Martin’s Autumn Preparation

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Uruguay.

Later, sporting short sleeved shirt on a walk round the balmy garden of sunshine and shadows, I wondered what season we were experiencing.

Martin has spent the last several weeks preparing the garden for autumn which is holding back summer.

In particular he has cut back all extraneous flora on the borders, revealing the brick edging.

Most of what we now see clearly in the beds has also been freed for viewing by him.

We don’t necessarily expect all these blooms to appear together.

As usual each image bears a title in its gallery.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s colourful savoury rice; spring rolls; tempura and hot and spicy prawn preparations followed by berry strudel and custard, with which she drank more of the blush and I drank more of the Bordeaux.

Somewhat Scary

While we enjoyed ourselves shaded from the searing heat yesterday afternoon, Flo, Dillon and Ellie engaged in an impressive gardening

stint, clearing the overgrown raised bed at the bottom of the Back

Drive, much of which our grandson-in-law cleared of weeds, before

going on to the Heligan Path.

My efforts this morning concentrated on the front garden trellis, the roses of which I pruned with long loppers,

revealing solanum and honeysuckle;

then thinned out the Oxeye daisies alongside the hydrangea and Félicité Perpétue obscuring Jackie’s view when driving out onto Christchurch Road; and finally

the clematis Montana obscuring Laraine and David’s exit from next door. Often exceeding the 40 m.p.h. speed limit, vehicles of all shapes and sizes do not slow down when passing me at work. It is somewhat scary.

Jackie continued planting pots.

Later, I converted the gallery in from Tiled to ordinary in order to recover the pictures.

This evening we all dined at The Smugglers Inn, Milford on Sea. As usual, the food was plentiful, perfectly cooked, and of excellent quality; the staff were welcoming, friendly, and efficient; even shortly after 6 p.m. the spacious establishment was fully occupied, although we were given a table presumably reserved for later, and a high chair was rapidly provided for Ellie, who readily engaged with staff and customers.

Jackie enjoyed her crisp fish, chips, and garden peas; Dillon and I our tender, lean, steak and mushroom pies;

Flo and Ellie shared massive, meaty, spare ribs.

From the dessert menu Dillon selected splendid spotted dick and vanilla ice cream; Flo a flavoursome toffee waffle, also with ice cream; and I a traditional merangue, cream, and strawberry Eton mess. Ellie appreciated her shares of all our puds.

All Hands On Deck

Soothed by today’s gentler avian chorus, Jackie, Martin, and I all worked in the garden this morning.

The Head Gardener freed a couple more metres of the bricks on the eponymous path of their green packing, leaving a few more for future treatment.

After loading the rest of the refuse on the Back Drive into his van to remove when he left, Martin completed his meticulous weeding of Fiveways and the Shady Path;

then opened up the completely overgrown Head Gardener’s Walk for wobbly legs, enabling me to reach more spent roses from The Generous Gardener, in addition to which I did the same for Arthur Bell

and New Dawn;

then snipped secateurs, strapped straying stems in the Rose Garden, extracted weeds, and transported trugs of further refuse to add to Martin’s van load.

Later, working backwards from 6th July to 28th June 2014 I changed pictures to the normal Gallery, thus recovering them to the posts, which results in cropping of some images on each post which can nevertheless be viewed in full in the galleries. This is more annoying than excessively time consuming.

This evening we all dined on beef and chicken burgers, fried onions, and fresh salad with which I drank more of the Appassimento and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Log Burning

Jackie giggled as, having boiled a kettle to wash, I emerged from the kitchen this morning. I couldn’t imagine what she was laughing at.

I then remembered photographing her in her Swaddling Clothes when our boiler was not functioning a month ago. It seems only fair, really.

Several years ago now I had chopped and sawn quite a few logs for our own woodpile. Because of all the rain experienced recently I had thought these were too wet to burn in our grate. As I sought to supplement the logs bought yesterday I discovered that some of these now well seasoned items were dry, and are now burning away merrily.

Sam Had The Answer tells of that material cut from our own garden, and, incidentally, a bonfire from much earlier.

The header picture today shows just one pile of the cuttings from the overgrown garden we took on and logs in a wheelbarrow on the Back Drive as it then was.

This evening we dined on tender roast chicken and Jackie’s colourful savoury rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Syrah.

More Sport And Dead-Heading

This morning I watched recorded highlights of the fourth day’s play in the Test match between England and India, and after lunch made a good start on dead-heading the second Félicité Perpétue rose, which regular readers will

recognise from an earlier picture on the Back Drive.

Later this afternoon I published

Early this evening I watched the last two sets of the Wimbledon tennis match between Cameron Norrie and David Goffin, followed by the highlights of the final day’s play in the Test match.

We dined on a salami and chilli pizza with plentiful fresh salad. No-one imbibed.

Becoming Tidier

Yesterday evening Flo had transferred one more wheelbarrow load of compost into the Rose Garden and another to the new raised bed at the end of the Back Drive.

This morning Jackie spread one heap on the newly planted bed,

and continued weeding the gravel path.

The borders are beginning to bloom nicely.

I began refilling the now empty compost bin.

Before lunch the Head Gardener distributed the last load of compost on the Rose Garden soil she had weeded yesterday.

The Heligan Path, weaving its way between the Cryptomeria and the Weeping Birch Beds; and the Phantom Path, separating the other side of the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds are looking tidier.

At the end of the morning I published

Late this afternoon Elizabeth visited with forms from Barclays Bank re closure of Mum’s account which should have come to me. Somebody has got their wires crossed. She will need to telephone the bank’s bereavement team again to sort this out before we can close the account.

Since we don’t have enough of yesterday’s roast meal leftovers for a fourth person we were unable to ask her to join us. That is what we will be having, with the same beverages as we had then.

The One-armed Wheelbarrow

On an overcast, more sultry, morning we cleared clippings and I dead headed.

With no change in the weather this afternoon, Jackie set about chopping up the cut foliage from the plants in the front garden corner

while I transported it to the compost bins and added the more woody sections to the ever increasing heap on the Back Drive.

The hydrangea will stay.

Later, Jackie tidied the area and took

hydrangea cuttings which will be covered with plastic bags and placed in the greenhouse

My post “Five Years On”, from October 14th, 2019 shows, not only the said drive as it was when we first arrived, but also some of the fires that dispensed with the vast amount of brushwood that we cleared from the jungle that was our garden.

It is now apparent that we will need some more bonfires that will call into service the one-armed wheelbarrow in the same way as one was employed before.

Later this afternoon I posted

This afternoon Elizabeth came with baskets of dirty washing to avail herself of our washing machine because hers has died. This took some hours and she shared our takeaway meal from Red Chilli. She and I finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge while Jackie started on another bottle of the Pinot Grigio Bluch.

To The Lawn Bed

Yesterday Jackie cleared the bank outside the Back Drive gate, leaving brushwood on the gravel path for attention today;

this morning she worked on removing the stump of a scentless and rarely flowering philadelphus, while

I cleared the Back Drive debris;

and further strengthened the arch spanning the Phantom Path by inserting supporting angle irons that she had recently begun. On this day of sunny intervals it was difficult to walk through the garden without admiring the

Brick Path looking towards the house,

or through the Gothic arch now festooned

with mina lobata.

Later, the Head Gardener completed the task of extracting the philadelphus stump, and that of

a leycesteria in the wrong place;

filling in the holes and covering the gaps with broken pieces of marble which once bore the much abused wood burning stove that we inherited from our vendors, thus completing the

opening of the view from the West Fence to the Lawn Bed. The last nine photographs are Jackie’s.

This afternoon I posted

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata; crisp broccoli, and tender green beans, with which she drank Dolomiti Pinot Grigio Blush 2020, and I drank more of the Faugeres.

Continuing Maintenance

On a much brighter morning Jackie trimmed the lower limbs of myrtle while I bagged up the clippings and added them to the row awaiting the local recycling centre.

This, and further tidying, work has improved the views from the patio and down the Dead End Path.

Also in receipt of attention has been the Westbrook Arbour and that beside the clematis on the Wisteria Arbour. It was Mark and Steve of A.P. Maintenance who tidied up the Westbrook clippings this afternoon. They also dug out the roots of unsatisfactory un-flowering forsythia and thorny berberis; took away the garden refuse,

mowed the lawn; and continued weeding the Back Drive.

Meantime, I transferred the compost in the wheelbarrow beside the Oval Bed, shovelled the last of that in the centre bin into the barrow and started to fill the space again.

Later, I read a rather beautiful Anton Chekhov story, namely “The Lady with the Little Dog”.

The spare, subtle, descriptions of place, scene and situation contribute their own appeal to the tale of illicit lovers who struggle with living two lives – one conventional and stifling, the other secretive and stressful. As translator Elisaveta Fen observes ‘The story has indeed a rare delicacy and poignancy in its portrayal of the first genuine love between an innocent young married woman and a middle-aged married man with many love affairs in the past. They see no way out of the impossible situation, yet go on hoping against hope that a solution somehow will emerge’, even if it takes a very long time.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; new potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.

Chekhov Stories

On an even hotter day today we started gardening even earlier.

While Jackie concentrated on tidying and watering,

despite the efforts of another dislodged and overhanging climbing rose, I

cleared another arm of the Rose Garden of weeds.

Just before lunch, Mark and Rob, two of Aaron’s team, arrived to set about the Back Drive. Mark pruned the hawthorn and Rob began the weeding.

A typically insightful post from josbees sent me back to reread

Nigel Lambourne’s frontispiece, ‘ ‘I followed Zinochka stealthily and saw …’ ‘ is suitably enigmatic.

The cloth boards and spine are printed with the artist’s images. The spine is rather faded, and a little spotty, but it is almost 50 years old.

Zinochka and the young boy feature in ‘Hatred’ (1887). Elisaveta Fen, in her introduction states that ‘the tale, told by a middle-aged man reminiscing about an incident in his childhood’ displays the author’s ‘seemingly effortless penetration into the mental processes of a small boy…..’conveyed with great economy and as convincingly as his more detailed analysis of the psychological states of characters in his later stories’. I would agree with these observations, but am left wondering why the adult heroine maintained hatred for her young brother-in-law for spilling the beans about what he had seen. I am reminded of a charismatic late lifelong friend of mine who inspired either love or hatred and once said to me that he didn’t mind which people felt, as long as they did not find him boring. Did Zinochka feel two sides of the same coin?

‘The girl curled herself up in the case’ illustrates ‘A Romantic Adventure with a Contrabass’ (1886). I would agree with Fen’s opinion that ‘It’s humour is light and gentle, characteristic of Chekhov in a playful mood’.

I will feature more as I work my way through the book.

Late this afternoon we drove to Pilley lake for our roughly weekly record photos. From both sides the further receding is apparent; for the second of the two shots across the reflecting lake I shifted the viewpoint to take in the foxgloves and the brambles.

On the moorland at East Boldre the cattle mostly sat and chewed the cud, while the ponies stood and grazed or chewed each other’s necks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delightful savoury rice; prawns of the tempura and hot and spicy variety; and tandoori chicken tikka, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie started a couple of days ago.