny drops; I will refrain from telling you when.
This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, peas, gherkins, and pickled onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.
On another hot and humid sunny day we took an early drive into the forest.
Ponies and their foals clustered together in the lowest dip of Holmsley Passage, perhaps in hopes of evading the gathering flies.
I disembarked along Bisterne Close and wandered into the dappled woodland, now devoid of ponies which could normally be expected to enhance these views; it then occurred to me that the animals on these Sultry Days are mostly seen to be gathering near possible sources of water.
This was confirmed at the corner of Forest Road where these fly-pestered ponies sheltered from the heat beside
the shallow dregs of a normally fast flowing stream.
We turned off Beechwood Lane into Church Road,
where Jackie experienced the acute pangs of owl envy when she had to bear the sight of a large carved example on someone else’s dead tree. Briefly she speculated about whether Aaron could be asked to wield his chainsaw to emulate this artwork on our recently lopped cypress.
A rowan tree here was just one of many producing very early berries.
Further verification of my horses to water theory was provided on our way back through Holmsley Passage. The first group of ponies had been within whinnying distance of the stream in which another, apparently knackered, string were slaking their thirst. This shot had to be taken through the windscreen because we had a car behind us.
With or without bigification readers will see no pony pictures lacking flies today.
This evening we dined on a second sitting of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away dishes, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.