A Faint Reflection

This morning I converted the above post from Classic to Block edit, changing with the normal gallery. Thinking I would still need to change the galleries, the pictures of which have been disappearing, I checked back to mid-May 2014 and found all was OK.

Feeling somewhat relieved I then continued my forward momentum, converting the four following posts and changing some categories to Garden:

We English were known for obsessing about the weather long before the increasingly extreme, wild, terrifying, global fluctuations of recent decades. Our temperate climate is currently suffering less than many from fire, but torrential flooding is becoming more prevalent across UK.

Today the temperature in our gentler area of the country has plummeted to a good 10 degrees Celsius less than it was a few days ago when we had been hoping for rain denied us for weeks. Gloomy rough-hewn slate blocks the sun, and gusts of a stiff breeze toss flora and foliage every which way.

Even the promised rain couldn’t manage much more than a faint reflection in the patio paving.

That is why I spent the morning as I did and the afternoon making a good start on reading Lawrence Durrell’s “Livia”.

Jackie, however, did manage another two metres of the Brick Path weeding and the planting of an urn that Martin had recovered from behind the garden shed yesterday.

We can no longer watch Cricket Test Matches live on Freeview television, so my custom is to avoid radio coverage and turn off BBC TV news when it comes to sport, so that I remain blissfully ignorant of events until the evening transmission of highlights.

Today is the third day of the second Ashes match between England and Australia, so I won’t know until after dinner what happened yesterday once our middle order lashing lemmings launched themselves over the alluring antipodean cliff to squander the optimistic morning. As usual I will refrain from telling you for fear of spoiling your own deferred gratification.

This evening we all dined on a medley of tasty sausages and creamy mash; firm carrots and Brussels sprouts, and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Lock Keeper’s reserve Shiraz 2022.

A T-Junction

While I carried out a deal of dead heading this morning,

Jackie and Martin continued path clearance, coming together at

the T junction formed by Jackie’s Brick and Martin’s Phantom Paths.

This afternoon I finished reading ‘Monsieur’ by Laurence Durrell, and posted https://derrickjknight.com/2023/06/29/monsieur/

This evening we all dined on tasty roast duck; crisp Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes, some crisp, some soft and sweet; crunchy carrots, and firm broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the chianti.

Categorised as Garden


Although I wasn’t totally enamoured with Laurence Durrell’s novel Justine, https://derrickjknight.com/2023/05/12/justine/ I was so entranced by his splendidly fluid prose as to turn to the quincunx beginning with

This gave me a better understanding of the notebook quality of the first of the Alexandria quartet.

In one sense Durrell is using his writer characters to take us through the process of working on a novel – this one. We are shown how jotted ideas develop into a final work; and how the characters take their own control of the narrative. I now understand that this is a piece of metafiction: “a form of fiction that emphasises its own narrative structure in a way that continually reminds the audience that they are reading or viewing a fictional work. Metafiction is self-conscious about language, literary form, and story-telling, and works of metafiction directly or indirectly draw attention to their status as artifacts.[1]Metafiction is frequently used as a form of parody or a tool to undermine literary conventions and explore the relationship between literature and reality, life, and art.[2]” (Wikipedia)

Once again the author sets his work in Mediterranean countries – essentially in Avignon. His themes include their history and the very structure and nature of the lands themselves. Conventional boundaries between sexual relationships are eschewed – triangular relationships including those of homosexual and bisexual nature are consistent undercurrents, reflecting the Gnostic triangle of two men and one woman, in the case of the main protagonists also involving incest. His exploration of the mythical sects, and in particular the downfall of the Knights Templar are engaging. Perhaps it is the writer’s fascination with gnosticism that evoked the theme of suicide or arranged time of death.

We never do quite know for certain which characters are real. The final section is both revealing and enigmatic.

The fluid prose remains sublime. Durrell’s apparently easily constructed elegant sentences, none of which displays corpulence, contain copious descriptive adjectives and adverbs, always enhancing his meaning.

My 1974 first edition bears the bookplate of John Retallack.

I had lined up ‘Doctor Zhivago’ for my next read. Pasternak will have to wait for my next Avignon read.

Light Recovery

This morning I converted the following post from Classic to Block edit:

I then planned to work my way back through the posts from 15th June 2014 to the beginning of that month. I only made it to 10th before encountering a really nightmarish problem. I found that, some years apart, I had used the title Let There Be Light twice. The text, with no pictures, of the second had replaced the whole content of the first.

The pictures for the second were all missing. Fortunately they were in my Mac Photos, but had to be inserted and titled separately. This has now been given an additional 2 to its title:

The entire post of the first had to be recovered by cutting and posting from Wayback Machine before creating new galleries:

I also gave it the new category of Garden.

This afternoon I read more of Laurence Durrell’s “Monsieur”

We all dined this evening on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli and cauliflower, and chopped leaves of the latter, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Chianti.

Left To The Reader’s Imagination

After shopping at Tesco Jackie and I took a short forest drive.

It was not our normal equine herd that came steadily clopping along the tarmac, some swifter-thudding to catch up on the verge of the otherwise silent St Leonard’s Road beneath the late morning pearl-grey empyrean pall draped overhead.

This was a longer string and, like the taxi driver edging past, clearly on a mission. Soon after the bend ahead of the cab a quintuple convoy of cars approached from the opposite direction. I was tempted once more to disembark to see what the drivers would make of what lay ahead of them – not that much, though – I thought I would leave it to the reader’s imagination.

Dillon and Flo spent another lengthy time weeding and pruning in the garden this afternoon.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots ; and firm broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank San Vincente Reserva Chianti 2019.

Somewhat Scary

While we enjoyed ourselves shaded from the searing heat yesterday afternoon, Flo, Dillon and Ellie engaged in an impressive gardening

stint, clearing the overgrown raised bed at the bottom of the Back

Drive, much of which our grandson-in-law cleared of weeds, before

going on to the Heligan Path.

My efforts this morning concentrated on the front garden trellis, the roses of which I pruned with long loppers,

revealing solanum and honeysuckle;

then thinned out the Oxeye daisies alongside the hydrangea and Félicité Perpétue obscuring Jackie’s view when driving out onto Christchurch Road; and finally

the clematis Montana obscuring Laraine and David’s exit from next door. Often exceeding the 40 m.p.h. speed limit, vehicles of all shapes and sizes do not slow down when passing me at work. It is somewhat scary.

Jackie continued planting pots.

Later, I converted the gallery in https://derrickjknight.com/2022/09/10/broadlands-breakdown-burger-bar/ from Tiled to ordinary in order to recover the pictures.

This evening we all dined at The Smugglers Inn, Milford on Sea. As usual, the food was plentiful, perfectly cooked, and of excellent quality; the staff were welcoming, friendly, and efficient; even shortly after 6 p.m. the spacious establishment was fully occupied, although we were given a table presumably reserved for later, and a high chair was rapidly provided for Ellie, who readily engaged with staff and customers.

Jackie enjoyed her crisp fish, chips, and garden peas; Dillon and I our tender, lean, steak and mushroom pies;

Flo and Ellie shared massive, meaty, spare ribs.

From the dessert menu Dillon selected splendid spotted dick and vanilla ice cream; Flo a flavoursome toffee waffle, also with ice cream; and I a traditional merangue, cream, and strawberry Eton mess. Ellie appreciated her shares of all our puds.

Deep Water

Working backwards this morning to 16th I converted another batch of Galleries in June 2014 posts.

This afternoon we joined Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron at 22 Avon Avenue, Avon Court, where we viewed their splendid garden open for the National Gardens Scheme.

Water was the dominant theme here, as paths with well stocked

borders encircled a central man-made lake, lined with bags of cement which set as the water was added.

On this very hot day the many visitors welcomed the shade offered by the numerous trees.

Dragonflies darted, azaleas and arum lilies abounded; a locked door added Tardis-like mystery.

While I stood pondering whether I dared try my balance on stepping stones across deep water

a gentleman keeping upright with the aid of two sticks ventured across.

It was then that Dan came to my aid.

I had been enjoying conversation with him and his mother including speculation about whether we both had Viking ancestry, when he suggested going across ahead of me with my hands resting on his shoulders. This is what we did. His sister then joined us.

She had photographed this activity from the other side of the lake and Danny, later, sent them to me by Facebook Messenger.

I also photographed Bill.

After this visit we all repaired to Helen and Bill’s home at Fordingbridge, where Jackie’s sister provided an excellent repast of cold meats, boiled potatoes, coleslaw, and fresh salad with flavoursome bread she had made from a recipe book provided by Shelly who made a superb trifle topped with strawberries. Beers and red wine were quaffed.

Weekend Pursuits

After buying three more large bags of compost from Ferndene Farm Shop we drove north to Hockey’s Farm Café for brunch.

Beckley Common Road was just one of the many dappled lanes we traversed.

On this hot and sultry day the staff of Hockey’s Café – all seven rushed off their feet – remained their usual friendly and welcoming selves. Apparently they had been non-stop all morning, which is how they like it.

It is a family run concern also provide animal feed and other such stores and operate a shop selling home produced and other naturally grown provisions, which may be consumed in their plentiful meals on comfortable seating. During the winter blankets are draped over each chair should extra warmth be required – not that there was any call for that today. An aviary of exotic caged birds; specialist chickens, geese, donkeys, ponies, alpacas, and even two wild boars discovered in the forest, all entertain visitors, young and old alike.

Having lunched here for a number of years we have each settled on

firm favourite meals, Jackie’s being called ‘Laura’s Favourite’; mine ‘The Hungry One’ – to which toast had not yet been added when I photographed them. The quality of the ingredients is apparent. Jackie’s choice of cheese in the thick wedge of toast was Blue Vinny; given a choice of salad or chips, as is customary, she chose the fresh salad. I drank tea, while my wife drank latte coffee. The delicate, elegant, cup and saucer add to the homely cottage ambience. It is very good value for money, although the various extra items like hessian bags, pictures, and teapots tend to be priced for the tourist market – but we are no longer simply visiting the area.

Apart from the restrictions during Covid lockdowns the quality of Hockey’s food has remained consistently nourishing, well cooked and presented to an expected consistency over the years. It wasn’t that much of a hardship to receive breakfast in a bun wrapped in a paper bag with disposable cutlery to eat alfresco on tables at a social distance. That they kept going is to their credit.

A cricket match at Hyde provided six Spot the Ball competitions. The gallery enlargements are helpful. Entrants earn a bonus point for the first.

The first five pictures of these donkeys and foals outside the Fighting Cocks pub are mine; the next six, Jackie’s.

A young girl thoroughly enjoyed photographing and stroking a sleepy donkey foal under the gaze of its proud mother and was delighted to be photographed doing so.

On the opposite side of Roger Penny Way several ponies grazed with their foals. It is fascinating how the mothers, when latched onto by their offspring remain negligently necking their own nutriment.

A heavy horse towing a trap raised other photographers’ interest.

As I made my way back to our car I noticed what appeared to be a Classic Jaguar convention beside the Modus.

Jackie was close enough to produce more pictures and to hear the discussions featuring how and where each owner sourced vital bits and pieces.

Our last foal of the day was being taught the game of disrupting the traffic on Tiptoe Road.

This evening we all dined on spring rolls; tempura, salt and pepper, and hot and spicy prawn preparations on a bed of Jackie’s tasty vegetable rice with which she finished the Bangla and I finished the Appassimento.

All Hands On Deck

Soothed by today’s gentler avian chorus, Jackie, Martin, and I all worked in the garden this morning.

The Head Gardener freed a couple more metres of the bricks on the eponymous path of their green packing, leaving a few more for future treatment.

After loading the rest of the refuse on the Back Drive into his van to remove when he left, Martin completed his meticulous weeding of Fiveways and the Shady Path;

then opened up the completely overgrown Head Gardener’s Walk for wobbly legs, enabling me to reach more spent roses from The Generous Gardener, in addition to which I did the same for Arthur Bell

and New Dawn;

then snipped secateurs, strapped straying stems in the Rose Garden, extracted weeds, and transported trugs of further refuse to add to Martin’s van load.

Later, working backwards from 6th July to 28th June 2014 I changed pictures to the normal Gallery, thus recovering them to the posts, which results in cropping of some images on each post which can nevertheless be viewed in full in the galleries. This is more annoying than excessively time consuming.

This evening we all dined on beef and chicken burgers, fried onions, and fresh salad with which I drank more of the Appassimento and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

War Cry Or Serenade?

Accompanied by a shrill avian chorus that, apart from the occasional baleful wood pigeon, could have done with a bass tenor from Langholm, our division of labour in the garden this morning continued apace. It hadn’t been good idea for me to wear a sun-absorbing black T-shirt.

Perched in the Weeping Birch high above the eponymous flower bed

a pair of chaffinches kept up an incessant two note whistle lending a discordant jarring to the harmony. Was this a war cry or a serenade, I wondered?

To the left of Jackie, who was continuing her work on the Brick Path,

an owl roosted on a branched stand sporting a clematis fascinator in readiness for

Wedding Day festooning the Agriframes Arch with a certain amount of Compassion shown.

Another clematis adorns the Palm Bed, while two more owls are draped in ferns in the Pond Bed,

which also contains blue lobelia, pastel petunias, and rose campion.

Golden Day lilies star in the Dragon Bed.

Roses are represented by the red climber ascending the opposite side of the lopped cypress to The Generous Gardener; lofty Altissimo; and Rosa Gallica, being entered by a working bee.

This evening we dined on spicy lemon piri-piri chicken and various rices with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Selone Puglia Rosso Appassimento 2021.