“I Can’t Eat Any Spices”

On a dull and cooler day, I spent the morning working on the last of the paperwork for my tax return. I was diverted from posting the documents to my accountant until this evening by two welcome visits from friends.

Giles visited early in the afternoon to wish me well for the knee surgery. With Jackie, we enjoyed the kind of conversation that is only really possible with lifelong friends, where there is so much known and understood about each other.

Later, a newer friend, Richard from Kitchen Makers, visited. He is to reform our dressing room. Our conversations are animated and stimulating. With him we don’t have a lifetime of reminiscences, and we are still learning about each other. In addition to being a superb craftsman, he is a great conversationalist and can speak intelligently about a range of subjects.

 

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly service. We both ate prawn puri starters; Jackie’s main course was chicken shaslick and mine was lamb naga; we shared a plain paratha and egg fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

The reason we visited our favourite restaurant was that I had been told that I should not eat chillis the night before my operation. It was not me this evening who could not eat any spices. It was the woman in the booth behind us who stated that she couldn’t eat any spices at all and therefore wanted to know which of the meals could be cooked without spices. The patient waiter fielded that one with his customary discretion and tact.

Nothing For It

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I spent a considerable number of frustrating hours attempting to secure internet access today. I will not bore anyone with the details. Looking on the bright side, I decided to tackle the paperwork for my annual tax return. This went quite well until I tackled my bank statements, which I receive on a quarterly basis. The most recent batch has not arrived. “No problem.” I thought. “Now I bank on line I can take the necessary details from there”. …………… “Ah……..”.

There was now nothing for it but to wander round the garden with my camera in hand and a mobile phone in my pocket. There are, of course, less pleasant ways of spending my time.

The clematis Montana now drapes the front wall upon which a trough of blue pansies smile; the potentilla now dances with the vinca.

The sweet scent of the wisteria pervades the area beneath its arbour.

Buds of blue irises and red poppies are simply biding their time.

While I wandered and emptied a trug or two into the compost, Jackie continued replenishing soil and planting in beds and containers.

These verbascum look down on similarly hued Erigeron,

Cow parsley in Dragon Bed

just as the cow parsley soars above everything else in the Dragon Bed.

pansies and clematis Marie Boisselot buds

In the Kitchen Bed’s stone urn white pansies bridge the season of faded white daffodils and that of clematis Marie Boisselot, whose buds can be observed in the obelisk behind.

Geranium Palmatum

The first of the geranium Palmatums, which will soon arrive in abundance, has lined up along the Shady Path in line with heucheras,

Shadow on heuchera

on the leaves of which a hebe casts its shadow.

Erigeron, aquilegia, vinca, alliums, silenes

Erigeron, aquilegias, vinca, alliums, and silenes crowd each other in the Weeping Birch Bed,

aubretia and wild strawberries

as do aubretia and wild strawberries in the Oval Bed opposite.

Butterfly Small White, honesty

Small White butterflies flitted about.

Rosariae de L'Hay corner of Rose Garden

Rosariae de L’Hay enlivens its corner of the Rose Garden.

This afternoon, until I was back on line, I continued reading John Le Carré’s The Night Manager.

Dinner this evening consisted of Jackie’s excellent pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I consumed A Dark Apothic 2015 Californian red.

 

 

 

 

Who’s The Daddy?

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As soon as the shops were open this morning we set off on a slipper hunt for my hospital stay. We found a pair immediately at Stephan Shoes in New Milton. We then travelled to the Community Centre in Milford on Sea, where I might have left my blog card case the other day. There was no-one in the office. Next port of call was Peacock’s Computers who had not yet received a dongle they had ordered for my MacBook. I was also unable to send e-mails and left the machine for James to solve the problem.

Ah, well, I had bought the slippers, and James did solve the problem later.

Whilst I was occupied with the computer Jackie waited for me in the car park behind the High Street. I walked the long way round: past the war memorial and through the graveyard of the parish church of St Thomas the Apostle. Pigeons and other birds occasionally perched on the gravestones, and candelabra lit the chestnut trees.

We then took a drive through the forest. Sun-dappled lanes through which we traversed included Barnes; Undershore, where we happily negotiated motor cars and cyclists; and Shirley Holms alongside which field horses enhanced the terraced landscape.

The more open stretches of Shirley Holms were alive with grazing ponies. I focussed on a family group. The smallest foal clung steadfastly to its chestnut mother. A larger, very similar, junior wandered a little further afield from his white (grey) parent. It seemed to me that the grey coloured adult more attached to these last two was probably a stallion, suggesting that there was no need to ask “who’s the daddy?”. A woman on horseback approached us from further down the slope.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

 

Forgotten And Neglected

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Aaron

Aaron worked as hard as ever in the garden this morning. Lest it be imagined that he never takes a break, here is photographic evidence that we do allow him the statutory minimum.

It was not that long ago that I last photographed the garden from our bathroom window. This Wisteria was not then in bloom.

Our ubiquitous heucheras have now all sent up their flower stems.

Some of those are in the Rose Garden where the bushes are burgeoning, Roseraie de L’Hay bearing the first buds to open.

Numerous aquilegias are also standing proud;

one clump stands beside the shady path, still bestrewn with fallen camellia flowers.

The Viburnum Plicatum in the West Bed has also sprung to life in the last few days.

Sparrow on roof

Our resident sparrow still guards his family from the rooftop.

In order to prevent the risk of infection when, this coming Friday, my left knee joint is to be replaced by a man made model, I will have to wear new slippers. In search of a pair, we drove to Sainsbury’s at Christchurch this afternoon. Their sizes stop at 10, so we will need to try again when more shops are open tomorrow. We didn’t waste our trip out. Jackie set us off to the North of the Forest.

Leaving the A338 at Mockbeggar Lane, Ibsley, we were intrigued by a notice suggesting that what Jackie discovered to have been St Martin’s Church was having a Closing Down Sale. In fact, as Wikipedia tells us, the church itself has been deconsecrated. Following the listing the church became the art gallery which is having the sale. Jackie entered the shop and pronounced it a purveyor of artificial flowers, anything of good quality being over-priced.

I, therefore, contented myself with a study of the surrounding graveyard. It seemed to me that the preponderance of dandelion clocks calling time on the neglected tombs of forgotten eighteenth and nineteenth century residents of the parish, was somewhat appropriate.

 https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101350890-church-of-st-martins-ellingham-harbridge-and-ibsley#.Wvhu0i-ZNBw give us this information concerning its Grade 2 listing: ‘Parish church. 1832 by John Peniston surveyor, on site of old church. Brick with
some blue headers, east wall partly reused dressed stone, plain tile roof. Plan
of single cell chancel and nave with north and south porches and small west tower.
To east end Y-tracery window in chamfered opening; corner buttresses. To each side
of 6 bays, pointed lancet in chamfered opening,except to west,buttresses between
bays and at each end except between west of centre bays which have gabled porch
with pointed, chamfered opening. West end has small cross-section tower in centre
with similar window, and offset belfry stage with west and east bell opening and
gabled roof. Inside brass of 1599 on floor by altar, tablet to Mary Ann Gray 1757
in brick paviour central aisle. On south wall monument 1627 to John Constable of
2 large kneeling figures between 2 columns to wide open pediment, both hold vine
with busts of their children. C18 Perpendicular style font. On north wall tablet
1757 to Cray. At east end prayer boards, above west door Royal arms board.
Gallery at west end of timber with later screen under to form vestry.’

Jackie informs me that all the mentioned features are still there inside, covered by the gallery’s wares. What now, I wonder?

A small herd of deer grazed in their usual field at Ogdens. When I poked my lens in their direction, one doe pricked up her ears and gave me a stare, decided I was harmless, and returned to her dinner.

On our way home down Roger Penny Way we noticed an interesting vehicle pulling into the car park of The Green Dragon. This was a Morris Cowley bullnose, first produce in 1915. Before entering the pub the driver placed a chock beneath the near side front wheel. I surmised that the vehicle was possibly not fitted with a handbrake.

Cadnam Lane was littered with sheep and the occasional punk pig. One of the pigs masqueraded as an outsize sheep; others, occasionally raising a sleepy snout, snoozed by the wayside.

This evening we dined on roast pork with superb crackling, new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro Malbec

 

 

 

 

Degrees Of Energy And Enthusiasm

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Light rain remained in the overcast clouds until the last hour of the very successful Tiptoe May Fayre which we visited this much cooler afternoon.

When we arrived, hopeful owners were taking up positions in the judging ring for the last few pooch prizes.

The Punch and Judy show was a great hit with young and old. Glee and excitement built up quickly. Children’s faces registered their emotions; I had the sense that the older members of the audience may have been reliving their own earlier years. Despite being attached to a leash in one little girl’s hands, her dog studiously ignored the performance. For some, it was difficult to concentrate on both ice cream and the entertainment. One woman had been left holding the candy floss. I was not the only photographer.

The dog agility contest caused canine chaos, from which the careful orchestrator conjured a semblance of order. The children understood what was expected of them and their pets. The pets, however, approached the exercise of negotiating the obstacles with varying degrees of energy and enthusiasm.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2017.

 

Angel Lane

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This morning Jackie drove me to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea to collect a blood test result which, along with a questionnaire I then posted, in the pillar box featured yesterday, to UCH Hospital in London. The material is part of a follow-up survey after my metal-on-metal hip replacement nine years ago. Problems have surfaced from this method. I have none. The blood test is normal and requires no action.

Because of the number of comments I have received complimenting the work of the Milford WI, and in order to show the ladies yesterday’s post, I visited the Community Centre in search of a member to whom I could give a blog card. The volunteer running the café this morning was ‘Tricia, who had helped set up the exhibition at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Naturally we had an enjoyable conversation and she asked for four cards which I was happy to hand over.

We chose the somewhat circuitous Angel Lane route to Milford. The sunlight streamed across the narrow, steeply undulating lane, which made for several interesting head-on encounters, mostly with commercial vehicles in a hurry.

Bluebells, cow parsley, and other wild flowers lined the verges; to the left lay private fields, some carpeted with buttercups, one warning us to keep out; to the right a public footpath had been barred off – not an unusual sight in this area.

Bedding plants

We then drove to Hockey’s Farm Café for brunch and returned via Ferndene Farm Shop where Jackie filled the boot of the car with bedding plants mostly destined for her hanging baskets.

Billy

This afternoon I paid the car tax fee over the phone and made an A4 print of this photograph taken 3 days ago for Helen.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Médoc.

 

Sharing The Duchess Of Cornwall’s Bench

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According to Wikipedia: ‘The WI [Women’s Institute] movement began at Stoney Creek, Ontario in Canada in 1897 when Adelaide Hoodless addressed a meeting for the wives of members of the Farmers’ Institute.’

‘Born in 1915 out of the ashes of the First World War, the WI was initially sponsored by the government with a mission to help boost food supplies and energise rural areas. But the gatherings proved so popular, it soon took on a life of its own and its members set about righting wrongs, mounting surprising and enlightened campaigns, many of which were light years ahead of their time.’ This is an extract from Emma Barnett’s excellent 24th May 2015 article in the Daily Telegraph.

This year Milford on Sea is celebrating its own centenary in a witty exhibition of art and craft. We visited it this morning.

Most stationery objects around the village green have been adorned with the results of loving labour involving lanate thread and knitting needles. (See the contentedcrafter comment below – also crochet hooks)

Benches and bollards are bestrewn;

bunting bedecks trees and railings.

There are two lighthouses, one bearing a bird.

A gull, reflected in The Village Coffee Pot window, perches atop the pillar box.

Other birds, woodland creatures, insects, a lizard, flowers, vegetables, an octopus, starfish and seashells, cling in abundance to the bollards.

 

Noddy, Rupert Bear, an elf, a guardsman, a little boy, and an elderly couple occupy the benches.

Just when I thought I had covered everything, a woman asked me if I’d seen the spiders in the tree by the car park. I hadn’t, so I wandered down to put that right. There was also a blue tit in residence.

I engaged in conversation with a gentleman resting his backpack on a bench while he studied his Ordnance Survey map. He was from Leicester and, as part of his aim to walk around the coast of England, was undertaking the stretch from here to Mudeford today. The Duchess of Cornwall seemed quite happy to allow him to share her bench.

Paul and Margery came for a visit this afternoon. We enjoyed our conversation as usual.

This evening we dined on roast belly of pork, Yorkshire pudding, crinkly kale, crunchy carrots and new potatoes. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Médoc.