Nesting

Albeit originally dry, today’s bright start, beset by grey sheep’s wool skies and drizzling rain, descended into cooler dankness.

My morning session devoted to WordPress comments was extended by the distraction from shaking branches of a crab apple tree in which the cumbersome barrage balloon of a nest-building wood pigeon thumped into the boughs clutching a selection of tightrope walkers’ balancing poles before diving into the foliage, emerging empty beaked and blundering off for a refill.

You may care to bigify these images by clicking on any one to access the gallery in order to discern the size of the nest twigs.

Jackie, meanwhile, having inadvertently discovered a robin’s nest while tidying up some boxes a couple of days ago

took a chance on quickly snapping the babies today. Since the earlier discovery, the parents have continued to carry in food through the gap beside the rusty iron bar.

This afternoon I read a little more of Nicholas Nickleby, enabling me to scan four more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to Charles Dickens’s novel.

‘Mr Snawley tucked the poor fellow’s head under his arm in a most uncouth and awkward embrace’

‘Within ‘the rules’ ‘ illustrates life in the Liberties of The King’s Bench Prison – an area covering three square miles around the prison where those inmates who could afford it could purchase the liberty to live there. (Wikipedia)

‘Arthur Gride sat in a low chair looking up into the face of Ralph Nickleby’ reminds me of a tax inspector I once knew who always sat his interviewees in a lower chair to establish his power. I explained that I did the opposite for the opposite reason.

‘Nicholas found himself poring with the utmost interest over a large play-bill’

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken and tasty parsnips; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; tender greens, and flavoursome gravy with which Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I started on the Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017.

Lymington Lockdown Relaxed

Although Jackie remembers one birthday on which it snowed, most of her birthdays, like today, have lived up to the epithet ‘flaming June’. She drove me into Lymington, left me there for an agreed 90 minutes, visited a garden centre, then returned to pick me up.

There I purchased a birthday card (of a pop-up owl she had the pleasure of making up herself) and a vase as the first celebratory tokens. I then walked down the length of the High Street and back up clicking away.

Individual captions can be found with each image when accessing the gallery by clicking on any one.

Regular readers will have noticed the absence of Aaron and his crew who have been very busy. This afternoon he came to carry away a vast backlog of garden refuse and to arrange to make regular visits again.

When we told him the story of the recent attempt to wreck the flower bed by being tossed into it he expressed suitable guilt at having left us for a while. This was, of course, all in good spirit. The return is a great relief.

We enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours this afternoon with Helen and Bill, who visited with presents.

This evening we met Becky and Ian at Lal Quilla, where we dined for the first time for months. It was a very pleasant surprise for Jackie, and involved more presents and delightful conversation. After poppadom starters my main course was Taba Shaslick Jalfrezi. We shared onion bahjis, mushroom and pilau rice, and plain paratha. Kingfisher and Diet Coke were the chosen beverages.

The Plant Pulley

Today was very hot and sunny. Until fatigue forced me inside I put in

more work on the stones of the Weeping Birch Bed footpath.

It is now possible once more to sit on the chair beneath the tree and look across to the Rose Garden. A raised stone sits in the foreground of this picture. I picked it out of the undergrowth with the intention of using it on the path. When the Head Gardener informed me that it was part of another path leading in the direction of the crow’s flight from the chair, I was somewhat disappointed. Ah, well.

In the Rose Garden we have, among others, Altissimo, foxgloves, Gloriana, Madame Alfred Carriere, and For your Eyes Only.

Red and white mimuluses are blooming in a hanging basket over the Heligan Path; yellow ones in a tub beside the decking.

White petunias share a pot with angels wings, and blue pansies in a hanging basket beside the greenhouse are almost fluorescent.

Planting was again Jackie’s main occupation today. Here she displays a tomato grown from seed.

She has also installed one of Shelly’s Christmas presents, namely a retractable plant hanger which, when attached to the top of the Gazebo can be applied to a hanging basket and retracted to a position giving the required headroom for passing husbands. This one certainly appreciates it.

We have a number of clumps of Erigeron and various peonies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped with an omelette and served with two preparations of prawns – one tempura with sweet chilli sauce, the other hot and spicy. We both drank Concha y Toro Reserva Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

Planting And Paving

Here is the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, scanned yesterday:

‘No-one could have doubted their being twin brothers’

‘ ‘My children, my defrauded, swindled, infants!’ cried Mr Kenwigs, pulling at the flaxen tail of his second daughter’

‘A quiet, little frequented, retired spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation’. You will usually find a cat or a dog in Mr Keeping’s drawings.

‘The terrified creature became utterly powerless and unable to utter a sound’

Mr Browdie gave his wife a hearty kiss, and succeeded in wresting another from Miss Squeers’

‘Divers servant-girls were almost scared out of their senses by the apparition of Newman Noggs looking stealthily round the pump’

‘ ‘What do you want, sir?’ ‘How dare you look into this garden?’ ‘

‘Miss Squeers elevated her nose in the air with ineffable disdain’

‘A bar-maid was looking on from behind an open sash window’

‘Stepping close to Ralph, the man pronounced his name’

The outside temperature is now hot by our standards. We made more progress in the garden.

Jackie has finished planting her hanging baskets and other containers flanking her favourite view from the stable door and along the Gazebo Path. The red Chilean lantern tree to the left of the second picture, and the yellow bottle brush plant on the right will soon be in full bloom.

These cosmos, petunias, geraniums, and angels wings in containers by the rhododendron can be seen near the end of the path on the right.

I finished the weeding of the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. I still have to find some more stones to complete the repair, but I couldn’t manage that today.

These gladioli in a trough outside the kitchen door increase each year.

Love Knot, and Gloriana, with purple aquilegias alongside, are two of the roses coming to fruition in the Rose Garden.

I only normally watch daytime TV for cricket and rugby. Today I made an exception for the 1958 version of Dunkirk, starring John Mills. As I said in my eponymous post, both Jackie’s and my father survived the event, and I had an urge to watch the film for the first time.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, baked beans, and cornichons with chilli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Setting Up For The Day

What do you do when you wake up with no internet on the first day of a gloriously sunny bank holiday weekend? And you don’t get it back until 5 p.m?

Speaking for ourselves, we were in the car soon after 8 a.m, beginning with a trip to Milford on Sea Pharmacy.

A blue clematis on the front garden trellis accompanies pink rosebuds.

Thrift, buttercups, and daisies line both sides of the coast road and the cliff edges,

which have suffered further erosion, as demonstrated by the barriers round the steps to the shore.

Jackie parked beside a marigold lined wall in De La Warr Road for me to photograph the thrift.

We anticipated that Mudeford Quay would be flooded with visitors today, but continued our journey to there hoping to be ahead of most of them.

Already, camper vans and many other vehicles were parked and arriving in steady streams.

Various groups were setting up for the day.

A trio of girls still had room to practise cartwheels.

While I was taking these photographs, Jackie couldn’t park, so had to keep moving. When she spotted me and slowed down for me to rejoin her, she was called “a fucking mad cow” by a following driver. It was perhaps a good thing that I didn’t hear this.

Afterwards we visited Ferndene Farm Shop to buy compost and more plants.

This afternoon I read enough of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ to scan the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations. I could do this off-line, but could neither write the captions nor put them into WordPress. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

This evening we dined on tangy basil-flavoured lasagne and plentiful fresh salad, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Across The Weeping Birch Bed

On another warm yet mostly dull day

Jackie continued planting, including various pots, and mending the bed into which I fell beside the Heligan Path two days ago. She had been most concerned about the foxglove which, after she had extricated it from beneath my shoulder only lost a couple of leaves. I can now see that the shrub into which I took a dive was probably the still standing euphorbia.

I made a start on reviving the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. This involved lifting stones in order to remove the unwanted alliums from beneath them and removing others from the edges. These beasts even attach their babies to daffodil bulbs from which they had to be extricated. My chair was not stable enough for this task, so after a while I used the long fork standing up, and bent when necessary. I was able to take respite by leaning on the implement, but could not crouch enough to replace the narcissi. Either I’ll have another go tomorrow or the Head Gardener will need to step in.

Aquilegias, such as those seen in the bottom right of the Gazebo Path, and the Rose Garden beds, are ubiquitous. Maybe my next weeding job could be along the Rose Garden paths which look a safer prospect.

Various shrubs, like viburnums, and rhododendrons, are spreading for summer at last.

Clematises such as the blue Daniel Deronda and the white Marie Boisselot are now flowering, and Dr Ruppel buds are raring to go.

Other climbers, for example, the blue solanums and rose Arthur Bell are on their way.

The rose scales the arch beside the Dragon Bed which houses these peonies.

This is the view from the Rose Garden, past Florence, and across the lawn towards North Breeze;

and these are, in turn, from the pieris overlooking the Nottingham Castle Bench facing the Brick Path diagonally opposite the West Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; exceptionally tasty carrots from Tesco; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

Starburst

Today’s weather was warm, sunny, and dry.

Jackie drove us to Tyrell’s Ford Hotel where we enjoyed a reunion lunch with Helen, Shelly, and Ron. We all missed Bill, who was unwell.

Jackie photographed her sisters and Ron.

We all enjoyed the welcoming environment, the friendly service, and the excellent food. My choices were whitebait starter; a main course of chicken and leek pie, chips, and peas; and Eton mess for dessert, with which I drank Flack’s Double Drop. I had no need of further nourishment later.

I photographed a magnificent rhododendron beside the car park.

On our return home, we meandered into the forest.

We stopped on a verge at the high point of Burley Road. To our left, a lone tree with bright gorse in the foreground stood out against the sky. The pairs of blue arrows lining the road are effective traffic calming measures no doubt designed to protect ponies such as the seen on the surrounding moorland. A may tree can be seen on the left.

Beside Forest Road a solitary cow stopped for a drink in the reflecting pool bearing water crowfoots and starbursts of windblown seeds.

The warm sun played with shadows among the almost human trunks and fallen limbs of trees, the pony-cropped grass, and the bright young bracken stems of Bisterne Close’s woodland.

May

I suppose it is fair to say that “we” shopped at Tesco this morning. Our usual division of labour on such trips applied. Jackie dons a mask and spends up to an hour dodging other customers to reach the aisles; I sit in the car reading – today more chapters of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’; Jackie brings a loaded trolley to the Modus; I load the purchases into the boot, and unload them into the kitchen.

On this occasion we enjoyed a brief sojourn in the forest on the way.

We visited the lake at Pilley which reflected the surrounding woodland and cloudy skies above, and still bore water crowfoots.

More leaves were on the trees, shown in our two regularly monitored views, although the water levels haven’t really changed. May blossom, more of which could be seen in the surrounding woodland, is finally out in the first view.

Our sometimes visiting grey pony did not come down for a drink, but can be seen in the distance having a lengthy scratch on a gate. Bigifying will make this manoeuvre apparent.

A small group of ponies strode purposefully across the moorland beside Bull Hill.

This afternoon I scanned another seven of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to the above-mentioned novel by Charles Dickens.

‘Lord Verisoft enjoyed unmolested the full flavour of the gold knob at the top of his cane’.

‘ ‘Closed!’ cried Mrs Crummles, raising her hands in astonishment’

‘Miss Snevellicci’s papa, rising deliberately from his chair, kissed the ladies all round’. Mr Keeping has used his drawing to support the text of two pages.

‘The door was opened by a strange servant, on whom the odd figure of the visitor did not appear to make the most favourite impression possible’

‘Sir Mulberry applied his whip furiously to the head and shoulders of Nicholas’ is a 3D image if ever there was one.

‘To the City they went, with all the speed the hackney-coach could make’

‘ ‘My son, sir, little Wackford’

Later this afternoon I all but finished my work on clearing the Heligan Path.

This was to give Jackie the surprise of the day.

Unbeknown to me she came along to see how I was doing.

Just in time to see my chair topple and tip me headfirst into a flower bed.

I was face down in a shrub, elbows on I don’t know what, and knees wedged on brick and gravel. Somehow I managed to manoeuvre my hands in a position to perform a press-up of sorts. But my knees wouldn’t budge. I really felt stuck and in excruciating pain from a combination of joints both forced where they didn’t want to be and resting on sharp objects.

Jackie tried to place the chair in a position from which I could heave myself from the kneeling posture. This could only be done if I could get at least one foot on the ground. With a screwed up face and agonising cries I managed to plant my right foot on the path. The left knee was not going to move. Jackie then found another chair which she placed behind me. Somehow I sat on it and then heaved myself up from the other.

This process took close to 30 minutes. Neither of us had a camera.

Once on my feet I was virtually pain-free and, albeit somewhat wobbly, could walk back to my desk and produce this post.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, fried potatoes, carrots and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

An Arboreal Charnel House

Although still breezy and somewhat nippy, our morning’s weather was much brighter.

Accompanied by chirruping small birds, the screeching of the greenfinch, the cooing of doves, the repeated mating plea of a wood pigeon, and the gentle buzzing of the bees,

Jackie continued her various plantings such as those in tubs, stone urns, box containers and hanging baskets;

I picked up fallen debris then went round the bend, almost completing the task of clearing the Heligan Path of weeds.

My next task will be recovering the overgrown footpath leading to the chair in the Weeping Birch Bed. I assure you there is one there.

At one point the Head Gardener popped out to Ferndene Farm Shop and returned with more compost. This enabled her to replace some older material

and use it, to the consternation of a few owls – one of which was given a dry shampoo – to refresh the soil-leaking stumpery.

After lunch we took a trip to the north of the forest.

We stopped on Cadnam Lane to admire the group of Shetland ponies with their big grey companion. By the time I had changed my lens and emerged from the car, they were all setting off into the distance. They were not going to play ball today.

The soft toys attached to a gate and railings are looking pretty soggy now.

Further along we encountered a trio of what Jackie termed “deliciously disgusting” sows.

Wherever we drive in the New Forest at the moment it increasingly bears the look of an arboreal charnel house.

On the approach to Bramshaw I disembarked and made some images that could have been found almost anywhere in our National Park, committed as its management is to maintaining the natural ecology.

The most recently sawn trunk and branches had clearly fallen across the road, for its trunk and branches have been cut up on opposite sides.

A sturdy oak supports another tree that has been ripped asunder.

One decaying trunk has taken on the persona of an almost toothless old man of the woods.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausage casserole; boiled potatoes; firm carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery

Today was one of sunshine (not much) and showers (numerous). The morning having been predicted to be the driest, we were both out gardening early. Jackie was mostly planting, in and out of the greenhouse.

I managed considerable progress on weeding the Heligan Path, until a heavy shower drove me inside and I turned to WordPress matters.

After lunch I reached the kitchen door in order to complete my weeding task. As I reached the handle, heavier rain set in. Later I tried again. With the same result. I concluded that someone was having a laugh, and applied myself to scanning a number of the last few of my Magnificent Seven cemeteries series.

The first was misfiled from my Abney Park set of late 2009. Buried with ‘General’ William Booth (d. 1912) are Catherine, his wife (d.1890), Bramwell, their son (d. 1929), and their daughter, Florence (d. 1957). Booth was the founder and first ‘General’ of the Salvation Army.

Here is a link https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk to this Christian church and international charitable organisation reporting a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents collectively known as Salvationists.

The rest are from my visit to Tower Hamlets Cemetery in March 2009.

Living trees have caused much disturbance to the repose of the dead, such as the toppling of this fallen angel and the breaking of stonework.

The Llewellyn monument is perhaps noteworthy by association.

‘The life of Dr. Rees Ralph Llewellyn (Whitechapel 1850-1921) presents a good example of the fact that not all who lived in Whitechapel were doomed to spend their lives in poverty or gruelling labour. He was born in Whitechapel itself, the eldest son of Welsh medical practitioner Llewellyn Llewellyn, and had the surgery at 152 Whitechapel Road that was also the family home. Rees lived there for much of his life and following his mother’s early death, went on to follow in his father’s footsteps, as did his younger brother Walter. 

Qualified as Matric. U. of London, 1869. Hon. Certif. in Obst., 1873. MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, 1874), LRCP (Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, 1876), by 1888 he had become the medical officer to the East and East Central London districts and he maintained a surgery at 152 Whitechapel Road. 

He was summoned by PC John Thain at approximately 4:00 a.m. on 31 August 1888 to attend  Mary Ann Nichols, whose body had been found in Buck’s Row. He conducted a brief examination, pronounced her  dead, and had the body transported to the Old Montague Street Workhouse Infirmary Mortuary. He was later recalled to the mortuary when more extensive injuries to the abdomen were discovered by Inspector John Spratling. At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, 1 September, Llewellyn conducted the post-mortem examination.

Dr Llewellyn’s testimony at the Nichols’ inquest (in which he is erroneously identified as Mr Henry Llewellyn) was reported in The Times:

The injuries were from left to right, and might have been done by a left-handed person.  All the injuries had been caused by the same instrument.”

The Times reported later that Dr Llewellyn had been recalled to the resumed inquest on the previous day and testified that  “…since the last inquiry he had been to the mortuary and again examined the deceased.  She had an old scar on the forehead.  No part of the viscera was missing.  He had nothing to add to his previous evidence.”

It appears that Dr. Llewellyn never married and lived most of his life with his siblings, first at the surgery in Whitechapel and leter (sic) in Stamford Hill where he and Walter shared medical practice. 

Stamford Hill, in north London, was then a desirable suburb on the fringes of Hackney with fine huses (sic) and was no doubt a place of choice for those with better quality of life and of course, income. Llewellyn died there in 1921, but was buried at Tower Hamlets Cementery (sic) (Mile End), back in the heart of the district where he had served most of his years.’ (https://victorianwhitechapel.tumblr.com/post/170673724059/dr-llewellyn-dr-rees-ralph-llewellyn)

Mary Ann Nichols was the first discovered victim of Jack the Ripper, London’s notorious 19th century serial killer.

‘Some dozen murders between 1888 and 1892 have been speculatively attributed to Jack the Ripper, but five are considered canonical: Mary Ann Nichols (found August 31), Annie Chapman (found September 8), Elizabeth Stride (found September 30), Catherine Eddowes (found September 30), and Mary Jane Kelly (found November 9). All but one of Jack the Ripper’s victims were killed while soliciting customers on the street. In each instance the victim’s throat was cut, and the body was usually mutilated in a manner indicating that the murderer had at least some knowledge of human anatomy. On one occasion half of a human kidney, which may have been extracted from a murder victim, was mailed to the police. The authorities also received a series of taunting notes from a person calling himself Jack the Ripper and purporting to be the murderer. Strenuous and sometimes curious efforts were made to identify and trap the killer, all to no avail. A great public uproar over the failure to arrest the murderer was raised against the home secretary and the London police commissioner, who resigned soon afterward.’

The above paragraph is an extract from a fuller article on this mystery, its lasting popular interest, and some suspected perpetrators, contained in https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jack-the-Ripper

After I had done a Bart Simpson, for dinner this evening we enjoyed oven fish and chips, garden peas, pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Second Fleet Limestone Coast Shiraz 2019.

For anyone not familiar with The Simpsons, I must explain that, not having used our super duper ovens to cook items from frozen before, and following the packet instructions to the letter, which the Culinary Queen never does, I had a wee bit of trouble carrying out the task and, like Bart, had to keep asking Marge what to do next. Eventually I was advised to pour the wine and the beer.

While we ate, hard hail hammered on the windows.