A Little Autumn Colour

For the last couple of days marauding rooks have raided Nugget’s robin feeder, ripped it off the Japanese maple, and robbed him of his food.

Jackie has baffled the thieves with a pair of hanging basket frames.

In contrast to yesterday’s dismal weather, today was clear, bright, and cold, taking every opportunity to display a little autumn colour.

Here is Margery’s Bed seen from the Cryptomeria Bed,

and sculpture Florence’s view of the house.

Weeping Birch leaves still linger

and the white solanum goes on forever.

 

Some Japanese maples have retained their leaves,

others have carpeted the lawn and paths with them.

The last scene above can be seen from the Fiveways end of the Phantom Path.

Jackie focussed on the grasses in the Palm Bed named for

the Cordeline Australis which is in fact evergreen.

Mrs Popple is one of the hardier fuchsias,

another of which, Delta’s Sarah, still attracts no doubt confused bees.

A number of pelargoniums still look down from hanging baskets, like this overlooking the Dragon bed in which

Ivy twines herself around one of the eponymous mythological figures.

Jackie spent much of the morning trying not to tread on Nugget while they were cobbling together a winter cold frame.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44a and 44b)

Wherever she moved to another location he was there first. Fortunately she took her camera.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44c and 44d)

Jackie also focussed on a sparrow with,

a pied wagtail,

and a white wagtail on the rooftop. I trust one of our birder readers will correct any errors in identification.

Late this afternoon Elizabeth visited to gather up bags of files that had remained in our single spare room since she moved out last year. She stayed for dinner which consisted of chicken marinaded in mango and chilli sauce; savoury rice topped with an omelette; and tender runner beans. My sister finished the Cotes du Rhone and I drank Chateau Berdillot Cotes de  Bourg 2018, while Jackie abstained.

 

 

 

 

Wrestling With Catalina

The weather this morning was dull but warmer than yesterday –

even enough to keep the bees, like this one weighing down the little salvia, at work. Jackie continued with her autumnal preparations. Nugget and his rival continued their armistice. Our little robin even tolerates

other small birds like blue tits

and coal tits raiding his larder.

Is this a dunnock patiently waiting its turn?

Having girded my loins enough to face wrestling with Catalina, I initiated a help chat on the Epson website. I’m sure I have enough readers who will be able to identify with the terror that that invokes. Apart from the fact that there were two changes of adviser during the process, and that one of them sent me the same download link as the previous person, this was all very helpful, and within half an hour or so, feeling rather pleased with myself, I scanned a document.

I still don’t like how they have rearranged my photographs, and it doesn’t seem possible to load them into WP without typing out again all the titles I have attached to them. These were transferred automatically before. Probably not worth losing any sleep over.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to a routine dental hygienist appointment.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Cervine Elegance

Occasional sunny spells on a clouded morning developed into bright sunshine by the time we drove into the forest this afternoon.

Jackie spent some time collecting cuttings with which to populate the

greenhouse pots.

The orange poppies that last just a day don’t normally emerge from the soil until spring. We have several clumps now. These, incongruously beside more seasonal asters, are in the Cryptomeria Bed

which also houses hot lips

still attracting bees.

The cryptomeria itself can be seen beyond the cordeline Australis lending its name to the Palm Bed;

it stands beside the laurel on the far right of the Phantom Path.

The deep red climbing rose soaring over its arch spanning the Shady Path also doesn’t know it is autumn,

although the Weeping Birch clearly has an inkling.

Elizabeth’s Bed

and the patio planting continue to flourish.

Pelargoniums still hang in baskets.

Nugget, this morning patrolled his fences. This fellow, I think, is a rival displaying discretion. I did see our own robin dive-bomb another which immediately scarpered, but he was too quick for me.

These autumn colours brighten Sway Road;

others burnished the landscape beside the A35,

and glowed beneath

an unnamed lane off Cadnam Lane,

along which clusters of mushrooms burst from the moss coating of a fallen log,

and bracket fungus clutched a living tree.

Pheasants, both cocks and hens, dared anyone actually to drive at the 40 m.p.h. limit.

On one side of Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies cropped the verge outside The Old Bakery;

several more slaked their thirst on a winterbourne pool on the opposite side.

A mare led her foal along the road

to add to the chaos caused by a broken down car.

Returning home along Roger Penny Way we were treated to a display of cervine elegance as a young stag stepped on pointe across the road in front of us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty and wholesome liver and bacon casserole (for recipe see Jackie’s comment below); roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy orange carrots, and bright green firm Brussels sprouts, with she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2017.

How He Hinders

In yesterday’s fading evening light Jackie photographed

her helianthuses Lemon Queen, complete with bee, against the phormium and mahonia reaching for the gentle sky.

Today’s skies resembled damp fleece and the air was fairly breezy. She spent the morning attempting to get on with her planting. She managed two in as many hours, including a

delicate blue and white petrovskia and an ailing

similarly hued campanula.

You might have a couple of questions about this. Why still planting new additions? And why ailing specimens? That is because this is the season that the garden centres are virtually giving away stocks and Jackie operates an excellent floral hospital service. Not only that, but the need for soil replenishment in preparation for the winter means that multiple trips to buy compost are required and it is not possible to pass up special offers whilst she is at it.

A further question might be why at the rate of just one per hour? This is where her little friend comes in.

He has various hampering techniques.

Whenever she digs a hole he plants himself on it;

whenever she tackles a root he offers assistance;

he dives between her legs;

and is continually under her feet.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (20).

Apart from a short break for her own lunch, Jackie spent the entire day in the company of her little robin.

This evening, while Nugget tucked into mashed peanuts outside the back door, the real humans dined on Jackie’s flavoursome liver and bacon casserole with champ and cabbage, with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Clay Hill

On this sunny and rather cold morning Nugget followed Aaron around the garden, darting for his prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (18).

Small White butterflies multiply by the minute, sharing the verbena bonarensises

with swarms of bees.

I spent much of the day listening to the fourth Test Match between England and Australia.

Late this afternoon we drove into the forest. Holmsley Passage was blocked by a car that had slipped into the muddy ditch. It would have been rude to have photographed it. We and another car managed to find our way round the obstacle, having assured ourselves that help was on the way.

We drove up Clay Hill at the top of which I wandered around the undulating terrain. Clouds allowed the sun to shine on occasion.

A group of ponies enlivened the landscape which was carpeted with

heather, blackberries, harebells, and gorse,

some of which had been recently burnt.

From the summit I looked down over the moorland,

then wandered along the sloping pony tracks into the woodland.

It will come as no surprise that Jackie prepared more than enough cottage pie and cauliflower cheese yesterday, with the intention of feeding us with more today; along with fresh carrots, cabbage and runner beans. I drank more of the Baturrica, from which the Culinary Queen abstained.

Unquenchable Polish Spirit

This morning Nick from Peacock Computers visited to instal a new router and to repair the interface between our TV and the You View box.

After lunch Barry from New Forest Chimney Sweeping And Repairs came to inspect our leaking Velux window. He asked me to send him two photographs, which I did.

Nugget overtook me on the Brick Path while I photographed white Japanese anemones and red pelargoniums.

Here are more of these anemones, between fading lilies and honesty seed pods.

These fuchsias, lobelia, and petunias suspended from the eucalyptus have recovered by virtue of the Head Gardener’s nurturing;

as has this unquenchable, aptly named, Polish Spirit which has twice survived the still visible windburn of the summer’s storms.

To the delight of foraging bees, new buds continue to burgeon on cosmoses.

A favourite perch for little robin Nugget stands in the Weeping Birch Bed. “Where’s Nugget?” (8)

This afternoon Jackie collected Elizabeth from her home in Pilley and drove her to collect her repaired car from a garage near us. My sister came back with the Culinary Queen and stayed for dinner, which consisted of luscious lamb’s liver (sorry, Yvonne), bacon and onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco’s Chilean Malbec 2018. Elizabeth had consumed her quota of Hophead Pale Ale on the patio beforehand. One of the advantages of a flavoursome casserole is that you can have bread and gravy if there is enough liquid left over. I did this tonight.

An Eye On Proceedings

Regular readers may know that our downstairs loo is designated ‘Print Room’ because that is what the walls carry.

She already has a copy of this one from “Christmas at Downton”, beside her computer station. Today, at her request, I printed another to be enjoyed at her convenience. This time I toned the colour saturation down a bit.

The Head Gardener worked hard on clearing and planting phlox in the rock hard Palm Bed. I transported clippings to the compost.

Nugget kept an eye on proceedings, darting to snap up any escaping insect prey

and warning bees off the nearby agapanthuses.

At the end of the day the Head Gardener transmogrified into the Maintenance Department and

framed the new print, after which, as Culinary Queen,

she produced our dinner of pork chops in sage and apple stuffing; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and Roman broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.