I Was Transfixed

Ace Reclamation delivered our rose garden furniture this morning, and Jackie and I set it up.

Rose Alan Titchmarsh

Rose Alan Titchmarsh has bloomed.

UnknownAlan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE, DL, (b. 2.5.49) , was the subject of quite a bit of banter on yesterday’s post, but, in all seriousness, if anyone deserves to have a rose named after him it is this well known garden expert. An English gardener, broadcaster, and novelist after working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, he has established himself as a media personality through appearances on TV gardening programmes, the current one being ‘Love Your Garden’. In this series, members of the public who have been nominated by others for his garden makeover are the recipients of an instant, themed, creation.

Elsewhere in the garden many scented roses, like Compassion are well into their second flowering.

Rose Compassion

Here is a view of the Shady Path across the Dragon’s Bed:

View across Dragon BedPG

Elizabeth visited briefly for lunch.

Paving completion

This afternoon Aaron finished his paving, by carefully inserting fiddly bits he had cut out with an angle grinder. Along the eastern fence lies old timber and spikes for him to build a support for climbers on that side.

Jackie in view from Rose Garden bench

The lighter wood just visible is our old stair rail. The view is from the bench.

Jackie in view from Rose Garden entrance

Others are from the entrance;

View from Rose Garden arch

from the rose arch;

View from Elizabeth's Bed corner

 from Elizabeth’s bed;

View across Rose Garden from second armchair

and from the second armchair.

Whilst digging a hole for a rose, quite some way down, Jackie unearthed another historic coin of the realm. What’s historic about a 1983 £1? If thirty two years doesn’t seem a particularly long time ago, you may well ask.£1 coin

When was the first £1 coin issued? You’ve guessed it. Jackie may well have dug up one of the very first minted. It bears a young head of the current Queen, Elizabeth II, and has clearly not benefited from perhaps more than three decades underground. When this piece was shiny and new in April 1983 it would have bought a packet of 20 cigarettes, five pints of milk or 30 minutes at a Manchester United match. Today you pay closer to £8 for the fags, £2.50 for the milk and see only three minutes of the football. But some things are cheaper: while £1 would only get you four minutes on a landline phone call at peak time in 1983, today it would give you at least 10 minutes.

Kept in a soil, gravel, and clay safe, its value has not really been enhanced.

Throughout my first 41 years £1 sterling was paper money. It wasn’t even the lowest denomination note. Until decimalisation in 1971, that was ten shillings or 50% of £1. These notes both feature in ‘Then The Tableau Spoke’. I found two at different times before about 1952. It was then worth taking one to the police station and handing them in as found property. If such items were unclaimed after one month, they were yours. I recovered each one.

Nowadays, I doubt whether anyone would consider £5 to be worth going to that trouble. Volume193Our current £5 note is a pathetic little scrap in comparison with the “White Fiver” of my first fifteen years. The 1793 design, with black printing on white paper, remained in circulation essentially unchanged until 21 February 1957, when the multicoloured notes were first introduced. You could still use the old note until it was withdrawn on 13 March 1961.

When I was about seven, I found myself in a shop, probably queueing.  I really don’t know what the establishment was, or who was with me.  But I can still see the large, thin, sheet of printed paper measuring, I now know, 211mm x 133mm, brandished by a gentleman. ‘Know what that is, boy?’ he asked. The question was rhetorical. He quickly followed up with the answer. ‘A £5 note’. So transfixed was I by that object that I have no idea what the man looked like.  I’d never heard of such a sum, and never saw another “White Fiver”.

This evening I watched the highlights of the second day of the Edgbaston Ashes Test. England completed their first innings with a lead of 145. Australia followed this with 168 for 7. In other words, a five day match was virtually over in two days.

Our dinner consisted of chicken Kiev, chips, and baked beans. I know, It sounds dicey, but it was delicious, especially with the Georges du Beuf beujolais 3 villages 2013 Danni and Andy gave me for my birthday. Jackie, of course, drank Hoegaarden.

P.S. After posting this, we watched a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ‘A Secret Adversary’, starring Jessica Raine and David Walliams. Very early on, Jessica Raine’s character had her mouth stuffed with screwed up flimsy paper I instantly recognised as a “White Fiver”.

Confusing Exchange

Upper Drive bent tree

Here is one I made earlier.

I forgot to post this Upper Drive shot yesterday. Trees in the New Forest don’t just fall down. They grow into all kinds of unusual shapes, such as this one forming a perfect arch through which one can glimpse the A31.

Last night I began reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel ‘The House of the Seven Gables’.

After an early lunch today Jackie drove me to Donna-Marie’s in Poulner where I was given my quarterly haircut. Fortunately the weather is a little warmer at the moment. We then went on to Lidl in Totton for a shop. As is not unusual, although we had only gone there for milk, a trolley was requested. We managed to fill it.

As is well known a coin is required to free the supermarket trolley from its chain of companions. Inserting your £1 into the slot pushes out the locking key and you may take your wheeled contraption into the store. Having made your purchases and loaded your car you push your key into the last trolley in the line, out pops your £1, and the key remains in the other basket on wheels until someone else inserts another £1, and so on ad infinitum. Until, that is, one customer has difficulty understanding what he must do to obtain his trolley, consequently holds up the proceedings, and the person waiting to return his and collect £1, decides to confuse the issue even more, by suggesting that he swaps his trolley for the other gentleman’s £1.

Today, I was that helpful stranger. It seemed quite straightforward to me. But not to the struggling newcomer. He grasped my trolley, clearly wondering what was in the transaction for my benefit. Perhaps this was because he was more than reluctant to hand over his coin. There he was, one fist wrapped around the trolley handle, and the fingers and thumb of his other hand gripping £1 as if he had a wrench attached to his arm.

His companion, who had readily agreed to the exchange, tactfully informed me that he would not be happy until I tried to put the £1 he had given me into the slot occupied by my original coin. Of course it wouldn’t budge. I think it then became clear to him that what we were actually doing was swapping coins and when he had finished shopping, he would be able to receive his part of the bargain and collect my £1. Whether or not this was so, he released the coin he had been hanging on to, and allowed me to dash off with it before he changed his mind.

Just writing this out is doing my head in. Goodness knows what the encounter did to his. Or the reading to yours.

On our return down Upper Drive we witnessed the unusual sight of three donkeys foraging where I had wandered yesterday. Donkey 3Donkey 2Donkey 1Even ponies and deer are rare visitors to this small section of forest, so it was quite a surprise to see donkeys there.

Early this evening I took a clamber around the outside perimeter of the grounds. I have written before that the garden is surrounded by its own trees and shrubbery merged into the forest and bounded by a strong wire fence. The house having been built high up on the site of an Iron Age hill fort, the land beyond the fence drops sharply. I followed a path trodden by surer footed creatures than me, who did not have to travel hand over hand clinging to the fence on the left or leaning on a tree to the right taking a clockwise direction. Only once did I slither, slide, and career down the bank coming to an abrupt halt as my outstretched palms eagerly slapped into a welcome forest giant.

Reaching a point from which I could progress no further, I discovered where the deer gain ingress and egress. Broken fenceOvergrown rhododendrons and fallen trees have brought the boundary wire down to a level which perhaps I could, in my distant days as a second row forward, have leapt. When we next enjoy a clear morning light, I will make a photo shoot.Castle Malwood Lodge at dusk Finishing by circumperambulating the lawns I watched the sun sink behind the building. DaffodilsThe first daffodils are coming into bloom.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi (recipe), with spicy wild rice (turmeric, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon  and garam masala added to the boiled version). I drank Wolf Blass cabernet sauvignon 2013 and the chef didn’t.