Mind The Sheep

This afternoon we drove Flo to her parents’ flat at Southbourne where she is to spend a few days.

On our return we drove up Roger Penny Way from Cadnam roundabout and back home via North Gorley.

Brook Cottage, standing beside the Green Dragon pub on Roger Penny Way, is of a standard New Forest Design.

I forget the name of the thatched cottage across the road that has a team of what I think are horned sheep (maybe Wiltshire breed)

keeping the grass down.

Three of these nonchalantly test the drivers of vehicles coming round the bend.

Further along the road towards Godshill ponies and foals graze the verges. Opposite these a crow is reflected in a still pond.

I stepped out at Ashley Walk car park to remind myself of my having strode over these moors not so very long ago.

Donkeys at Godshill Cricket ground are busy shedding their winter coats, possibly because they have heard we are due a heat wave next week.

This evening we snacked on scrambled egg on toast. I’m still trying to get over Monday’s ultimate mixed grill.

More Sport And Dead-Heading

This morning I watched recorded highlights of the fourth day’s play in the Test match between England and India, and after lunch made a good start on dead-heading the second Félicité Perpétue rose, which regular readers will

recognise from an earlier picture on the Back Drive.

Later this afternoon I published https://derrickjknight.com/2022/07/05/a-knights-tale-144-the-bastides/

Early this evening I watched the last two sets of the Wimbledon tennis match between Cameron Norrie and David Goffin, followed by the highlights of the final day’s play in the Test match.

We dined on a salami and chilli pizza with plentiful fresh salad. No-one imbibed.

A Knight’s Tale (144: The Bastides)

Beaumont is one of the bastide towns to which my friends Maggie and Mike introduced me. Maggie is in the foreground of the third picture; Mike in the distance behind her.

Built during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries ‘bastides were developed in number under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1229), which permitted Raymond VII of Toulouse to build new towns in his shattered domains, though not to fortify them. When the Capetian Alphonse of Poitiers inherited, under a marriage stipulated by the treaty, this “bastide founder of unparalleled energy”[5] consolidated his regional control in part through the founding of bastides. Landowners supported development of the bastides in order to generate revenues from taxes on trade rather than tithes(taxes on production). Farmers who elected to move their families to bastides were no longer vassals of the local lord — they became free men; thus the development of bastides contributed to the waning of feudalism. The new inhabitants were encouraged to cultivate the land around the bastide, which in turn attracted trade in the form of merchants and markets. The lord taxed dwellings in the bastides and all trade in the market. The legal footing on which the bastides were set was that of paréage with the local ruling power, based on a formal written contractual agreement between the landholder and a count of Toulouse, a king of France, or a king of England. The landholder might be a cartel of local lords or the abbot of a local monastery.’ (Wikipedia)

During the medieval Hundred Years War between England and France, the French rapidly fortified those towns that had not succumbed in the early destruction. Ownership tended to fluctuate between the two warring Houses, and when it was their turn, the English made good use of the fortifications that had been so effective against them. In fact, various websites inform us that Beaumont-du-Perigord was founded by England’s King Edward I in 1272.

The //about-france.com website claims that ‘the “Bastide” towns of southwest France are a growing tourist attraction, and comprise one of the largest collections of well-preserved mediaeval townscapes to be found anywhere in Europe’, Beaumont-du-Perigord, being a fine example.

Unfortunately I cannot be certain which was the next such town I visited with Maggie and Mike in September 2003, but I think it was Monpazier, founded by the English to keep out the French in 1285. It was to change hands between these two nations several times in the following few decades.

The main feature of a bastide is the central open place or square surrounded by colonnaded arches used for markets, and for political and social gatherings, now housing shops, such as wine merchants and toy suppliers. I enjoyed seeing baskets of diabolos, such as those brought back from holiday by my maternal grandparents.

Colourful market stalls fill the square which is

surrounded by grids of streets linked by narrow alleys or ruelles.

Weathered walls, iron gates, and tended gardens invite attention.

Maggie and Mike 9.03

When we passed a church which had recently held a wedding, my friends thought it would be a good wheeze to pretend it was theirs.

“I Suppose You Want Me To Go Outside…”

I invariably begin the day a couple of hours or so before anyone else emerges from bed. This time is devoted to reading and commenting on other people’s posts, and responding to visitors comments on mine.

Sometimes I am distracted by views through the window. Unfortunately the design of the double glazing system does not allow the casements to open properly, if at all. This makes photography difficult. So it was this morning. I was bemoaning the fact that I could only reproduce the image I was seeing through the glass. “I suppose you want me to go outside and clean that window,” stated our Maintenance Department.

That seemed a good idea, so Jackie stepped outside to do the honours,

enabling me to produce the pictures I wanted.

Later, hair and arms decorated willingly by petal confetti, and less welcome by thorn-pricked tattoos, I completed yesterday’s work on Félicité Perpétue.

This afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/07/04/a-knights-tale-143-the-holiday-venue/

It was a favourite treat for Flo as a child to eat at a Harvester pub. This therefore is what we did this evening – in the Cat and Fiddle at Hinton Admiral. All was as good as we remembered it. After plentiful fresh salad from the bar Flo enjoyed rump steak, chips, peas, and onion rings; Jackie enjoyed katsu curry; I rather rashly chose the ultimate mixed grill consisting of an 8 oz rump steak, gammon steak, 1/4 chicken, a meaty rack of ribs, two large sausages, two slices of black pudding, 2 mushrooms, 1/2 tomato, a very large thimble of peas, a bucket of chips, and two fried eggs, sunny side up. While the others watched I managed to eat everything except half the chips, the tail end of a sausage, and one pea. Flo’s dessert was a Belgian waffle with toffee sauce, and Jackie’s was ice cream with toffee sauce. I just begged for mercy. I drank Marston’s ale, Flo drank water, and Jackie drank Diet Coke.

A Knight’s Tale (143: The Holiday Venue)

No. 6 rue St. Jacques is an 18th century terraced house in the village of Sigoules. The longer of these two images includes Nos. 8, 10, and beyond.

As is evident from these views of the street, the house is situated at the top of a steep hill. Fortunately it is at the town square end. The first three pictures look down the hill from outside the property. The others look up.

Maggie and Mike in garden 9.03

There is a small patio garden which is a veritable sun-trap.

During my earlier stays with my friends, we took a number of walks. Here Maggie and Mike pass a man-made fishing lake on their left. Berries, crocuses, and oaks all enlivened the countryside.

The path we were taking led to hills from which we could admire vineyards and the valley below.

For six years after I bought the house, until disaster struck once more, I visited periodically for two or three weeks at a time while spending the rest of my days either at my sister Elizabeth’s or in my various rented flats. It also became my intended holiday venue for family members such as

Michael, Heidi, Oliver, Alice, and Emily. The dog my grandson cuddles has followed them home from a neighbouring farm.

Watching Sport And Dead-Heading

Very early this morning I watched recorded highlights of the first two days of the current Test cricket match between England and India.

One rose I tend to delay dead-heading is Félicite Perpetue, of which we have two abundant examples. Today I could find not even the slightest reason for procrastination.

Here is the splendid spreading plant in the front garden, before I set about it.

I didn’t manage to complete the task today. The corner in the second picture in this gallery was not visible behind the Modus in my before picture, but I did clear it all.

The lace cap hydrangea now has a little more room to breathe.

I have previously dead headed the pink roses sharing the opposite trellis with Clematis Mrs N. Thompson – those that I can reach.

Jackie spent much of the day on similar work, for example

pruning the Red Bottle Brush tree;

tidying the Brick Path;

cleaning and tidying the decking, including repairing the parasol.

She is particularly pleased with the half dead clematis Venosa Violacea, which she brought back to life having rescued it from Otter’s pity bench.

This afternoon I watched Wimbledon tennis fourth round matches between Jule Niemeier and Heather Watson; and between Cameron Norrie and Tommy Paul.

Then came the highlights of this, the third day’s play in the Test match; before dinner, which consisted of cheese-centred fish cakes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and new boiled potatoes; with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Flo drank water, and I drank The Guv’nor, a very smooth and tasty Spanish red wine given to me by Shelly and Ron.

Heathers And Asphodel

Early this morning we filled up with petrol and shopped at Tesco before going for a forest drive.

The recently re-thatched Pine Tree Cottage at the corner of Ringwood Road, Bransgore now has a squirrel on its roof.

off to the right a short distance down the road lies Betsy Lane with its

Post Office and postbox now bearing a somewhat wonky yarn roundabout.

A hundred metres or so beyond the post office the lane bears left with a sharp right angled bend lined with

verges sporting an array of hollyhocks, poppies, moon daisies, thistles, and other now rather spent wild flowers.

A rider in training was helped to negotiate oncoming traffic.

This thatched cottage is of quite ancient construction; its adjacent shed face with attractive wood;

alongside this is a further building bearing a weather vane fashioned into skeins of geese.

On the outskirts of Burley I tramped among the moorland varieties of heather and asphodel.

Ponies and foals were beginning to flop and to shelter from the high temperatures and humidity we were expecting.

We are now into the season when food and drink containers add their own brands of contributions to the forest ecology,

and around every bend in the road you are likely to encounter bunches of cycling club members. This group was less than half the size of the one which went before, and their leader did acknowledge that we had stopped – actually in deference to the oncoming car.

Along Beechwood Lane the first pair of cyclists dismounted rather than attempt to weave among a pair of ponies and a foal.

The foal and its Dam made for the sheltered corner of Burley Lawn;

a loud neighing emanated from a field horse decked out with full PPE against flies.

The knitted crown atop the postbox outside the cottage in Wootton Road has been replaced by a peacock and a little card inviting smiles.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; crisp Yorkshire pudding; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, with really tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo drank raspberry, rhubarb, and orange blossom cordial; and I finished the Chianti.

The Garden At The Start Of July

Yesterday evening Jackie finished her work on the Lawn Bed.

She also continued her general maintenance, such as the Weeping Birch Bed weeding and replanting, following Flo’s earlier work on the footpath.

Early this morning Jackie and I transported the last of the garden refuse to the Efford Recycling Centre, after which we purchased three more large bags of compost and a few vegetables from Ferndene Farm Shop.

Later, I finished reading ‘If The Old Could’ and published https://derrickjknight.com/2022/07/01/if-the-old-could/ after watching the third round Wimbledon tennis match between Heather Watson and Kaja Juvan.

Before dinner I produced

a gallery of garden views, each of which bears a title.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her spicy paprika pork while Flo preferred meat and vegetable pasty to accompany the boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots, and firm cauliflower and broccoli, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; our granddaughter, Raspberry Rhubarb and Orange Blossom cordial; and I, more of the Chianti.

If The Old Could…..

This is the title of the second of Doris Lessing’s Diaries of Jane Somers, written under the hoax pseudonym as an experiment to test the reception of an apparently unknown novice writer.

The book has the same qualities of description, insight, and depth of characterisation as its predecessor, Diary of a Good Neighbour.

The nature of love and family life with its repetitions of personalities and relationships through the generations is very well depicted. Ultimately, however, the protagonists are destined for disillusionment and unfulfillment. According to the writer older qualities reappear in younger members of their families, as does their behaviour. We are also bound to replicate earlier mistakes and are always alone in the end.

Again the diarist conveys powerful ambivalence and entrapment by her own kindness and inability to confront issues. Pretending nothing is wrong as a method of avoidance is a recurring theme.

In fact my own reading of this book mirrored the ambivalence. The writing skill kept me interested although I became frustrated enough to want to part company. Less obviously a diary than the first book, the prose seemed more elegant and certainly contained compelling passages. I found myself becoming angry with Janna, just as she described her anger with those dependent upon her whom she cold not influence.

I was not sorry to finish the work, although I couldn’t give it up.

The Reuse Shop

This morning Jackie worked on clearing the Lawn Bed in readiness for renewed planting. I, in the meantime, jammed as many bags of recyclable garden refuse into the Modus before we drove them to the Efford recycling centre. This is the first time we have visited since before Covid, but Jackie was keen to maintain traditional lore which states that one never visits the facility without making a purchase from the newly named Reuse Shop, from which you can only buy what someone has thrown away with a bank card. Moreover we can only discard our rubbish by appointment which must be made on line. Such is upmarket progress.

She chose a matching pair of what will now be garden plant stands.

I rang the Verderers office later, when, by coincidence, Robert, the Agister was present. He spoke to me at some length, explaining that he knew the foal I had reported a couple of days ago, which was much happier than it had been at first. The large areas around his rump were the result of scouring – a form of diarrhoea brought on by the richness of the mother’s milk. This meant that the liquid excreta adhered to the hair and stripped it off. It is growing back. He wasn’t sure about the lesser blemishes but would see the animal regularly, and wasn’t concerned.

After lunch Jackie continued her weeding and planting while I gathered up compostable material which I transported to the bins, then carried out more dead-heading and weeding, and garnered

a few more photographs, each of which bears a title in the gallery.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops and sausages; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and firm broccoli, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo, mixed fruit juice cordial; and I, Chianti Rufino 2018.