Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s third place rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina.
Afterwards I responded to blog comments on my posts and read and commented on those of others. I don’t normally mention this because I kind of take it as read. This was a not untypical three and a half hours session.
This was a day of unrelenting showers, but after lunch I managed to spend some time in shirt-sleeves-warmth with just a sprinkling of rain to focus on roses in the garden. There are still many more plants in and out of season, but I refrained from including these, even the crops of the sticky willy weed with which we normally do battle throughout the first couple of months of spring.
Later I read more of “The Voyage Home” by Richard Church.
Elizabeth visited this afternoon to pick Jackie’s brains about selection, placement, and planting of bulbs in readiness for next Spring. I added a few thoughts.
This evening we dined on oven fish and French fries with garden peas, pickled onions and sandwich gherkins with which Jackie drank Zesty and I drank more of the Garnacha.
The fairly regular substantial showers of heavy rain that we are experiencing this week has really freshened the garden and perked up flagging flowers such as
Japanese anemones which are somewhat stunted;
solanums both blue and white like this one that cascades over a tall dead elm;
various dahlias had been dried up and hanging limp;
several of these lilies had bowed low and lost their bloom;
Absolutely Fabulous continues to live up to her name;
Flower Power has risen like the Phoenix;
For Your Eyes Only still draws insects on the wing;
Rosa Glaucas’ blooms may be over, but their hips shine with health.
This afternoon Becky helped me make a birth announcement card for Ian’s concerned stepmother. This involved printing and resizing
this photograph produced by Flo when Ellie was 6 days old, for the front page,
and this one at 14 hours taken by Dillon for the inside.
During this process, when Becky was using the mouse and I was wanting to add my input to the screen, I absent-mindedly tried to do it with my glasses case. Several times. Later, in the sitting room, Becky, who had been the last to leave the computer, casually mentioned to her mother that she wanted to wait until her Dad had shut down the iMac. Even when Jackie became impatient for me to do so, I didn’t twig what was going on. I decided to comply.
Lined up in place of the confiscated mouse were my mobile and landline phones, two specs cases, and two TV remote controls. The two ladies stood leaning in the doorway quivering with silent glee.
Ian, who had paid for yesterday’s takeaway, went back home to Southbourne late that night and so was not with us to partake of the leftovers this evening.
The rest of us grazed when we had motive and opportunity. Jackie and I enjoyed the first sitting entertained by lightning strikes momentarily illuminating the tails of cats and dogs swept along in blustering gusts lashing the windows to the sound of manic drum rolls that was another electric storm. Mrs Knight drank Peroni, and I drank Château La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020.
When I returned to write this last paragraph my white mouse had transmogrified into a bar of soap.
After a lengthy session of dead-heading, incidental weeding, trips to the compost bins, and a sit down this morning
I wandered around the garden with my camera. As usual these images are all titled in the gallery.
This afternoon we attended a family gathering at Elizabeth’s with Jacqueline, Joseph, Angela, Danni, Andy, and Ella, with Jack asleep upstairs. Sandwiches from Jacqueline, savoury rice from Angela supplemented Elizabeth’s sandwiches and cake. I drank low alcohol Old Speckled Hen. We brought home various goodies for lunch tomorrow..
The usual division of labour applied to garden maintenance this searingly hot day, although Flo had worked until it was too long after dark to see, finishing the last of the compost and plants; and filling our score of watering cans.
As soon as I had prised my nostrils from the scented rose bushes, had a long sit down and a cold drink of water, I staggered round the garden with my camera.
Then I sunk my nose into the bookishly scented ‘Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins.
Becky joined us this evening and we all dined on pizza, prawns, and salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Barolo. The others abstained. Strawberries and cream were to follow.
On another warm, humid, and largely overcast morning garden maintenance was continued.
Jackie mostly concentrated on the Rose Garden, then produced her own gallery. It was the cricket on Absolutely Fabulous that sent her indoors for her camera. She also spotted a bee and a beetle on Rosa Gallica. Winchester Cathedral, For Your Eyes Only, and Lady Emma Hamilton were all ready for their close-ups. The beetle on the leaf in the first Rosa Gallica picture may be an invasive ladybug
My work was wider-ranging weeding, dead-heading, and feeding the compost bin and bags for the dump with suitable material.
With the cordyline Australis and the Wedding Day rose in full bloom it seemed opportune for me to stick my camera lenses through the upstairs windows and produce some
shots from above. So I did.
I then spent a while completing Jackie’s driving licence renewal application on line, only to get to the very last item and be told that there had been a technical hitch which resulted in the whole effort being cancelled. Mrs Knight then repeated the process with a paper application in half the time.
Afterwards we posted the application at Everton Post Office; collected a prescription from Milford on Sea Pharmacy; visited Rosie Lea tea house, formerly The Hobler Inn, to book a meal for which Danni had given Jackie a voucher for her birthday; and, following a forest drive, purchased three more bags of compost at Ferndene Farm Shop.
Beside the stream at the start of Cadnam Lane, apparently exhausted in the heat, a trio of pigs lay flaked out. They occasionally twitched in an effort to shift the horseflies from their flanks. One sow found the energy to rise to her feet and slowly yawn.
Round the next bend ponies sought shelter in the woodland. They, too, received their share of flies.
This evening we indeed on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie; new potatoes, firm carrots, and tender runner beans, with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone 2019.
I have now read two more of The Folio Society’s 1974 selection of Short Stories by Anton Chekhov. The first, which is not illustrated with a drawing by Nigel Lambourne, is ‘The Cross of Anna’. As Elisaveta Fen, the translator, writes ‘It is essentially a story of the destruction of innocence and the folly of so-called self sacrifice.’ One of the author’s themes seems to be the desperate sadness of the widespread custom of much older men being pledged to women barely out of their teens and consequently considered heading for the shelf. My reaction to the pun of the title is also shared by Fen who states that the female lead’s ‘husband is awarded the cross of Anna, worn on a ribbon round the neck; hence the Russian title ‘Anna around his neck’ – a Russian idiom for describing an unwanted burden.’
To my mind, the next story is a tragedy of an obsessional character who manages to transfer his own fears to those around him. Elisaveta Fen points out that ‘Contemporary reviewers enlarged on Belikov’s type’s social significance and importance, treating [him] as a representative of an influential and socially dangerous class of people who threaten and bully their colleagues into conformity with absurd restrictions on their behaviour.’ I agree with the translator that he is more worthy of pity than fear.
Illustrator Nigel Lambourne has introduced a provocative element of his own to ‘Varinka was the first woman who had treated Belikov with friendliness’. It is, after all, his colleagues who thought it amusing to manipulate the prospective union of the two protagonists.
I am grateful to Maj for helping me distinguish between bees and hoverflies.
Today we were visited by both bees
Our new wooden bench was delivered this morning. This afternoon we carried it from our back gate to the Rose Garden in order to install it beneath the Agriframes Arbour. We had been pleased that we didn’t have to assemble it with flat-pack “destructions”. There was, however, a downside. The piece was quite heavy and would only just fit into the available space, so, having carted it up there we left it just outside and went back indoors to procrastinate and think about it.
This structure was to replace the smaller, white aluminium, two seater which was the previous occupant of this resting place, and really only suitable for children or small adults.
It was easy enough for me to shift that and to
leave it on the paving leading to single chair occupying the corner beyond the Little Climber rose and the fallen New Dawn.
After wrestling with the new bench we decided that lifting the fallen rose was a bridge too far, and could wait until tomorrow. Jackie relaxed on her pole and we both rested on our laurels and our new purchase,
looking at the view from Absolutely Fabulous through Festive Jewel.
Meanwhile our previous new bench still enables occupants to share the view with Florence sculpture.
Day lilies are blooming all over the garden.
This evening, after drinks sitting on our new bench we dined on our second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway, including the unopened paratha, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the CEO.
The day dawned dull yet dry; the air cool and cheerless. Nevertheless
Compassion rose, its neighbouring geranium palmatum; rose Penny Lane and her accompanying clematis Dr Ruppel flourished well enough as I made my way into the garden to gather up clippings from the Head Gardener’s morning graft.
After lunch I carried out an extensive but by no means exhaustive dead-heading exercise in the Rose Garden.
Absolutely Fabulous, For Your Eyes Only, Créme de la créme, Laura Ford, Festive Jewel, a pink rambler, and Aloha are among those that received attention.
A little later we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought another wooden bench. This was the last one in the store. It was the display item. As it was already at a reduced price there was no discount, but there was a bonus. Because it was on display we did not have to assemble it ourselves and it will be delivered tomorrow because we couldn’t fit it this form into the Modus. In football parlance this was a result.
Afterwards we continued into the forest where
beside the tidal lake at Beaulieu, a swan family were taking their cygnets for an outing, and
a human family were feeding the ducks.
Outside the Abbey two pregnant donkeys dozed and one dined on hedgerow while her son grazed for his own dinner.
Outside The Oak Inn at Bank ponies gathered on the green
and wandered in the woodland.
One in particular bore a negative tattoo of an intriguing mud pattern.
This evening we very much enjoyed an Indian Takeaway meal from Red Chilli, a new outlet in Old Milton. My main course was probably the best King Prawn Naga I have ever tasted; Jackie’s chicken biriani was equally good. My special rice was very good, and we also liked the sag poneer. There was so much that we have enough left over for tomorrow, including the plain paratha which we didn’t even unwrap. The whole meal passed what we call the poppadom test – if they are good, the rest will be. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the CEO.
On a drab, drearily dull, day I tuned into the start of the second cricket Test Match between England and New Zealand, and scanned eight more of Charles Keeping’s excellent illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Nicholas Nickleby’.
In turning ‘Nicholas found Bray lying on the floor quite dead, and his daughter clinging to the body’ upside down, Charles Keeping has given the image an additionally morbid perspective.
‘Mrs Nickleby would draw up a chair and run through a great variety of distracting topics in the most distracting manner possible’
In ‘Some of the neighbours threw up their windows and called across the street to each other’ the artist has sprawled across two pages, symbolising the crossing of the street.
‘As they stole further and further in, the old hag and Squeers were busily occupied with their tasks’ gives Keeping the opportunity to display perspective by having the foreground figure burst from the frame.
‘With eyes almost starting from their sockets, and in a fit of trembling which quite convulsed his frame, Smile was shrieking to him for help’
Keeping’s trademark dog in the street appears in the foreground of ‘To Gride’s house Ralph directed his steps, now thoroughly alarmed and fearful’
‘Ralph sat down, pressing his two hands upon his temples’
‘ ‘That’s my own brave Kate!’ said Nicholas, pressing her to his breast’
During the cricket tea interval and for a while afterwards I cleared and transferred to the compost bins some of Jackie’s weeding refuse, then wandered around with my camera.
Jackie continued planting hanging baskets and other containers
on the patio.
Other views include those beside the wisteria and along the Shady Path, where, beyond the shot containing the Arthur Bell rose,
a red climber stands over a spanning wooden arch;
the peeling bark of the eucalyptus; from Margery’s poppies through the Cryptomeria Bed; and
the Rose Garden, including
pink Mum in a Million, peach Flower Power, white Winchester Cathedral, yellow Crown Princess Margareta and Absolutely Fabulous, red and pink For Your Eyes Only, white Kent carpet rose, and pink Festive Jewel.
This evening we dined on succulent lemon chicken and roast potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; firm carrots and broccoli, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes de Gascogne.
From our bedroom window we are still greeted in the morning by a scented pink climbing rose, sweet little solanum, and ripe crab apples so far eschewed by blackbirds; and from our en suite bathroom Paul’s Scarlet still soaring above the wisteria.
While I up there taking these images
I made several garden view photographs, all featuring the Gazebo.
At ground level, we have golden mushrooms on the stumpery;
a number of thick-pile carpet roses;
and, in the rose garden, Crown Princess Margareta, Shropshire Lad, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mama Mia, all blooming well with burgeoning promise of more to come.
This afternoon I continued reading “The Guns of August”, the first volume of Barbara W. Tuchman’s history of the First World War, which I began yesterday.
This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; Coleman’s mint sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; firm, tasty, carrots and Brussels sprouts, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Faugeres.
The moon was out of bed this morning when Jackie took her camera into the garden, yet cloud cover soon rolled in. She crouched low to offer the Cobaea Scandens cup to the lingering orb. Fennel seeds, sweet pea pods, and mahonia completed the collection of silhouettes. The Assistant Photographer finished with pastel shades of verbena bonariensis against New Zealand flax.
This afternoon I cut the grass for which the expression ‘mowed the lawn’ would be a little pretentious. It seemed somewhat ambitious to hand-clip the edges so I will live to fight them another day.
The hanging basket in the top centre of the first picture contains a bright lime-green heuchera.
For a little light relief I transported Jackie’s clippings from her weeding and taking cuttings to the compost bin and bagged up some of the woody material.
Beside her the Dragon Bed’s Polish Spirit clematis and hanging baskets petunias display vibrant colour.
Bees, like this one in geranium Roxanne, went about their business undisturbed.
This variety of rudbeckia has prove quite prolific this year, whereas several others have failed.
Recents storms virtually stripped this pink climbing rose of its leaves, yet buds keep on coming,
as do those of Flower Power, Lady Emma Hamilton,
and Crown Princess Margareta, who encourages the coexistence of different generations.
The Weeping Birch Bed, like most of the others, still contains a variety of colourful blooms.
There aren’t many without a dahlia or two.
Preferring the ebb and flow and artistry of Test matches, I am not fan of T20 cricket, but, as I watched England’s innings against Australia on TV this afternoon I began to wonder whether my apathy might be a teeny bit prejudiced.
This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.