A Negative Tattoo

The day dawned dull yet dry; the air cool and cheerless. Nevertheless

Compassion rose, its neighbouring geranium palmatum; rose Penny Lane and her accompanying clematis Dr Ruppel flourished well enough as I made my way into the garden to gather up clippings from the Head Gardener’s morning graft.

After lunch I carried out an extensive but by no means exhaustive dead-heading exercise in the Rose Garden.

Absolutely Fabulous, For Your Eyes Only, CrΓ©me de la crΓ©me, Laura Ford, Festive Jewel, a pink rambler, and Aloha are among those that received attention.

A little later we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought another wooden bench. This was the last one in the store. It was the display item. As it was already at a reduced price there was no discount, but there was a bonus. Because it was on display we did not have to assemble it ourselves and it will be delivered tomorrow because we couldn’t fit it this form into the Modus. In football parlance this was a result.

Afterwards we continued into the forest where

beside the tidal lake at Beaulieu, a swan family were taking their cygnets for an outing, and

a human family were feeding the ducks.

Outside the Abbey two pregnant donkeys dozed and one dined on hedgerow while her son grazed for his own dinner.

Outside The Oak Inn at Bank ponies gathered on the green

and wandered in the woodland.

One in particular bore a negative tattoo of an intriguing mud pattern.

This evening we very much enjoyed an Indian Takeaway meal from Red Chilli, a new outlet in Old Milton. My main course was probably the best King Prawn Naga I have ever tasted; Jackie’s chicken biriani was equally good. My special rice was very good, and we also liked the sag poneer. There was so much that we have enough left over for tomorrow, including the plain paratha which we didn’t even unwrap. The whole meal passed what we call the poppadom test – if they are good, the rest will be. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the CEO.


  1. I was curious about the negative tattoo too! The dinner sounds delicious, and many beautiful photos as always, Derrick! ???

    1. Thank you very much, AnneMarie. When trying to follow you my e-mail address has been rejected – this is not unusual with blogs not using WordPress

      1. I do not understand what it is about your email address. I do not know of anyone else with that issue and I certainly have not blocked you. I will try to contact WordPress to see if they have any ideas. Sorry!

  2. High praise indeed for your new takeaway!
    After all this rain, you must have scores of beautiful heads to deadhead from your many roses – a big task, but one well worth doing πŸ™‚

    1. Yes – in an hour yesterday I didn’t even finish the Rose Garden – never mind all the others. It is sunnier today, though. Thank you very much, Emma

    1. They are so scented, indeed, Liz. Because we built it from scratch we were able to select for that. The strongest scent of all is in fact the cordyline Australis – that really does pervade the air. Thanks very much

  3. Despite the clouds, I’m sure you were able to get out, and I’m happy to see your beautiful photos. I love seeing all the animals, as well as your garden. ?
    We may get Indian food this weekend, but you have me craving it now.

  4. Your blog is the only place I see ponies and donkeys outside of a pasture or barn. There’s something enchanting about ponies in the woodland, as if they might become unicorns. We do have Canadian geese families crossing sometimes busy streets near retention ponds and making me worry about their safety.

  5. My brain must be wired differently to others because I knew exactly what the negative tattoo was as soon as I saw your featured image. And what a great selection of photographs.

    I’m sorry to gloat but we’ve just had the most gloriously hot sunny day. ?

  6. How calming it is on a sleepless night to wander through your lovely garden and out to see donkeys, ponies and swans. All these scenes look so peaceful.

  7. The exotic roses are in their youth. I can almost imagine their sweet smell, intoxicating to the sensory organs. The photographs of the Swan family, the donkeys and ponies are very fetching. I particularly love how in one of the pictures the pony completes a symmetry with the white cars parked in the distance.

    The population of benches is set to grow in your garden. I wonder where the new entrant is going to be installed?

    1. Thanks very much, Uma. I’m pleased you spotted the white cars. The new bench will be photographed in situ – whether it fits where we want it, or we have to rearrange the furniture πŸ™‚

  8. I’m glad the bench does not require assembly — you will be able to put it into action without injury or stress! The swan family is wonderful — I’ve never seen swans in the wild here, although in other parts of the country they are abundant. Love the negatively tattooed pony!

  9. another lovely treat of beautiful photos, Derrick. your roses are gorgeous and the four-legged animals are delightful! thank you πŸ™‚

  10. The negative tattoo is cool!
    Love the spectacular swan family!
    And you know I love the delightful donkeys! I always get all smiley when they make an appearance in your photos!
    How cool on the way you got the new bench! It will be a wonderful addition to your garden! Always nice to have such lovely seating to enjoy the view!
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  11. I enjoyed the flowers, especially the yellow roses, Derrick and Jackie! The forest drive with it ponies and donkeys are always a favorite. The mud pattern is intriguing. The swan and cygnets are precious!

  12. I thank you for the black and whites, Derrick. The ‘negative tattoo’ especially benefits from this treatment. I also thank you for the abundance of splendid roses.

  13. Ah! The poppadom test! I think I would agree with you there. How good to find another good take-away restaurant! At last we have had a day of sun after a week of cold and gloom and rain. I hope you warm up soon.

    1. Thanks very much, Clare. The popadoms were once so bad – limp as if they were left over from lunch – that I sent them back. The replacements and the rest of the meal were excellent – so it isn’t foolproof πŸ™‚

  14. Beautiful photos, especially of your roses! I must show your horse pictures to my granddaughter who’s coming on Saturday, she is absolutely made about horses,

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