It Didn’t Seem Politic

The best light of the day was forecast to be seen this morning. And so it proved.

Fairly early on we drove to Tesco’s for petrol; to New Milton Post Office for currency exchange and Christmas stamps; and to Brockenhurst, where, in common with New Milton,

poppies ahead of Armistice Day adorn the lampposts, before making our leisurely way to Hockeys farm shop for lunch.

Our first pause was at Wilverley where a pair of pensive ponies beside the road from Wootton paid no attention to two walkers on the opposite side –

they were more interested in their necking session.

Meanwhile a friendly horse rider emerged from the

 

autumn landscape,

more of which was seen in the forest scenes on either side of

Roger Penny Way.

Jackie decided that I blended in rather well with the environment.

Having, tentatively as always, in second gear, scaled Blissford Hill we encountered a shaggy calf using a scratching post beside Hyde Parish Hall.

Coming across a band of bulls further along the road I speculated about which one may be the father.

Somehow it didn’t seem politic to enquire too closely into the infant’s parentage.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and plentiful fresh salad with which I finished the Merlot and Jackie didn’t.

 

Where’s It All Gone?

Apart from a brief spell of red-gold sunshine enlivening the last of the Weeping Birch leaves we worked in drizzling rain on the final heavy pruning in the Rose Garden. It is very sad to cut off healthy buds in an effort to ensure the plants’ winter security.

This does, however, bring the bonus of cut flowers such as

Absolutely Fabulous rose of a couple of days ago

and today’s For Your Eyes Only roses and Mrs Popple fuchsia . Otherwise Jackie doesn’t pick her own flowers.

Despite the fact that I filled the bird feeders, Nugget, paying us a visit demonstrated his preference for live worms. Watching the rapid disappearance of this one I wondered “Where’s it all gone?”.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (43).

Flitting from larch

to hawthorn, Muggle kept to his own quarters.

The Rainbow Blessing

This afternoon we drove into the forest, making use of the day’s changing light.

In contrast to the recent gales, the winds were so slow that the sun, albeit bright, would remain behind covering clouds for an age.

Although the distant Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower was well lit, the near Tanners Lane’s breakwater was not.

The skyscapes above the Isle of Wight reflected this, until

weak sun was briefly glimpsed.

We crept along Sowley Lane through which a string of dithering donkeys threaded their way;

one stopped for a scratch;

one toddler demanded its dinner;

another paused to chew on a stick.

As we approached St Leonards Grange

the road and its surrounding landscape were burnished by the brighter sun.

With showers of rain added to the mix rainbows separated trees and

blessed at least one of the jackdaw couples pairing off on the ancient granary roof.

Another two preferred the view from one of the ruin’s windows.

This evening Elizabeth joined us for dinner which consisted of succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; winter greens; tender runner beans; and tasty gravy, followed by Mississippi mud pie. My sister and I finished the Fleurie and I began a Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2018. Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

Swooping And Squabbling

All was still and bright in the garden today when we began the post-storm recovery.

We didn’t manage the patio area, which won’t take long tomorrow.

Aaron righted the Rose Garden arch, with minimal discomfort to Crown Princess Margareta and Zefirini Drouhin.

The Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path;

views from the Kitchen Bed,

from the Shady Path,

from the Palm Bed,

towards the Rose Garden from the corner of the Phantom Path, are now less cluttered.

Some hanging baskets, like these suspended from the eucalyptus, have been righted.

In order to prevent loosening of the rose roots from further winds, Jackie has begun their winter pruning.

Nugget, of course, could not keep his beak out of the process. Yes – he and Muggle are both alive and well.

“Where’s Nugget?” (42)

Late this afternoon we took a drive into the forest. Given that a woman had been killed not far away yesterday by a tree falling on her car it had been a good decision not to risk it ourselves.

Moody skycapes loomed above Beaulieu Heath

and Hatchet Pond,

casting reflections on the water

over which greedy gulls swooped and squabbled.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s especially spicy lamb jalfrezi with pilau rice, vegetable samosas, and plain parathas with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

It’s An Ill Wind……..

We are in direct line from The Needles off the Isle of Wight. The heaviest gust of wind overnight sweeping through these iconic rocks was recorded at 109 miles per hour. Even this morning rains continued and the wind speeds were in excess of 70 m.p.h.

This was definitely a day for staying indoors and watching the Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa.

Jackie braved the elements with her camera while I sat tensely on the TV sofa. After the match I made my contribution to the damp photography.

The weeping birch whipped across the sky in the direction of the crouching Cryptomeria.

The kitchen window wept.

Numerous flower pots had been thrown aside.

We had lain down all the patio furniture as a precaution. The white metal table, having been placed face to the ground had been picked up and tossed across the space.

In the Rose Garden the firmly fixed corner arch had toppled over.

Both Crown Princess Margareta

and Zefirini Drouhin still cling to their support, which we think in will be possible to right.

Even the compost bins have been wrecked.

Today it was an ill wind…… except for South Africa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi and pilau rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

I Can’t Stay Long

Today was another dull, wet, day.

Seated on the sofa, I lunched on scrambled egg and toast while watching the Rugby World Cup third place play off between Wales and New Zealand. It was a very good match, albeit no doubt rather an anti-climax for these two losing semi-finalists.

This afternoon I finished reading ‘I Can’t Stay Long’, a selection of

Laurie Lee’s essays. This portrait of the author by William Thompson forms the frontispiece of my 1975 edition published by Andre Deutsch.

Here is the biography presented by Britannica.com.

‘Laurie Lee, (born June 26, 1914, Slad, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, England—died May 13, 1997, Slad), English poet and prose writer best known for Cider with Rosie (1959), a memoir of the author’s boyhood in the Cotswold countryside.Educated in his home village and in nearby Stroud, Lee eventually moved to London and traveled in Spain in the mid-1930s. Upon his return to England, he worked as a film scriptwriter (1940–43) and as an editor for the Ministry of Information (1944–45). Lee published several volumes of poetry in the 1940s and ’50s, but he achieved little recognition until his autobiographical book Cider with Rosie (U.S. title The Edge of Day) was published by Leonard Woolf in 1959. Cider with Rosie became an instant classic and was widely read in British schools. An account of Lee’s happy childhood in a secluded village, the book nostalgically evokes the simplicity and innocence of a vanished rural world.Lee wrote two more volumes of what became an autobiographical trilogy, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969), a description of his walk to London and then across Spain just prior to that country’s civil war; and A Moment of War (1991), an account of his experiences in Spain during that war. Lee’s other works included the poetry collections The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles (1947), and My Many-Coated Man (1955) and a collection of stories, I Can’t Stay Long (1976).’ My first edition of this latter publication attests to the fact that it was published the year before this extracts states.
1959 was the year before I left school. I was one of those who read the instant classic that was ‘Cider with Rosie’ – but, I think, a little after 1960. ‘I Can’t Stay Long’ is presented in three parts, each one introduced with a decoration by Susan Campbell.
relates to periods of the author’s childhood;is more philosophical, presenting the author’s views on love, appetite, charm, paradise, and parenthood; and culminating in a compassionate and insightful visit to Aberfan the year after ‘the village lost its children’. I feature this terrible disaster in my post: https://derrickjknight.com/2015/12/05/aberfan/is a set of travelling stories. It is in these in particular that Lee’s splendid poetic eloquence is given full rein. Like a rich Christmas pudding filled to capacity with glazed fruits, nutritious nuts, and silver sixpences, the author’s fluent and elegant prose is packed with simile, metaphor, alliteration; amplified with appropriate adverbs and adjectives, yet nothing superfluous. He writes like the poet he is, managing to reflect the varied atmospheres, pace of life and people encountered. Contrasting ‘A Wake in [communist] Warsaw’, including the barren journey to reach the town, with the lively, yet languorous ‘ Sugar Islands’ of the West Indies, or the self indulgent sybaritic exploitation of ‘A Festive Occasion’ at Cannes, all demonstrate Laurie Lee’s keen ear and observation.This evening we dined on tasty pork cutlets; roast potatoes, chestnut mushrooms, and Yorkshire pudding; tender greens, and crunchy carrots, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the Fronton.

 

Witchcraft With Acorns

The light today was gloomy and the slate-grey overhead colander-canopy constantly leaked drizzle.

Jackie reported that this morning while Muggle tweeted in her ear she realised that there was another exchange of battle cries between

Nugget and someone else who occupied the garden of No 5 Downton Lane. There are now three robins setting out their territory. Later, when Jackie tried to engage Nugget in conversation while he was perched on the rose garden fence, he turned his back on her. “Aren’t you talking to me?”, she asked. He peered over his shoulder, fixed her witheringly,  and turned away again.

“Where’s Nugget?” (41).

Given the date, we thought a trip to Burley, the village of witches, might be order.

In Everton Road the New Zealand flag fluttered limply at half mast. This was clearly in mourning for the All Blacks’ defeat by England last Saturday in the Rugby World Cup Semi Final. The New Zealanders have been the acknowledged best team in the world throughout my lifetime. Three times world champions, they had not lost any match in the tournament for twelve years.

Nearby a cross-eyed pumpkin face sat on a wall.

Despite the dismal drizzle Holmsley Passage managed to put on a bright face,

even though someone had dumped a sofa on the verge.

Jackie photographed me as I wandered along for a while.

Landscapes on the moorland section were misted by dripping precipitation.

At Burley a pair of guinea fowl created their own mix of havoc, amusement, and trepidation, as they wandered back and forth across the through road.

One young lady crouching with her mobile phone graphically expressed her concern as they stepped off the kerb;

two young cyclists seemed a bit bemused.

While I concentrated on these two, Jackie observed a chicken eating an ice cream.

Shop windows venerated the season;

we both pictured The Mall,

guarded by a pumpkin witch.

 

All the little shops in this small street sported suitable  adornments.

Jackie entered a gift shop in search of stocking fillers. She emerged with two owls, which, if Orlaith got her sums right, makes the current garden total 93.

This evening we dined at The Wheel at Bowling Green. Jackie enjoyed tempura prawn starters followed by a rack of ribs, fries, onion rings, and plentiful fresh salad; my choice was equally good breaded whitebait, salad and toast followed by rib-eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato, and peas. Mrs Knight drank Kaltenberg and I drank Malbec.