The Roble Turnberry Bench

This morning we bit the bullet, unpacked, and assembled the new wooden Roble Turnberry bench. The last picture in this gallery shows what I look like when I have just straightened after an extended bending of my knees.

As can be seen from the first of these seated pictures we took of each other, the agony soon passes.

We have moved the new bench up to Fiveways, where we can enjoy the same views as Florence sculpture.

Here are some of Jackie’s planted urns, the first containing the last surviving purple tulip; the second, petunias and geranium against honesty in the bed behind; the third, some of her many pansies.

While I was at it, I photographed campion, rhododendron, aubretia, aquilegias, and Welsh poppies fronting the budding Chilean lantern tree.

Later this afternoon we will be driving to the Lamb Inn at Nomansland where we will meet Elizabeth and Danni for our first permitted inside a pub meal since the last lockdown that was forever-ago. I will report on that tomorrow.

Water Feature In Situ

This morning I scanned the next half dozen of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’.

In ‘Even her weeping and her sobs were stifled by her clinging round him’ her dress flows like her tears.

Dickens’s description of the attendant, complete with whiskers, is faithfully depicted by Keeping in ‘Mrs Prig began to rasp his unhappy head with a hair-brush’

‘ ‘Pray, pray, release me, Mr Pecksniff’ ‘

The identifiable Mr Pecksniff, ‘Looking like the small end of a guillotined man, he listened’, as the artist runs with the writer’s image of the eavesdropper’s head above a pew.

In ‘ ‘He comes and sits alone with me’ ‘ Keeping demonstrates the unfortunate desperation of the couple skirting around engagement.

As hollow-cheeked as the writer describes the man, the artist captures him as ‘He sat down on the chest with his hat on’

This morning I transported the larger water feature from the patio to its permanent place in the Rose Garden, then photographed a few of our current blooms.

We still have a range of daffodils; numerous tulips; various wallflowers; forget-me-nots, primroses, lamium, wood anemones, honesty, and euphorbia.

This afternoon I watched the funeral service for the Duke of Edinburgh.

(Yvonne, you may skip the next paragraph.)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome liver, bacon, and onion casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and tender cabbage, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the red blend.

It Did Not Stay For Its Close-up

After lunch today I scanned the next five of Charles Keeping’s idiosyncratic illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, displaying the artist’s liquid line in expressive portraiture.

‘Martin and his friend followed them to the door below’

‘On his livid face was one word – Death’

‘Whole troops of married ladies came flocking round the steps’

‘ ‘Pinch him for me, Cherry, pray,’ said Mercy’

‘The agent was swinging backwards and forwards in a rocking-chair’

Soon afterwards we set out on a short forest drive.

Pearly blackthorn still drapes the hedgerows. We noticed a meringue version at East End; a cascade behind a cock pheasant on Sowley Lane; and scoops of cream alongside St. Leonard’s Road.

Also at East End the pale blue lightly-clouded sky provided a backdrop for bare birches, skeletal oaks, and a yachting weather vane.

Oaks along Sowley Lane have bowed to years of prevailing winds from the Solent, beyond which is the Isle of Wight, creating the third layer in the rape field image. Screeching gulls, excited by the soil-churning of a distant tractor, advanced inland – silhouetted dark against the sky, and light against a line of birches.

While I photographed bright purple aubretia and gold and cream lichen decorating the old stone wall of St Leonard’s Grange,

a passing car flattened a hen pheasant, roughly in the centre of the picture, upon which a ravenous crow immediately alighted. Disturbed by the cyclist, it did not stay for its close-up.

This evening we reprised Jackie’s lemon chicken and egg fried rice meal, with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank Recital Languedoc Montpeyroux 2018.

The Head Gardener’s Photoshoot

We had fun this morning helping Louisa – on the telephone, of course – to provide clues for an Easter Egg Hunt for Jessica and Imogen. Jackie came up with one of the best: ‘Toying with this clue will shed light on the answer’ would lead them to the toy shed in the garden. Because there are no sport programmes on Sky, Errol has cancelled his subscription to the sport section of that provider. Louisa and I between us managed ‘Not so much Sky can be seen here. Poor Dad’ – this for the family T.V.

This afternoon I entered the front garden with the intention of watering the pots. I found Aaron had already done it. That was a result.

Jackie took the garden photoshoot today, so all I needed to do was put all this together.

It was a good wheeze to place tulip pots on a table to obtain these angles.

As can be seen from these shots and the view across the garden to the bare copper beech, Aaron moved the blue wooden table and chairs back onto the patio for the summer.

A range of daffodils continues to delight.

For her focus on honesty the Assistant Photographer chose the bed beside the greenhouse and the Dragon Bed. This year she could have found it almost anywhere.

Her ammi seedling is progressing nicely.

Ajugas are often small and retiring. This one stands proudly erect.

The large wisteria is sending out its grape-like blooming bunches.

Buds about to burst include perky peony

and ornamental onions.

Stained glass songbirds swoop over a startled metal owl.

Erigeron bend well with either iberis,

or osteospermum;

angels wings contrast with red Japanese maple and carmine pelargonium.

Jackie is particularly enamoured of the yellow maple in the Palm Bed

Aubretia brightens edges of paths.

Whoops. I pressed publish prematurely. We are having wholesome soup for dinner this evening. Like me, you will have to guess what it is.

 

Sunshine And Shirtsleeves

Today was one of sunshine and shirtsleeves.

While Jackie worked on the Oval Bed I carried a few trugs of refuse to the compost bin, and a few cans of water to the Head Gardener. It may seem hard to believe that the plants need watering at the moment, but we have not received rain for a while.

We have bright magenta aubretia.

Bees are very much in evidence. Interestingly they seem to prefer yellow flowers, selecting that hue from this pot of tulips, particularly ignoring this

pale pastel specimen nearby.

Celandines have nestled beside one of the

two pots of tulips

brightening the Rose Garden.

We have a number of creamy yellow primroses

and golden cowslips.

Hoping that some would successfully germinate Jackie had buried clusters of wood anemone corms around the beds. We now have numerous clumps.

She is even more delighted to find the first blooms of her new camellia Jury Yellow.

Various euphorbias are also flowering.

Overhead, the copper beech still bears bare branches

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa Freckles continues to adorn the iron gazebo;

while summer snowflakes defy the season.

Jackie also photographed snowflakes with daffodils;

honesty which promises to be prolific;

new shoots on a pink carpet rose;

backlit honeysuckle leaves;

and her own perspective on the Rose Garden.

Nugget put in a few fleeting appearances, showed no interest in the worms the Head Gardener was unearthing, and declined to spare the time to pose.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken soup with crusty bread from the freezer. The soup consisted of the compost base made yesterday with plump chopped chicken breasts, crispy bacon, peas and sweetcorn. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquirez reserva Navarra 2013.

Dressing Chef

I wandered around the garden in today’s early morning light.

Alongside the magnolia Vulcan stand the first of our rhododendrons in full bloom.

The small diurnal yellow and orange poppies that crop up everywhere have woken up;

forget-me-nots also thrust through soil and gravel at will;

even more ubiquitous are honesty,

and bluebells.

Iberis, aubretia, dicentra, hellebores, daffodils, and primulas are thriving, although perhaps the ant has nibbled the last of these.

Rusty Duck keeps an eye on some of the primulas and the lamiums.

Hairy pulmonaria breathes in the sunshine.

Florence sculpture has a good view of the yellow Japanese maple.

The Shady Path catches the sun.

Camellia petals carpet the soil.

Greenhouse geranium cuttings will soon be planted out.

Elizabeth and Jacqueline came for coffee and stayed for lunch for which

Jackie mixed the coleslaw, after which, she regretted that she hadn’t left it for the superbly competent Louis who

mixed the salad and its dressing. It was only after he had crushed peppers using a couple of dishes that he realised we had a pepper mill. Each ingredient to the dressing was carefully added with a little tasting.

Seven of us sat down to the meal. I am not in my place because I was behind the camera.

My two sisters left to visit our mother this afternoon. The rest of us dined this evening on roast duck; roast potatoes; yellow and orange carrots; cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce, and tasty gravy. Louis drank Corona, I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017, and the others drank Portuguese Rosé.

My Second Nonagenarian Visitor

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On a lightly overcast afternoon Jackie, plonking Mum’s stool to order, followed me on a short perch-hopping spree in the garden. I enjoyed two vantage points in the patio, one at the head of the Brick Path, and one beside the Westbrook Arbour.

In the meantime Jackie enjoyed herself planting.

Here are some of the corners on which I focussed. The two new wooden chairs on the decking were intended to replaced a collapsed wickerwork model which was destined for the dump. In the event, Jackie was unable to part with it and planted it up as seen in the third picture in the gallery.

Mum

Soon afterwards, Mum,

Jacqueline

driven by Jacqueline,

was the second nonagenarian to visit in two days. We spent several hours reminiscing and swapping medical notes and experiences.

This evening, for the two of us, Jackie fetched a takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori in Pennington. We started with excellent prawn puris. My enjoyable main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken sag.

Nothing For It

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I spent a considerable number of frustrating hours attempting to secure internet access today. I will not bore anyone with the details. Looking on the bright side, I decided to tackle the paperwork for my annual tax return. This went quite well until I tackled my bank statements, which I receive on a quarterly basis. The most recent batch has not arrived. “No problem.” I thought. “Now I bank on line I can take the necessary details from there”. …………… “Ah……..”.

There was now nothing for it but to wander round the garden with my camera in hand and a mobile phone in my pocket. There are, of course, less pleasant ways of spending my time.

The clematis Montana now drapes the front wall upon which a trough of blue pansies smile; the potentilla now dances with the vinca.

The sweet scent of the wisteria pervades the area beneath its arbour.

Buds of blue irises and red poppies are simply biding their time.

While I wandered and emptied a trug or two into the compost, Jackie continued replenishing soil and planting in beds and containers.

These verbascum look down on similarly hued Erigeron,

Cow parsley in Dragon Bed

just as the cow parsley soars above everything else in the Dragon Bed.

pansies and clematis Marie Boisselot buds

In the Kitchen Bed’s stone urn white pansies bridge the season of faded white daffodils and that of clematis Marie Boisselot, whose buds can be observed in the obelisk behind.

Geranium Palmatum

The first of the geranium Palmatums, which will soon arrive in abundance, has lined up along the Shady Path in line with heucheras,

Shadow on heuchera

on the leaves of which a hebe casts its shadow.

Erigeron, aquilegia, vinca, alliums, silenes

Erigeron, aquilegias, vinca, alliums, and silenes crowd each other in the Weeping Birch Bed,

aubretia and wild strawberries

as do aubretia and wild strawberries in the Oval Bed opposite.

Butterfly Small White, honesty

Small White butterflies flitted about.

Rosariae de L'Hay corner of Rose Garden

Rosariae de L’Hay enlivens its corner of the Rose Garden.

This afternoon, until I was back on line, I continued reading John Le Carré’s The Night Manager.

Dinner this evening consisted of Jackie’s excellent pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I consumed A Dark Apothic 2015 Californian red.

 

 

 

 

Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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LONE PICTURES JUST NEED A CLICK FOR ENLARGEMENT.

Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

What Has Been Happening

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Today, shyly, a warm sun peeped periodically through the slow moving clouds, which released no rain. This gave an opportunity to wander around the garden to explore what has been happening whilst we have lurked inside.

The winter flowering cherry still has no idea that its season is over.

Views from the paths are enhanced by

continuing varieties of camellia,

daffodils,

 hellebores,

and pansies.

Comparatively new arrivals are epimedium, honesty, comfrey, aubretia; and

wallflowers, blending with

euphorbia, that with its fly, like the alliums, attracts insects such as the bee and the tiny creature on the wing to the right of that.

This evening we enjoyed a second helping of Oliver’s Chinese takeaway, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Ribera del Duero Camino Nuevo 2016