The Lady Of Shalott

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Cricket match 6 – Version 2

This morning I made this crop of a photograph taken at Burley in May, and Jackie turned it into a birthday card for Bill, whose party we were to attend later.

Aaron pruning Philadelphus 1Aaron pruning philadelphus 2

Among the various tasks carried out by Aaron was heavily pruning a spent philadelphus.

Aaron pruning philadelphus 4

Bending the branches took a bit of effort.

Fuchsia Delta Sarah

This fuchsia Delta’s Sarah is spreading along the west side of the patio.

Petunias

A stand of petunias,

Lilies

and these rather splendid potted lilies prepare for the arrival of the base for the greenhouse to be delivered during the week.

Dahlia

Dahlias continue to enliven the borders,

Japanese anemone

and the first Japanese anemones are springing up.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses are coming along nicely,

Bee on New Zealand hebe

while the New Zealand hebe now attracts the bees, eager to fill their pollen sacs.

Gladiolus Priscilla

Priscilla, the frilly gladiolus is coming through in the New Bed;

Rose Peach Abundance

 roses like Peach Abundance are having another flush;

Echinaceas

and paler pink echinaceas have risen to join the darker red ones.

This afternoon we travelled by car to Poulner where we enjoyed Bill’s birthday party. We sat and conversed in the pleasant company of Helen and Bill’s children David, Rachel, and John; Rachel’s fiancé Gareth and John’s wife Stephanie and their children, Billy and Max; Gareth’s mother, Mo, and stepfather Fred; Shelly and Ron; and. of course the birthday boy and Jackie’s sister, Helen.

Gareth and Fred

Gareth got the barbecue going, taking us through the smoky stage.

John at barbecue

John took over to give him a chance to clear the vapours from his eyes.

Barbecue

Between them they produced a variety of roasted meats to go with the salads prepared by the ladies.

Guests reflected in window

Here is a group of the male guests reflected in a window.

Max and hands 1

Great aunts eagerly took it in turns to cuddle two and a half month old Max.

Shelly and Max

Jackie handed him to her younger sister

Max and hands 2Max and hands 3

Max and hands 4Max and hands 5Max and hands 5

who eventually handed him back to his mother whose hands he explored.

Bill 1Bill 2

Bill was his usual engaging self,

Billy in tub of balls 1Billy in tub of balls 2Billy in tub of balls 3

and, in a tub filled with plastic balls, his young namesake did a passable impression of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott as painted by many Victorian artists.

I mostly drank a fine Argentine malbec, and sampled a splendid strawberry trifle and cream tea scone for dessert.

A Sausage And How To Eat It

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This afternoon we visited Danni and Andy for a housewarming barbecue. First we were given the guided tour of their lovely Victorian semi-detached house.

Washing lines

I couldn’t resist photographing their distant neighbours’ washing.

Andy tending barbecue

The contemporaries of my niece and her husband, some with their children, and older relatives like us, all enjoyed the produce of Andy’s barbecue, and salads made by Elizabeth and Helen.

I will mostly let the randomly placed photographs convey the joyful atmosphere.

Danni decided that I should be photographed, and chose to capture me demonstrating how to eat a sausage.

Needless to say, we needed no further sustenance on our return home.

‘Mum’s So Lucky’

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Aaron, who is A.P. Maintenance, made much further progress on the fencing he is now building to repel the abandoned North Breeze boarders.

Aaron fencing

I made him an A4 print of this shot. He was very chuffed with it.

Gladiolus

The sunlight providing the dappled effect soon disappeared, so it wasn’t available by the time I noticed the gladioli Priscilla blooming in the New Bed.

Robin joined Aaron a little later, and they ran out of nails. Jackie and I bought some more from Mole Country Supplies.

This afternoon drove to Shelly and Ron’s barbecue in Walkford, a little later than planned. Jackie had made some wonderful rice and egg salads as a contribution to the event catering. In my keenness to render assistance in the transfer of the dishes to the car I had

Smashed balsamic vinegar

a minor mishap with a fairly full glass bottle of balsamic vinegar that I managed to knock from a cupboard onto the tiles below.

Ever since 18th September 2013 when I perpetrated an even more disastrous spillage, we have had a catch phrase, ‘Mum’s so lucky……..’ This, it’s full form continuing ‘……… to have Dad to help her’, was coined by Becky to describe such an incident. Those words passed my lips as I began the task of clearing up.

We arrived safely, and enjoyed the usual brilliant barbecue with plentiful salads, and desserts. We shared a convivial and entertaining few hours with the usual gang, friends for over thirty years, and relatives, including Helen and Bill, Anthony, Neil,and Donna. I believe a certain amount of alcohol was imbibed.

Slightly Better Than Expected

The Canonical Hours are the seven prayer times in the day developed by the Roman Catholic Church. Ritualised offices are said, at three hourly intervals, in private or in groups. In her novel ‘China Court’, which I finished reading today, Rumer Godden has chosen to give each of her seven chapters a name of one of these hours.E3_double2

Mediaeval books of hours offered hand-written and -illustrated devotional works. They are the most common manuscript works of the period. Each of Godden’s chapters is headed by quotations from two of these.

James Joyce spans just twenty four hours in his rather more lengthy ‘Ulysses’, but Rumer Godden’s tale, a saga of four generations of occupants of ‘China Court’, covers a much greater time span. So why has she chosen to present her work in this way? That, I cannot tell you, for it would reveal too much. It is well worth reading the book to find out.

There is, of course, much more to relish in the novel. Slipping seamlessly backwards and forwards through the years, we learn about those who have lived in ‘China Court’. Opening with the death of a key figure, holding all the tapestry together, it is the story of the house, but far more, of those who have lived in it. We are treated to the author’s trademark beautiful, descriptive, writing and her insightful characterisation. An example, which fits with the time theme, is how seasonable changes in the garden are detailed. Close attention has to be paid to the narrative, for so seamless are her time switches that they are unannounced, so you suddenly find yourself transplanted into the lives of other generations. If, like me, you read in bed, it is not advisable to tackle this one when you are sleepy.

Ron barbecueing

Despite rain falling steadily all morning, Shelley and Ron persevered with their planned barbecue. By mid-afternoon the rain had cleared and the event continued, to be enjoyed by Jackie and me and most of the usual guests. Convivial conversation ensued. The delicious fare was similar to that provided on 9th. I drank Doom Bar and Jackie drank Carlsberg.

Traditionally, English Bank Holiday events are ruined by rain. This one wasn’t, as the weather was slightly better than expected.

 

Park Life Curtain Call

Today I finished scanning the Park Life prints from 20th July 1996. Here is the third and final set:

Park Life 20.7.96039Park Life 20.7.96040Park Life 20.7.96042Park Life 20.7.96043Park Life 20.7.96044Park Life 20.7.96045Park Life 20.7.96046Park Life 20.7.96048Park Life 20.7.96047Park Life 20.7.96049Park Life 20.7.96050Park Life 20.7.96051Park Life 20.7.96052Park Life 20.7.96053Park Life 20.7.96APark Life 20.7.96BPark Life 20.7.96CThis afternoon, Jackie and I enjoyed a barbecue at Cathy and Rob’s in Highcliffe. This was the first dry day in four, so we were all very fortunate. Very good quality tasty burgers and sausages were supplemented by various plentiful salads, and cakes like Helen’s famous black forest gateau.

 

A Mirror Image

Jackie planting Aloha In erecting a climbing frame for the juvenile roses, Aaron completed his invaluable contribution to their playground. The top bar was the stair rail; the posts had been found lying about in the undergrowth; we bought the retaining spikes. Jackie couldn’t wait to plant the Aloha. Jackie drove us to Mat and Tess’s new home in Upper Dicker, for lunch. Becky and Ian arrived before us. August in our popular holiday area meant that the journey took three hours. After enjoying a splendid lunch and spending a most enjoyable family afternoon together, the return journey occupied half an hour less. 2438442_167b58d2Village Shop rear Our son and his wife are in the process of buying The Village Shop, which I have featured several times, the spacious flat above it, and a two story outbuilding. Tess has been running this shop for some years now. This surprisingly spacious building, approximately 350 years old, is steeped in history, and full of character. SaladSausages and chops We lunched on the garden table. As always, Tess catered admirably, providing an array of salads to accompany Mat’s proficient barbecuing of sausages and lamb chops. Various beverages were also consumed, and excellent coffee accompanied the DIY desserts. Desserts

The DIY aspect of this was to assemble your own selection from the choices on offer.

We were rather plagued with wasps. These fearsome little creatures swarmed over the table, some drowning themselves in the beer and wine, others escaping from the glasses.Wasp in glass

Occasionally those we fished out of our drinks would shake themselves dry and crawl off in staggered zigzags.

Sunlight through wineglass

Sunlight played tricks, making me think I was seeing one of the insects reflected on my napkin.

With the addition of nectarine juices to traces of wine, my lips became increasingly attractive to the vespas. I am firmly of the opinion that if you don’t disturb wasps, they won’t sting you. Therefore, when they choose to crawl on me, I leave them to it, grit my teeth, try not to emit the smell of fear, and hope for the best. Having two of them trample across your bottom lip, tests your resolve to the limit.

So it was today. I was reasonably courageous until I began to feel a pricking sensation. I wasn’t being stung, but it was getting a little uncomfortable. I eventually realised that one of the creatures was drilling into my lip in search of the source of the tempting juices. At that point I welcomed the attentions of Matthew and Jackie and their wafted serviettes.

Mat, Tess & Scooby

Mat and Tess borrowed Scooby for a family photograph

Matthew and Becky 5.75 03

that turned out to be almost a mirror image of one of Mat and Becky taken in Soho in May 1975.

Behind Mat and Tess is their additional building.

A Ring Of Truth

Early this morning Jackie, Don and I shopped in Acres Down Farm shop and went on to All Saints Church, first described on 24th December last year.  While Jackie diverted to Minstead Village Shop, Don and I wandered around the churchyard in bright sunshine, before we all three explored the inside.Blasted yew

Particularly interesting to our friend was the ‘blasted’ yew, a seven hundred year old tree that fell apart some years ago and regenerated itself.Clover and dandelions Daisies and other wild flowers The wild flowers now in evidence include clover , dandelions, daisies, and buttercups.

When we returned, I decided to tackle the problem of a rejected e-mail password.  This time I got BT’s representative on the telephone to reset a completely new code.  As usual, Jackie being the primary account holder, he needed to speak to her first.  Unfortunately he got the wrong end of the stick and changed her password.  This required putting right and involved a box filled with ‘funny writing I can’t read’.  All this took time and I had to interpret the ‘funny writing’, fortunately getting it right.  The man kept having to put us on hold and check with his supervisor.  Eventually he returned to me and reset the replacement password.  It worked.  For about an hour.  Then the new one was rejected.  I have now come to the conclusion that my BT Yahoo account has been well and truly hacked.  I can’t face it any more at the moment.  So don’t send me any e-mails.

My head still full of the computer problem, I sat in the garden watching the birds with Don, whilst Jackie prepared the evening’s barbecue.  The company and avian interest helped calm me.  Don is one of three friends I have who are pretty knowledgable about birds.  He helped me distinguish between the various tits who visit the feeder. Blackbird juvenile I observed that it was becoming possible to identify birds some distance away on the lawn by their outline shape, their posture, their gait, and how they hold their tail-feathers.  Apart from the pied wagtails, the blackbirds brought me to this conclusion.

Talking birds with Don, it was natural for me to mention my friend bo Beolens, who has written a number of bird books and who, as Fatbirder, runs an international birding website. This turns out to be one of Don’s favourites on his computer. Lesser Antilean Bullfinch I proudly brought the site up on screen and showed him the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch which illustrates bo’s Barbados page.  The photograph was taken by me in Barbados in 2004, when I was there to see Sam arrive at the end of his Atlantic row.

Late in the afternoon Becky, Ian, and Flo arrived with Scooby and Oddie.  We then enjoyed the various sausages, chicken tikka masala and array of salads Jackie had produced in the kitchen.  That seems to me to be the sensible way of preparing a barbecue.

Oddie in Derrick's garden chairOn 28th March I described how Matthew’s dog, Oddie, always dives into my chair whenever he has the chance.  Because Mat and Tess are on their way to visit Sam and Holly and their children in Croatia, Becky is looking after Oddie and therefore brought him with them today.  Would you believe it?  Even in the garden he nicks my seat.

It was natural that with Becky and Don together, we should tell some Lindum House stories.  One of today’s was of the intruder.  One balmy evening as we sat in the snug watching television, about twenty years ago, we heard someone coming down the stairs.  As usual in the summer, we had left open the double doors at the front of the house.  A young man was then seen to walk past the window, making his way to the bottom of the garden.  I set off in pursuit.  He started running.  So did I.  After him.  He began to climb the fence between us and the Parletts in Lindum Street.  I grabbed him, pulled him down, and frogmarched him into the house.  Calling out to Jessica to telephone the police, I sat on him at the foot of the stairs.

I soon realised he was drunk.  He kept going on about a fishing contest with the Working Men’s Club.  After the event, he and his friends from Grimsby had gone off drinking in Newark.  He was making his way back to the Club.  His team coach was parked outside in the road.  It dawned on me that all this had a ring of truth.  It would be easy enough for me to take him out to check on the coach.  I asked Jessica to cancel the emergency call.  She attempted to do so, but it was not possible.  It stands to reason, really.  The uninvited guest could have been standing with a gun to my head.  Actually he was lying between the bottom step and my embrace.  For the whole forty five minutes it took for the officers to arrive.

As, after satisfactory explanations, I took him up the drive to the open gates, down the path towards us walked about five of his mates.  They had made the same mistake.  And sure enough, there, on the road between us and the Club, was a coach. Lindum House, you see, was a Victorian reproduction of the former grand Georgian house next door that now hosted social activities of the town’s working men.