Magnus V. Kings Grantham

As yet unacquainted with Robert Frost, last night I read Paul Muldoon’s introduction to the Folio Society’s selection of his poems. I must admit I found it difficult, and hope I will get on better with the poetry. New beds Whilst I have been unable to render much help in the garden, Jackie has continued with her sterling work. Among other tasks, she has created two more beds where the log pile once lay. Separated by a boundary formed from a tree root and bricks, the one at the rear is an as yet inchoate shrubbery, and that in the foreground, filled with flowers.Clematis Montana arch 1Clematis Montana arch 2 The clematis Montana, emanating from beneath the poorly-looking, bright yellow-leaved tree, has been trained, with the aid of a branch pruned from another, to form an arch between that and the dead trunk, down which it now cascades. The tub in the left foreground of the first picture is destined to be adorned with a pot of flowers. To its left is a retrained fuchsia, yet to bloom. The weak morning light, filtered by cloud cover, is kinder to the photographer of white petals, obviating burning out the detail. Yesterday’s prints are contained in my photograph album spanning the period from December 1994 to August 1995. Today, I scanned another batch, this time from January ’95, recording a rugby match between Magnus, Newark; and Kings, Grantham schools. Sam Magnus rugby 1.95 001

Sam, the Magnus captain, to our left of the referee, faces his opponent at the kick-off.

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Here, Sam’s great friend, Lewis Cove makes the ball available with scant regard for his own safety. Lewis was as recklessly rampant, putting his body on the line all over the field, as was his Leicester and England namesake, Lewis Moody. Five years later, our Lewis was coaching in South Africa, and Sam was captaining Wadham College, Oxford.

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Sometimes it is best to shut your eyes and hope for the best.

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The referee pulled a muscle;

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a replacement pointed the finger; the game continued

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under new direction, and Sam went foraging in a ruck.

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With the ball on its way, forwards are poised for the line-out leap.

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At half-time there was the usual tactical talk.

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Kings Grantham’s scrum seems to have collapsed.

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Someone has obviously screwed up here.

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Finally, Sam is prepared for a leap, as I was in Jessica’s 1982 photo.

Elizabeth had this last print in a folder of my pictures that she ‘borrowed’ for an album she made for Mum’s 80th birthday. She has only kept it for 12 years. She brought the whole selection back this evening, so we had to feed her. That was fair and reasonable really.

The meal consisted of roast lamb, parsnips, potatoes, and vegetables; crisp cauliflower and cabbage; and onion and red wine gravy, followed by pineapple syrup sponge and custard. Elizabeth and I finished the rioja.

I must be getting rather blasé about this blogging lark. WordPress have sent me a happy anniversary notice, celebrating my third. I had forgotten.

The Agriframes Arch

Rose CompassionBirch leaves, verbena petals, nasturtium leavesAfter yesterday’s constant rain, a bright morning lent a sparkle to everything in the garden. The Compassion rose was sprinkled with raindrops; as the broad nasturtium leaves that had halted the descent of those of the birch, and petals of verbena bonarensis.
Clerodendrum trichotomumClerodendrum trichotomum 2This clerodendrum trichotomum had the appearance of a parasol-shaped cocktail stick bearing a drop of Delboy’s pina colada, as featured in the long-running TV comedy series, ‘Only Fools And Horses’. It should have had a dark blue cherry fixed to the ferrule. Perhaps that has been eaten.
I took my usual Hordle Cliff beach Families on shinglewalk. On this sultry summery morning, ringside seats on the shingle were filling up fast.
Soon after midday we took delivery of an Agriframes Classic Gothic Arch, and set about assembling it and putting it in place. This was to occupy us until the light faded as the sun began to settle itself down for the night.
Jackie pondering instructionsEven Jackie was flummoxed by the totally inadequate instructions that were enclosed. She needed my input to help decipher them, which, as my regular readers will know, is really saying something. A favourite of the R.H.S. gardens at Wisley, this elegant structure comes with a fifteen year guarantee. This is quite crafty really because it could take several of those years, before it is exposed to the elements, to construct it.
At the midway stage, we were advised to fix the bottom poles into the ground. A hole-maker was provided for the purpose. This metal pole was easily driven into the soil on one side of the path the arch was to straddle. On the other side, a few inches down, I struck an immovable object. Stone? Concrete? I wasn’t about to find out. We moved the site until all four holes could be pierced to the required depth. From then on it was comparatively plain sailing. Until we found we had two screws left over. A minor panic ensued as we carefully checked each spacer bar. There were none missing, so we decided someone on the assembly line must have been feeling generous.
White bush roseThe need for the arch was occasioned by a beautiful mature white rambling rose that was, during the summer, running rampant over the surrounding shrubs. Jackie had pruned it heavily earlier in the Agriframe archyear as it was becoming a danger to passers by. Once we had erected the arch we trained much of the rest of the rose onto it. There is still tidying up to be done, but we had had enough for one day.
This evening Jackie will drive us to New Milton to collect Louisa who will stay overnight and leave with us early in the morning for Chris’s funeral. We will all be early to bed with Jackie’s lamb Jalfrezi inside us.

A Result

Today being Jackie’s birthday, her choice of activity was to work in the garden. Oh joy.
We managed to postpone finishing off yesterday’s task by going on an arch hunt. Otter Nurseries in Everton didn’t have metal ones; Everton Nurseries had some but they were too small; so we went off in the opposite direction to Stewart’s in Christchurch where we had seen the very thing when we bought the tower/obelisk. Albeit more expensive than the Gardman product, this was much more robust and exactly the right size.
They only had the model on display. We could have it with a 25% discount because it was the last one, and a bit dusty. The very helpful young man dismantled it for us and helped us into the car with it. I commented that it was a pity we didn’t have a bigger car then he wouldn’t have had to dismantle it and we wouldn’t have to reassemble it. Jackie commented that her drive was much easier than had been the one with Elizabeth’s rose arch occupying all three passenger seats and part of hers. We had bought that at the Bishop’s Waltham Garden Fair in May 2012. It did not come flat-packed, as it had been handmade by a local craftsman. There was no room for passengers in the car, so Jackie had to drive alone with the lanky rustic creation attempting to cuddle her all the way to The Firs.
The trip to Otter Nurseries wasn’t exactly wasted because they had a special offer on four bags of gravel, so we bought some.
Straight after lunch I attacked the lonicera, brambles, and ivy once more. Yesterday I showed you what the view over the fence looks like. This is what the lonicera looks like through the remnants of fence after I have hacked it back:Lonicera tangle
Again, a sister and brother in law provided an opportunity to take a break, by making a visit. This was Shelly and Ron who also brought more of the plants they have been fostering. GeraniumsAll the flowers, including these geraniums, have thrived through a comparatively mild winter under Shelly’s attention.Chinese lantern treeRose
Ron, having broken his heel, was somewhat restricted, but I was able to take Shelly round the garden. Among all the other interesting specimens we have, the Chinese lantern tree is now in full bloom, and a red climbing rose enhances the back of the house..Robin While Jackie joined Shelly on her tour, I sat and chatted to Ron. The bird feeders have now been erected and he and I watched a young robin trying them out.
Before and after enjoying our visitors’ company I tackled the undergrowth behind the broken arch,and Jackie cleared the front, and fully exposed the edge of the path. The Virginia creeper and all the brambles mentioned yesterday had choked and obscured a very leggy climbing rose which possesses one red bud.
Before attempting to reassemble the new gothic arch, we needed to untangle, and free from the surrounding vegetation, the creeper and the rose. We decided to give the Virginia climber a most severe skinhead haircut in order to allow the rose to toss out its tresses. Jackie climbed the stepladder to tie up the limbs. The arch was fairly  straightforward to put together, a little less so to set astride the path. But we managed it and are very pleased with the result. In fact, in football parlance, to obtain the last one the store was ever going to stock, at such a discount, was in itself a result.Jackie sweeping by new arch
This photograph was taken from the Heligan Path, which would not have been possible much more than a week ago. Yesterday, the large tree to the left of and behind the climbers on the arch, was obscured by undergrowth, as was the metal rail and knotted jumble behind that, which is the subject of the first picture above. Incidentally, this clearance seems to be adding about four feet to the width of our shrubbery.
Dinner this evening was delicious chicken jalfrezi (recipe) with mushroom rice and vegetable samosas accompanied by Cobra beer.