A Turning Point



Last autumn, Jackie bought a job lot of gladioli corms, having no idea what colours would emerge. She was so excited by these blue ones that she had to tie up as a protection from today’s steady rain descending from a granite sky, that I just had to brave the elements to photograph them.

The Ashes series of 2005 was one of the greatest cricketing contests between England and Australia. This iconic photograph from Getty Images of Andrew Flintoff comforting Brett Lee after a fighting innings which just failed to snatch the Edgebaston match from England is considered a picture of one of the most sporting moments ever.

That series was a turning point for cricket in England for three reasons. The first is that BBC lost the recording rights of International cricket to Mammon, in the form of Sky Sports, who outbid them. This means that those young children, whose resurgence of interest in the game formed the second point, could only watch live games via a subscription to the media giant.

My grandson Oliver was the third reason. In the Spring of that year, I had taught him the basics of batting and bowling in the garden at Newark. He watched the series, closely studying the batting techniques on screen. By the end of the Summer, although I still had something to offer as a  bowler, it was apparent that I had nothing more to teach the lad whose skills far exceeded mine.


By August 2007, when I made these colour slides scanned today, the eleven year old boy was an opening bat for the lower sides of Sanderstead Cricket Club.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect, spicy, pork paprika with splendid savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Eszterbauer Sogor Kadarka 2015.


The Butterfly Net

Paving 1Paving 2

Jackie and I spent the morning weeding whilst Aaron and Robin continued refining their paving. This involves finishing of the ends with brick cut to shape with an angle iron. There are only the central joins left to be completed. We are so fortunate that the proprietor of A.P. Maintenance is such a perfectionist.

We now have several crocosmia blooming.

According to my research, this one is Xcrocosmiiflora. Jackie says it’s ‘common or garden monbretia’;

Crocosmia Xcrocosmiiflora

Crocosmia Lucifer

about Lucifer, there is no doubt.


Jackie grew these marigolds from seed.

‘When did you take that?’ bemoaned The Head Gardener. ‘I dead-headed those this morning’.

The air was positively aflutter with butterflies this afternoon.

Butterfly Comma on echinacea

Commas abound. Here one seeks camouflage on an echinacea;

Butterfly Peacock on stump

as did this Peacock on a dead stump. It kept me waiting, back bent, lens poised, before opening its wings. With these closed, the creature looked just like a crack in the bark.

Butterfly Green veined white on verbena bonarensis

I think this, on a verbena bonarensis, is a Green-veined White.

Butterfly Red Admiral on hebe

Is this poor, battered, Red Admiral a reincarnation of February’s Battle-Scarred example?

I have written before of the penchant of Chris and I, when we were very little boys, for collecting various insects. Between us, my brother and I did not possess a camera, but we did have a butterfly net. Many happy hours were spent, mostly unsuccessfully, dashing around what were, to us, head-high fields, gleefully waving this weapon in the vague direction of the adult versions of the caterpillars that had so horrified our grandmother. What we actually did with the unfortunates we did manage to snare was not meant to be unkind. After all, when we stuffed them into jam jars, we did insert a few leaves and bits of grass, and punctured the lids so that they could breathe. I don’t imagine that these imagos lived out their, albeit brief, natural span. My current collecting is done with a camera.

Anyone driving to us for the first time, is likely to miss the existing sign on the front wall facing directly out onto the road. Jackie has therefore made another that she has fixed to the angled wall so that at least people coming from the direction of Christchurch, can’t miss Old Post House sign

If you aren’t interested in cricket, you may prefer to skip the next paragraph. If you are an English cricket fan, you may prefer to skip the next paragraph. If you are an Australian, whether interested in cricket or not, you probably wouldn’t want to skip the next paragraph.

I made the mistake of watching the TV highlights of the second Test match at Lords. Australia had, in their first innings, scored 566 runs for eight wickets. They then bowled England out for 312. Before lunch today, the visitors had taken their overnight second innings score to 254 for 2, at which point they declared their innings closed, leaving England 509 to make in more than a day and a half. Less than five hours later, England were all out for 103. It was nothing short of slaughter.

This evening, Jackie and I shared our hob in producing fried egg, bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms, baked beans, and toast. We enjoyed the rest of Shelly’s apple pie and cream, with half each of a chocolate mint brought back from the Veranda last night. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and, despite it not being the most suitable accompaniment for a fry-up, I drank Louis de Camponac merlot 2014.