Compatriots

I wasn’t able to dead head all the roses today, although I carried out quite a long session with secateurs before my knees suggested that a rest might be in order. After taking one, it seemed likely that spent buds would not spoil any photographs, so I wandered around with the camera.

Here are four Rose Garden views with individual shots of Aloha, Absolutely Fabulous framed by a foxglove crescent, Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only, Rosa Gallica; and Ballerina dancing attendance.

Roses elsewhere include Wedding Day just coming into bloom on the Gothic arch; the peach rose in the Oval Bed; and Compassion beside the Dead End Path.

Bees continue to swarm around the yellow bottle brush plant and the valerian.

Purple lamium and blue petunias share one of Jackie’s pots; cosmoses feature in others. Our day lilies are proliferating; fuchsias Delta’s Sarah has proved to be hardy enough to survive our winter.

The kitchen wall display has benefited from all the recent rain.

The Palm Bed is named for the cordeline Australis which can be seen beyond its compatriot eucalyptus.

These three views are of the Phantom Path; the Shady Path; and the junction between the Brick and Gazebo Paths, the latter of which is shown from both directions.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie, firm carrots, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Navarra Garnacha Roble 2017.

Guarding The Nest

During a suitable break in the showers this morning I focussed on the refreshed flora in somewhat bedraggled bees in the garden.

Examples are antirrhinums and foxgloves;

Several bees, in their waterproofs, can be seen among these roses, petunias, geraniums, rhododendrons, poppies, and bottle brush plants.

Danni and Ella came to lunch bearing a packet of gloriosa vine corms for Jackie’s birthday. Naturally the Head Gardener planted them immediately.

During the pleasant afternoon that ensued, Danni reflected on Jackie photographing Derrick and Ella.

Later our great-niece slept on the sofa and was photographed by her mother.

Through the window above Ella’s head another proud parent, in the form of a cock sparrow, could be seen, head rapidly swivelling, guarding his nest by the side of the house,

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank Chateau des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016.

Cow Parsley

We began the day with a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop in order to buy compost, cake for this afternoon’s visitors – oh, and trays of trailing lobelia and petunias.

This led to a drive in the forest.

From Forest Road

we crossed into Braggers Lane

alongside which cotton clouds scudded over the landscape.

Thatchers Lane was next. There I noticed several saddles mounted on paddock rails. Aiming to photograph the scene I quickly changed my mind. It did not seem appropriate to advance with a camera when a woman, receiving ministrations from a pair of companions, one utilising a mobile phone, lay on the ground. Instead, I asked if we could be of any assistance. We couldn’t. Help was at hand. The lady had just been “bumped by a horse”.

I settled for images of calmer creatures cropping the field behind.

The Head Gardener is rather partial to cow parsley flavouring sections of our garden. This is not a taste I share, because I fear the kind of takeover our hedgerows are currently experiencing. They do, however, attract bees. I am no doubt influenced by the fact that Jessica, years ago in Newark, scattered seed from local fields around our orchard. It took several years to eradicate the thug.

Margery, Paul, and Jutta visited this afternoon when we spent a very pleasant time in convivial conversation, with our guests suitably admiring the garden.

This evening we enjoyed a second sitting of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away, consisting of splendid spring rolls; special rice; special noodles; chicken in black bean sauce; crispy beef; and king prawns and ginger. I finished the Fleurie and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

One Day In The Garden

Today the sun rose before 8 a.m., took an early lunch, and re-emerged in the evening.

The brighter light picked out the scenes and the plants before my dead-heading of the roses which occupied most of the morning. Clicking on any image to access its gallery will reveal titles and locations.

These post prandial photographs were produced during Phoebus’s siesta.

Apollo’s chariot crossed the sky in time for our pre dinner drinks taken on

the decking.

This gave us a pleasant glow.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away Fare with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. You will have noticed Jackie’s Hoegaarden earlier. She finished it on the decking.

The Moscow Show Trials

There was not much sun breaking through the clouds today.

This is quite useful when photographing white flowers like clematis Marie Boisselot as I did on my way to open the back gate for Aaron.

Geranium Palmatums and their attendant red fuchsias caught a touch of it as I walked along the Shady Path.

Bees were out early. This one still visited the ageing Festive Jewel in the Rose Garden into which I had been enticed by the magical scents that permeated the air.

A spider preferred to walk on the Blue Moon.

White beauties enjoying their time out of the limelight included Margaret Merril and Madame Alfred Carriere, sharing the entrance arch with Summer Wine.

Special Anniversary, Zéphirini Drouin, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mum in a Million all contributed their intriguing essences to the perfumed blend.

Despite its name the Sicilian Honey Garlic makes no apparent contribution to the mix.

Oriental poppies; libertia welcoming visiting bees; yellow irises; and red peonies enliven the borders of the Back Drive.

From a gentle amble through the garden I turn to the terrifying Moscow Show trials of the 1930s.

According to Wikipedia ‘The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against so-called Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There were three Moscow Trials: the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center (ZinovievKamenev Trial, aka “Trial of the Sixteen,” 1936), the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center (PyatakovRadek Trial, 1937), and the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” (BukharinRykov Trial, aka “Trial of the Twenty-One,” 1938). 

The defendants of these were Old Bolshevik party leaders and top officials of the Soviet secret police. Most defendants were charged under Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code with conspiring with the western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union, and restore capitalism

The Moscow Trials led to the execution of many of the defendants. They are generally seen as part of Stalin’s Great Purge, an attempt to rid the party of current or prior oppositionists, especially but not exclusively Trotskyists, and any leading Bolshevik cadre from the time of the Russian Revolution or earlier, who might even potentially become a figurehead for the growing discontent in the Soviet populace resulting from Stalin’s mismanagement of the economy.[citation needed] Stalin’s hasty industrialisation during the period of the First Five Year Plan and the brutality of the forced collectivisation of agriculture had led to an acute economic and political crisis in 1928-33, a part of the global problem known as the Great Depression, and to enormous suffering on the part of the Soviet workers and peasants. Stalin was acutely conscious of this fact and took steps to prevent it taking the form of an opposition inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to his increasingly autocratic rule.[1]

Several of the victims of these judicial farces were personally known to Arthur Koestler, the Hungarian born British novelist who penned ‘Darkness at Noon’ in their memory decades before Mikhail Gorbatchev, in the late 1980s, introduced Glasnost, thus beginning the democratisation of the Soviet Union.

I finished reading this important book for the second time today. Without naming either Stalin or the USSR the work describes the energy-sapping destruction of the will of previous leaders who were now out of favour and forced by torture to contribute to their own finding of guilt and subsequent execution. Koestler’s prose is simply elegant but he describes an atmosphere of destructive, erosive, terror in an incongruously readable manner. I don’t often knowingly read a book twice, but since Louis had been reading his copy on his recent stay with us, I was prompted to do so.

Daphne Hardy’s translation renders the book most accessible, and Vladimir Bukovsky’s introduction is eloquently informative.

George Buday’s belligerent, brooding, wood engravings brilliantly supplement the attritional ambience of Koestler’s work.

The boards are blocked with a suitably spare design by Sue Bradbury.

We are now driving over to Emsworth for a curry outing with Becky and Ian. I will report on that tomorrow.

A Blue Rinse

Welcome rain, sometimes quite heavy, fell all morning. We had to stay in anyway, because Stephen Ford came to fix the flushing system to our downstairs loo. He was prompt, efficient, and friendly. We would happily use him again.

This afternoon we posted photographic prints to my blogging friend,

then headed for the lanes around Boldre where we knew there would be bluebells, mingling with stitchwort, lining the verges and applying a blue rinse to the woodland rugs.

Bees flitted from bloom to bloom.

Field horses occupied adjacent fields.

One paused his grazing as a scavenging crow approached.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika with plenty of cayenne pepper; boiled potatoes, and mange touts. I drank El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017, another excellent bottle from the case Ian gave me for Christmas.

Number 32

One of Aaron’s tasks today was to reinforce the

wobbly posts on the entrance to the Rose Garden,

cerinthes have proliferated by self-seeding.

The Oval Path curves round the bed beyond that entrance.

Shadows fall across the Gazebo and Brick Paths.

The yellow and orange diurnal poppies are preparing for my daily dead-heading routine.

The rejuvenated red Japanese maple rescued first by me and then by Aaron a couple of years ago blends well with honesty and the background camellia.

The eucalyptus enhances a number of views.

A spreading white spirea graces the Palm Bed.

Honesty, bluebells, daffodils, and a variety of daffodils add their points of colour.

Bees busy themselves gathering pollen from the crab apple blossom.

This afternoon we all drove to The Beachcomber at Barton on Sea. This had clearly been a most popular idea. The café itself was virtually empty, but the garden was packed out. We managed to find a table and wait for our drinks. A rather wearied staff member would come out with a tray and call the relevant number of the order.

I watched one young gull preening on a rooftop, while

a black headed gull seemed taken aback by the sight of

a most glamorous dog-walker.

Smaller birds, such as sparrows, hoped to find crumbs on the tables.

Bolder starlings emptied the plates of left-overs. When they carried off their prey they were lucky if it was not snatched by the marauding gulls. This group was feasting on the scraps of number 32.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; multicoloured carrots; green beans; Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; piquant cauliflower cheese; mint sauce; redcurrant jelly; and flavoursome gravy. Jackie and Becky drank Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2018, Ian drank Kronenbourg, Louis drank water, and I drank Moravista Merlot Bonarda 2018.