Mountain Sheep, Mountain Bikes, And Archery

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On a dank and dismal day, Jackie cleaned out the Wisteria Arbour. This involved swabbing down the furniture, clearing dead plants and sweeping a multitude of leaves.

Jackie in Wisteria Arbour

As I came out to report on a FaceTime conversation with Malachi in Western Australia’s Fremantle I could smell the apple mint in the pot at the bottom right of the picture. The tulip is one brought back from Amsterdam by Danni and Andy a couple of years ago.

Malachi, occasionally punctuated by his sister Orlaith and his parents, read me an excellent story he had written and illustrated, and took me on a virtual tour of their new house.

Such an unspringlike day gave me the opportunity to remind ourselves of the season by following our friend, Barrie Haynes’s, prompt and featuring:

I spent the afternoon scanning the next batch of our 1992 Cumbrian holiday spent at Towcett with Ali, Steve, and James.

On 18th August we climbed the fells from Haweswater where we made the acquaintance of mountain sheep who looked rather more comfortable than I felt.

The youngsters, Louisa, naturally taking the lead, ascended with the help of mountain bikes and the rest of us hiked.

Louisa tackling daunting banana split 19.8.92 1As we know, Louisa is game for anything, but it looks as if she found this banana split, consumed at Tudor Restaurant, Penrith, rather daunting.

We stayed at Teal Cottage, one of the holiday homes in the grounds of Towcett House, the home of Jessica’s cousin Angie, and her then husband Viscount Hugh Lowther. There, Sam manufactured a bow and arrow and an archery contest soon got under way.

Louisa was first at the butts;

Sam followed;

and James brought up the rear.

I am grateful to Mary Tang for explaining how to remove the date stamp from these photographs.

Mr Pink’s fish and chips in Milford on Sea re-opened a few days ago, nine months after a fat fryer fire requiring thorough refurbishment. We were pleased to welcome them back and take cod and chips home to eat with gherkins and pickled onions. I drank more of the Bordeaux with mine.

Ladybird Or Ladybug Fly Away Home….

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The sun stayed away today until it was time for it to go to bed.

My share of the garden clearance, under the necessary direction from the Head Gardener, was eradicating or truncating dead stalks from last year’s plants, such as nicotiana sylvestris.

Jackie continued such work that required more specialist knowledge, and completed her work on bringing the Waterboy’s pool back to life.

Viburnum

We have a number if different snowball shaped viburnums that we can’t specifically identify. They are all in bloom.

Sparrow

I wonder if our little roof bound sparrow was guarding nest building this morning. He certainly seemed to be casting an eye in the direction of a piece of straw that had no business being up there.

Camellia

Some of the earlier camellias are turning their beautiful golden brown, giving us the impression that we have varicoloured flowers.

Beech branches

As usual, the beech will be the last to clothe its skeletal framework.

Leaves and catkins have begun to appear on the weeping birch, although it is still possible to view Elizabeth’s Bed through the slender branches.

Ladybird in catkins

A ladybird appears to have taken up residence in the fruit of the tree. As there was no response when I recited the popular nursery rhyme, I can only assume this is intended to be permanent.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef, peppers, mushrooms and onions cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with sauteed potatoes, spinach, leeks, carrots, and cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

Playing Gooseberry

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This morning we continued Spring clearing in the garden. My task was dead heading the hydrangeas.

One of Jackie’s was to clean out the Waterboy’s pond. He nodded his approval.

The Head Gardener was extremely excited about her corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’ which is apparently hard to grow.

Another euphorbia is flowering in the front garden,

where the winter flowering cherry has blushed continuously since September.

Sitting on the Castle Bench when I had finished my gardening I engaged in a game of peep-bo with a collared dove in a shrub that has become a tree. This creature kept lowering its head out of sight, then popping up briefly.

Collared doves 3

At least, that is what I thought I was playing. But, hang on a minute. What was this?

Collared doves 2

Do you see?

Yes. There were two. I had been playing gooseberry.

Collared dove 2

Sussed.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Pool, gorse, reflection

The Shirley Holms corner beyond Sway is still pretty waterlogged.

Ponies

These young ponies found a dry patch to have a lie down;

Pony rising to its feet

although my attention prompted the larger one, looking almost as awkward as I would, to rise to its feet.

Pigeons in flight

As I returned to the car, two pigeons took off into the skies.

Primroses decorated the bank of a stream by the roadside at Sandy Down,

Horse eating hay

where horses in a field chewed hay,

and snake’s head fritillaries shared berths with daffodils and more primrose.

Magnolia stellata

Steff’s Kitchen is attached to Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu. We took coffee and water there, where a magnificent magnolia stellata shed confetti over the tables and the grounds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef, peppers, mushrooms and onions cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with new potatoes, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. I drank more of the shiraz.

Far Too Busy To Chat

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Aaron, Jackie, and I continued tidying up the garden this morning.

Daffodils still glow all over;

Honesty

the new generation of honesty crops up everywhere;

Anemone albas

and the Anemone albas are spreading nicely in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Frogs and Jattie's sculpture

Jackie has weeded around and cleaned the little cistern pond, thus revealing the frogs and Jattie’s sculpture.

Snake's head fritillary

The lamp glowing in the sunlight is one of the snake’s head fritillaries Jackie has added to those already shining in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Peacock butterfly on gravel

A peacock butterfly tried in vain to look invisible on the gravel of the Heligan Path which joins

Brick Path

the south end of the Brick Path.

Bee on pulmonaria 1

Bees continue to plunder the pulmonaria.

Collared dove

I had a fairly lengthy conversation with a young collared dove taking advantage of Aaron’s fencing.

Wood pigeon with nesting material

Wood pigeons

Sparrow with nesting material

and sparrows were far too busy gathering nesting material to chat.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and special fried rice; followed by apple pie and custard.. She drank sparkling water and I drank Cimarosa limited edition Shiraz 2014.

Blue Ice Cream

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Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots are now blooming throughout the garden, especially, like these, springing up through the paths.

Our resident robin began the day in the shrubbery before taking up his station and serenading us in the weeping birch.

We spent a sunny morning that began quite chilly, but managed to reach temperatures in double figures, driving around the forest.

The first stop was

Whitten Pond sign

Given the restrictions applied to activities there I can only assume that the numerous muddy, rutted, tracks leading to it had been made by thirsty ponies.

Lying off Pound Lane on the way to Ringwood, this pond, with its choppy wavelets slapping and bubbling against the banks, looked attractive enough,

although the surrounding moorland was pretty wet.

Cyclists were out in their numbers speeding across the moorland roads and the winding lanes. Some, in large groups, switched from single file to two and three abreast in what seemed a rather aggressive attempt to hold drivers back. At one point the third in a trio headed straight for Jackie who, not speeding anyway, had already slowed down.

I wondered whether the man in the red jacket had noticed the ponies to his left.

This spot is not far from Burley at which we arrived before most shops had opened. The village’s pair of geese patrolled the rather empty car park.

Magpie Antiques

10 a.m. is the usual opening time. Magpie Antiques already welcomed visitors,

Jackie buying fudge

as had Burley Fudge which, after sampling the wares, Jackie patronised.

Ice cream tubs

In the forecourt of the antiques shop stands an ice cream stall. This photograph is for Maximus Octavian who likes blue ice cream.

Honey Lane

Honey Lane in Burley Street is as enticing as ever.

Horses in the corner field to the right of the entrance still wear their winter rugs.

At Bramshaw donkeys shared the task of cropping the grass verges with ponies of differing sizes.

Magnolia

Magnolias are blooming throughout the villages. This one near these animals is rather splendid.

We took a diversion around the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst during the holiday seasons.

Along Bolderwood Road I debarked and wandered among the trees, crunching on the dry leaves underfoot, admiring the long shadows, and examining the fallen trees and crumbling stumps.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, special fried rice and vegetable samosas; followed by apple pie and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Beaujolais.

The Birds And The Bees

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I spent some time in the garden today observing avian activity.

Although some wood pigeons waited hopefully in the beech and in the weeping birch,

where one pair thought about it,

a loving pair petted each other in the as yet naked beech.

Fly on hellebore

Flies were attracted to the hellebores;

Flies on pottery doves

two of them joined a dove threesome on the decking.

Bees plundered the pulmonaria,

and another insect I cannot name sunk its lengthy proboscis into a daffodil.

A cheerful robin trilled encouragement high up in the birch.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. Before the meal we made a brief list to the quayside where

Motorboat and dinghy

a young man manoeuvred a motor boat and dinghy around

Yachts

the moored yachts, avoiding disturbing

Reflections of boats

reflections on the water.

Mallard and black headed gulls

Mallards mingled with black headed gulls,

both of which engaged in preening activities.

My choice of meal was Goan lamb with special fried rice. Jackie chose chicken biriani, and we shared onion bahjis. We both drank Kingfisher.

Today’s title was inspired by a recent comment from Mary Tang.

Up The Cally

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After yesterday’s violent deaths on Westminster Bridge, over which I have walked many a time, it has been difficult to take my mind off London. I’ve always found a productive routine task to be therapeutic. It seemed therefore appropriate to continue yesterday’s North London perambulations through the medium of scanning the next dozen of my Streets of London images made in August and September 2004.

Euston Road N1 8.04 1

I begin with this corner of King’s Cross station on Euston Road, N1. Purely by coincidence the picture contains a reminder of another disaster experienced on 18th November 1987. An accidental fire in the Underground cost thirty one people their lives. The following month I began daily trips through King’s Cross when I would use those underground lines. The walled commemorative area in the foreground was filled with floral tributes over the following days.

Alongside the station, Caledonian Road runs up towards Holloway. During the late ’80s and ’90s, when, in sports gear, carrying my working clothes in a back pack, I commuted from Newark, I would run up The Cally, as it was known to the locals, for a few hundred yards, turn into a pocket park on the left, and continue along the Regent’s Canal towpath, past Camden Lock to my counselling room in Little Venice.

Omega Place N1 8.04

The first turning on the right is Omega Place N1. Tony’s Organics, at 10 Caledonian Road, in 2009, was considered one of the best raw food cafés in London. It is now reported to be closed.

Keystone Crescent N1 8.04

The next turning is the one-time picturesque Keystone Crescent. At that time, a plastered wall with bricked up windows unwittingly invited graffiti.

Twyford Street N1 8.04

Beyond the above-mentioned pocket park lies Twyford Street. Cally Pool has its entrance further up Caledonian Road. I hope the gentleman in the foreground didn’t have a cold.

On this particular day I must have been walking up to Parents for Children in Islington, for I continued on along Richmond Avenue on the right. Tarmon Free House is at 270, Caledonian Road. Perhaps the same florists decorated the establishment as did The Exmouth Arms featured yesterday.

Cloudesley Road N1 8.04

At the far end of Richmond Avenue we find Cloudesley Road N1. As with a number of our 19th century buildings, this one bears the freshened up slogans of  a shop that once operated on its site.

Dowrey Street N1 9.04

In nearby Dowrey Street, shadows of leaves do their best to take our minds of an uninviting stairwell.

Lonsdale Square N1 9.04

Lonsdale Square in Barnsbury needs no such distraction,

Liverpool Road N1 9.04

although, just around the corner, Liverpool Road, one of the main routes from Holloway Road through to Islington, could have done with a facelift at this point.

allinlondon.co.uk’s page on Alan Cocks’s shop demonstrates that it has received one. London’s central area telephone numbers are now prefixed by 020 7, so if you need a quotation don’t forget the addition to the prominent number in my photograph, which remains otherwise unchanged.

This evening we dined on pork chops marinaded in mustard sauce and coated with flaked almonds, piquant cauliflower cheese; sauteed potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin-Borisset Beaujolais Villages 2015.