Lathyrus Latifolius Jewels

Such minimal bright light as we enjoyed today graced us early this morning. Thereafter our vision became more and more dingy.

In order to provide me with as clear a view of the bird feeders as possible our friend from AP Maintenance cleaned our sand blasted windows. This is not the usual use of the phrase sand blasted. It is what happens when the gravel pit vehicles make their daily trips past the front of our house.

 

I did manage shots of a great tit partaking of peanuts

and suet balls a little earlier. Such is their timidity that these birds swivel around clinging to their perch after each peck in order to ensure their security.

Before the heavier rain descended Jackie alerted me to the bejewelled nature of our garden plants, such as

the outstretched Japanese maple

and drooping Weeping Birch branches;

the fuchsias like Delta’s Sarah;

the spiky New Zealand phormium;

rose bush petals;

fallen leaves;

and the calligraphic curlicues of the lathyrus latifolius (everlasting sweet pea).

When not eyeing his own robin feeder, Nugget, “Where’s Nugget?” (48),

foraged on a bed of crocosmia stubble cleared earlier by Aaron.

For this evening’s dinner, which I relished, Jackie produced succulent roast pork; crisp Yorkshire pudding; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta Malbec 2017.

 

Seabirds At Sunset

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One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to erect a wooden arch to stand between the garden and the back drive. He assembled and positioned it in less than an hour. We could have done with him yesterday. He had earned his break.

This afternoon we attended a small family party to give nephew Anthony a good send-off for his trip to Auckland. His parents are Jackie’s sister Shelly and her husband, Ron. This was a very enjoyable occasion with much convivial conversation. Of the tempting assortment of dishes Shelly produced, my choice was her splendid chicken curry with boiled rice, followed by lemon meringue and fruit. I drank Abbot ale.

On our return home we took a diversion to Mudeford just in time to catch the sunset, along with squawking, wading, birds.

We were in need of no further sustenance this evening.

Arch And Antiques

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Aaron, of AP Maintenance, was assisted by his nephew, Rory, in assembling and installing a wooden garden arch. First the instructions had to be deciphered. All the components were checked off; they were fitted securely into place; the heavy structure was then carried across the garden and placed across the Head Gardener’s Walk.

This afternoon Jackie drove Elizabeth and me to the Minstead Antiques Fair. Here are images of a few sample stalls.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie, carrots, cabbage and runner beans, with which she drank more of the Cirio and Elizabeth and I drank 16 Little Black Pigs Shiraz Cabernet 2016.

Catch Me If You Can

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Aaron of AP Maintenance’s main task today was weeding the Back Drive.

Taking it in turns to stand aloof, a pair of wood pigeons, wobbling along our eastern fence, engaged in their annual mating ritual. Each time the chaser reached his target she turned her back; he feigned departure; she took up the chase. A provocative game of ‘Catch Me If You Can’. It works for any species.

Butterfly Green-veined white

Today’s butterflies were mainly white, flitting about elusively. This Green-veined variety was considerate enough to take a moment’s rest.

Brick Path

Hopefully, Jackie’s new roses planted in the West Bed will soon climb the Gothic arch across the Brick Path.

Copper beach leaves

Always the last to sprout, the copper beach leaves are putting in an appearance.

Jackie planting gladioli

Among Jackie’s plantings were Nori gladioli in the New Bed.

Sparrow on roof

From his vantage point on the roof a tiny sparrow stands guard on his family in the eaves.

This evening we are on our way to Cadnam to dine at The White Hart with Jacqueline and Elizabeth. Should there be anything of note to report, I will feature it tomorrow.

 

 

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

Recycling In Practice

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When we purchased these two pairs of cast iron gates as part of our haul from the Efford Recycling Centre on 3rd October 2015, we had an idea that they might come in useful one day. All we needed was the inspiration to come up with an idea. Accordingly, two years on, Jackie became inspired. It should, she thought, be within AP Maintenance’s Aaron’s capabilities to create an arbour over the new bench in the West Bed.

Aaron building arbour 3

Today he proved he was up to the job. Carefully placing the gates so that their ornamentation was symmetrically opposite, Aaron fixed two of them to metal supports

Aaron building arbourAaron building arbour 2

that he had driven into the soil.

Arbour in progress

They were then ready to receive the ridge pieces;

Jackie and Aaron

after the application of which designer and craftsman could relax and enjoy their creation. Because the upper frames are heavier than the lower ones a couple more supports will be added.

A cobbler is a meat dish of lamb, goat, or beef with a topping of scones. This evening Jackie served up the lamb version accompanied by new potatoes, broccoli, and manges touts (no, WordPress, not manages tools), with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Ribera del Duero.

 

 

Lacking A Certain Ambience

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Aaron building compost bins 1Aaron building compost bins 2

Aaron needed a few more boards for the front of his compost bins. I therefore accompanied him this morning to Mole Country Stores (known as Scats because that is what they used to be) to buy them. These make removable slats for ease of accessing the mature soil. As is customary, our friend, of AP Maintenance, also built the fence against which they stand. I made prints of these images for the portfolio he is building up.

SkylineCloudscape 1

Although the day started with fine weather, the afternoon grew more and more overcast.

Footrot Cottage

As we drove through East End we discovered that the house in Rowes Lane with the most unappetising name, that has been up for sale for a while, seems to have found a courageous buyer. Either that, or the vendor has given up.

Cloudscape 2Trees and clouds

As we approached The Drift Inn in ‘the heart of the forest’ the sun made sporadic appearances.

Moorland

Moorland stretched into the distance on the opposite side of Beaulieu Road.

The Drift Inn

This establishment describes itself as being a family and dog friendly traditional pub.

Dog Bar

Family and dog friendly it is.

Logs

The rest is open to interpretation. Real log fires are described on the website. Real logs were piled up behind a net

Gas fire

beside the fireplace

Don't throw rubbish

which bore this notice.

The proprietors had perhaps striven for a certain ambience that was rather lacking.

The beer was OK.

Sunset 1

After filling up with petrol at New Milton’s Tesco’s we continued in search of a sunset at Barton on Sea. A little early for that,

Sunset 2

we found one over Roger Cobb’s farm in Downton Lane.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken breasts wrapped in bacon on a bed of sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions, served with her savoury vegetable rice. I drank Casillero del Diablo cabernet sauvignon 2016.