Preparing For Ophelia

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

(Gwen and Yvonne, divert your eyes when it comes to the culinary coda)

Compared with what has been inflicted on Wales and Ireland by the albeit waning hurricane Ophelia, we have got off lightly.

Chairs lain down

This morning we made our usual preparations for protection from strong winds, notably laying down chairs, pedestals,

Pelargoniums and marigolds

and hanging baskets.

Towards midday a fleeting glimpse of a bright red version of yesterday’s solar discs was seen peering from behind the billowing smoke

Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 6Clouds 7Clouds 8Clouds 9

 that was dark slate-coloured clouds. By the time I had gathered up the camera the sun had disappeared. The temperature was so unseasonably warm as to give the impression that there was, indeed, a fire somewhere.

Birds flying against clouds

I suspect that the birds thought they must be having a sleepless night;

Clouds and weeping birch

but the weeping birch still hung unmolested.

By early afternoon the sky had lightened and the sun played upon the garden.

Pansies

These pansies still brightened

Patio planting

the pots outside the kitchen door.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsias etc

Fuchsias are among the flowers still blooming beside the greenhouse.

Pelargoniums 1Pelargoniums 2Pelargoniums 4

Various pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums 3

including this sweetly scented one;

Begonias

and begonias still defy the coming of the first frost.

Petunias

Delicate striped petunias thrive in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Dahlias

and white dahlias in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose Just Joey 2

Among the rejuvenated roses are Just Joey,

Rose Aloha

Aloha,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia,

Rose Peach Abundance

and, photographed later, when the wind was getting up and making this spray elusive to the lens, Pink Abundance.

Weeping birch in wind 1

The weeping birch was now waving about,

Cordyline Australis

as was the Cordyline Australis.

Weeping birch 2

I wondered how many of these leaves would be in place in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine liver and bacon, new potatoes, cabbage and mange touts, with which I drank Chateau Bonhomme minervois 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Part Of The Day

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Friends Rob and Helen visited for lunch today. They arrived late in the morning and remained until early evening. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon catching up with each other.

For lunch Jackie had made a superb leek and potato soup followed by plentiful cold meats and salads. Rob and I shared a bottle of Languedoc red wine of 2016 vintage.

Helen and I began early on a photographic tour of the garden.

Helen K photographing 5

She used a very impressive Fuji bridge camera,

Helen K photographing 2Helen K photographing 3

and actually focussed on some of my own favourite subjects, such as begonias

Helen K photographing 4

and the rose For Your Eyes Only.

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Alongside the latter, Lady Emma Hamilton is rejuvenated,

Rose Garden 2

Rose Garden 1

continuing to bloom in The Rose Garden where red antirrhinums still thrive.

Leaves on table

Autumn leaves are beginning to fall. Some, suspended in spiders’ webs, wait to reach this glass table on the decking.

Back drive barrier plants

Among the clematises enjoying another flowering are these in the Back Drive Barrier boxes, leading the eye from the purple petunias to the now reddening leaves of Virginia creeper on the back fence;

Clematis and Japanese anemones

and this one sharing Margery’s Bed with Japanese anemones.

Iron urn planting

Petunias continue to cascade from the iron urn,

Petunias, begonias, New Guinea impatiens

and from the hanging basket over the Shady Path. Begonias are planted in the bed below and New Guinea impatiens shares the basket.

Fuchsia 1

Here is today’s example of a fuchsia. Helen created many good images of these and others.

Gazebo Path

We walked up and down paths like the one termed Gazebo

Margery's Bed at corner of Gazebo Path

sharing the corner of Margery’s Bed with the Phantom Path.

Rob

Just before lunch Jackie and Rob joined us.

Trunk of regenerated tree

Rob was intrigued by the regeneration of the apparently dead yellow leaved tree that has live stems on either side of the wasted trunk.

Given that rain set in early this afternoon, we had chosen the best part of the day to concentrate on the garden.

Jackie and I just grazed on small plates of salad this evening.

“So Much Colour”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning Jackie continued her autumn clearing and planting in the garden. This afternoon I tidied up a bit then wandered around with my camera.

Petunias, geraniums, and erigeron

Petunias and geraniums continue to glow, with bright little erigerons still standing proud;

Hanging baskets over Shady Bed

and diascias and begonias adding to the music.

Hat planted up (bee on marigold)

The lead hat on the patio wall would grace an Ascot attender,

Bee on marigold

although she might not be happy about the resident bee.

New Guinea impatiens and fly

Other insects enjoying the warm weather include this fly on a New Guinea impatiens.

Fuchsia in Dragon Bed

Fuchsias are among the delights of the Dragon Bed,

Fuchsia in Kitchen Bed

of the Kitchen Bed,

Fuchsia and fennel in Elizabeth's Bed

and of Elizabeth’s Bed.

Oval Bed

That second example, via dahlia Coup de Soleil, continues the chrysanthemums’ colour in the top left hand corner of this Oval Bed view. The yellow nasturtium peeping into the bottom right hand corner is just one of

Nasturtiums, salvia microphylla, California poppiesNasturtiums

many rambling around the garden.

Palm Bed rhododendron leaves

Rhododendron leaves in the Palm Bed form a sinuous shape with the rudbeckias,

Palm Bed -Japanese anemones and rudbeckias

seen in the same bed dancing with Japanese anemones;

View through eucalyptus to weeping birch

or taking the eye through the regenerating eucalyptus to the yellowing leaves of the weeping birch.

Kitchen Bed eucomis, ginkgo, fennel

A similar yellow palette is taken up through the Kitchen Bed by way of the eucomises, the potted ginkgo, and the bronze fennel;

Diascias, geraniums, dahlias

whereas the pale pink diascias in the iron urn lead us to the hot geraniums and dahlias beyond.

Dragon Bed

A dragon stands proud, protecting plants in its eponymous bed.

Chilean lantern tree

Still the Chilean tree produces lanterns,

Colchicums

while gentler hued colchicums sprawl across the soil opposite.

Heligan Path begonias

Begonias still glow in their hanging basket alongside the Heligan Path over the Cryptomeria Bed,

Penstemon

and sunlight has a similar effect on this penstemon.

Rose Garden

An array of supporting plants accompany the roses in their Garden,

Festive Jewel

where such as Festive Jewel display several generations at once.

Grass Patch

Even the patch of grass delights in the day.

Perhaps this is what John meant when he came to paint the garden and observed “so much colour”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken with her especially savoury vegetable rice – itself a veritable complete meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the sangiovese.

P.S. See my response to Luanne below as a recipe for the vegetable rice.

 

 

Aaron Knows The Score

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

We have experienced an intermittently leaky kitchen extension roof since we arrived here. The amount of infiltration has depended upon the wind direction rather than the quantity of precipitation. One person has already allegedly repaired it – not very effectively.

Sid mending roof 1Sid mending roof 2

Sid, a very personable extra pair of hands, has joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today he mixed up cement and mended the roof properly.

Aaron removing stump 1Aaron with chainsaw

Aaron pruned a straggly climbing rose, and cleared more of the West Bed including stripping dead and intrusive growth from another palm, and sawing off an exposed tree stump we hadn’t known was there. When I told him that Sid had spotted a cracked tile and asked if we had any more, and I had replied that we had, but I would need to ask Jackie where they were, Aaron gave her yet another title. “The Maintenance Department”, said our friend, who knows the score.

Just to show willing, I assisted The Head Gardener in her general maintenance tasks this afternoon by occupying myself dead-heading.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

This is, of course, the season for showy dahlias

Chrysanthemums

bright, bushy, chrysanthemums,

Nasturtiums

and snaking nasturtiums;

Honeysuckle

but I am surprised to see honeysuckle rising again in both back and front gardens.

Geraniums

Geraniums

Begonia 1Begonia 2

and begonias cling on to life;

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

and fuchsias like Mrs Popple dangle away.

Rudbeckia

We have some multicoloured Rudbeckia;

Salvia Hot Lips

the aptly named salvia Hot Lips;

Cosmos

and long-lived cosmoses.

Rose For Your Eyes Only

The apparently everlasting For Your Eyes Only keeps company in the Rose Garden with

Rose Just Joey

fresh flushes of Love Knot,

Rose Laura Ford

Laura Ford,

Rose Mamma Mia

and Mamma Mia.

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis

The Small White butterflies are still enjoying the verbena bonarensis,

Bee on clematis

and bees still gather pollen provided by such as this clematis.

Turfcutter's Arms (Jackie)

This evening we returned to the Turfcutter’s Arms

Roast belly of pork meals

for a roast pork dinner. Jackie drank Peroni and enjoyed a chocolate sponge dessert with ice cream; my choices were Ringwood’s Best and fruit crumble with custard.

 

 

“Just Like Daddy’s”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This morning I became a veritable barber in a dead-heading spree.

Front garden from my window

I began with the prolific Japanese anemones in the front garden.

Japanese anemones 1

As I look out of my sitting room window each morning, I think of that excellent blogging poet Pleasant Street, who commented recently that she preferred to see older blooms alongside the fresh ones, “like life”. Although our reason for dead-heading is not vicariously to deny the effects of ageing, but rather to promote new growth, Pleasant certainly has a point. In deference to that I have left the blooms immediately in view to nature.

I also gathered up some of the branches broken by the winds. As the day continued the winds gradually returned to approach the 60 m.p.h. expected this evening.

Palm Bed

Remarkably little damage has so far been incurred. Here are the Palm Bed;

View from circular brickworkKitchen Bed corner

the corners at the house end of the Brick Path;

Gazebo Path

the Gazebo Path;

Elizabeth's Bed

Elizabeth’s Bed;

Solanum and clematis

the solanum and clematis draped on the dead tree;

Dahlias 1

perked-up dahlias;

Petunias and begonias

petunias and begonias in large pots;

Chrysanthemums

chrysanthemums;

Rose Gloriana

and rose Gloriana.

Small white butterfly on verbena bonarensis 2

The Small White butterflies flitted around everywhere.

Molly's Den display 1Molly's Den display 3Molly's Den display 4Molly's Den display 5Party dresses

This afternoon Elizabeth visited and we took a trip to Molly’s Den, where I photographed a few random displays.

Molly's Den display 2

Not quite so random was this scene, taking me back to one Christmas in the 1980s.

Ironing board

Louisa would have been about six or seven when Jessica and I bought her an ironing board. “Just like Daddy’s”, was her delighted cry.

This evening, before Elizabeth returned home, we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika and wild rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank more of the Fleurie.

One That Didn’t Get Away

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

In anticipation of the expected 45 m.p.h. winds we were out early this morning battening down the hatches.

Chairs and plinth grounded

Chairs

Hanging basket on ground 1Hanging basket on ground 2Hanging basket on ground by eucalyptusHanging baskets on ground 1

and hanging baskets were grounded;

Phantom Path

trugs, like this blue one on the chair at the west end of the Phantom Path were upended;

Gladiolus

I lifted this flowering gladiolus’s broken stem and wedged it between another and the bamboo support. It was rather ragged but deserved a lift.

Small white butterfly on Japanese anemone

This Small White butterfly hadn’t heard the weather forecast.

Dahlias Coup de soleilDahlias, poppy etc

Iron urn

Dahlias, of course, are in season;

Verbena bonarensis

verbena bonarensis goes on for ever;

Salvia

salvias and snapdragons still thrive,

Begonias etc

as do some begonias.

Rosa glauca hips

Hips, like those of Rosa Glauca, glow, glistening.

kniphofia 1

Kniphofias are having a second flush,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2Rose Crown Princess Margareta

as are roses, including Crown Princess Margareta, although most are showing signs of age.

Kitchen BedElizabeth's BedSouth end of gardenGazebo Path 2Gazebo Path 1Cryptomeria Bed

Most of the beds are still vibrant.

Ferns

We have many ferns. A Japanese Painted Lady sits in the centre of these.

Jackie planting bulbs 1Jackie planting bulbs 2

Jackie spent some time planting bulbs,

Jackie digging up bramble 1

and dived into the Kitchen Bed

Jackie with bramble

to emerge like a triumphant angler with a lengthy bramble.

Sid has now joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today they switched to the afternoon. By then the wind had really got up and the rain began to fall, leaving its mark on Jackie’s lens when she took some of ,these photographs. In less than two hours

Sid mowing lawn

Sid mowed the grass;

Aaron pruning eucalyptus 1Aaron pruning eucalyptus 2

 Aaron transformed the eucalyptus, seen here blowing in the wind,

Aaron and Sid checking eucalyptus pruningEucalyptus

to this;

Cordyline Australis

the pair removed an extraneous buddleia, thus revealing the trunk of a Cordyline Australis which they stripped of dead lower foliage;

Cypress clippings

smoothed out the gravel on the back drive, and took away all their cuttings and the contents of one of our orange bags.

Weeping birch 2Weeping birch 1

The boughs of the trees, for example the weeping birch, were whipped by the wind, and, by the time the maintenance crew had left, the rain was hammering down.

Shelly and Ron visited this afternoon. Ron investigated our drainage system; I printed the pictures from Ron’s party for them; and Shelly brought some of her own freshly picked runner beans which Jackie and I ate for dinner, along with chicken marinaded in Nando’s tasty mango and lime sauce, mashed potato, and carrot and swede mash. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

 

 

 

The Quiet Coach

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Yesterday afternoon Jackie drove me to New Milton where I boarded the train to Clapham Junction. Luci met me there and transported me to her home in Hambalt Road, where I added my signature to various documents as joint executor of Wolf’s will.

We then spent the evening together enjoying wide-ranging conversation about our long term friendship, reminiscing about my friend, and thinking forward to the future. Luci cooked a very tasty lamb meat loaf served with sweet potatoes and salad followed by a chocolate sponge with blueberries and strawberries. We shared a bottle of Wolf Blass red label 2016. I stayed the night in preparation for our visit to the Probate Court.

BegoniasBegonias etc

Luci’s well tended small paved back garden is full of mature shrubs and large pots planted chiefly with begonias.

Buddleia etc

A buddleia is trained against the back fence,

Geraniums

and red geraniums reach out from a hanging basket.

Clapham South Station

In the middle of the morning Luci drove us to Clapham South Underground Station nearby  which she parked the car and we continued our journey to Chancery Lane by Tube.

Bicycles chained up

Only yesterday evening our friend had been speaking of the increase in cyclists taking to the roads in London. Those machines chained to railings immediately outside the station and opposite bear witness to this.

Conker tree

Conker trees are coming to fruition on Clapham Common,

Jogger

on and past which joggers exercised.

Bus in traffic

This No 50 bus approaching the tube station will have left Stockwell on its way to Katherine Street, Croydon via Streatham, Norbury, and Thornton Heath. It has to make its way through far more traffic that would have been the case when it began operating in the early 1950s. We travelled through Stockwell on our way to The Royal Court of Justice. A bus would have taken much longer.

At the court we were subjected to scanning and searching similar to that undertaken by airport security. My metal hip, as usual, set off the alarm, and, arms akimbo, I stood until my statement that it was my hip that had rung the bell was confirmed. My cameras were temporarily confiscated, and my electric toothbrush caused a little excitement.

Swearing the oath relating to the application for probate was smooth and straightforward.

Luci accompanied me in a taxi to Waterloo where I caught the train back to Brockenhurst. Jackie then drove me back home.

On each of my journeys to and from London I was engaged in contrasting discussions in the Quiet Coach. This is the one carriage where it is forbidden to use mobile phones and customers are asked to be quiet.

On the outward journey there were not many passengers on board. An obviously important gentleman joined at Southampton and sat diagonally opposite me. He proceeded to take phone calls and deliver instructions about someone who had just undergone an operation and should not fly for three days. At the end of the second conversation I pointed to the signs – one over each seat – and asked him if he realised he was in the quiet coach. He said he did and the calls were about a patient in  hospital. I replied that we were well aware of that because we could hear everything. Another passenger chipped in with “You could go to another coach”. “Well, if it’s that important….” replied the miscreant. He then rose to his feet, screamed at me that “what’s important is that I take the call”, and, phone in hand, disappeared from the carriage, soon to return. He again sat down and concentrated on his laptop, thumping his hand up and down on the table until he wore himself out.

The return journey’s conversation was rather different. The carriage was packed. I found two sets of four seats spanning the narrow gangway. Four were occupied, four were piled with luggage. One young man was talking on his mobile phone. Feeling like a really crotchety old git I said “I need one of these seats. I don’t care which”. Only the young man, continuing his conversation, moved his backpack from the seat. I thanked him and sat down. I thought I would not interrupt until the train got under way. I always believe in giving people a chance. Nothing changed after we set off. I went into my now all to familiar routine. Reacting crossly, the lad turned his phone off. There was a bit of remonstration and I was allowed to get back to my book. After a few more minutes my companion apologised and said he had just been for a job interview and was in a bad mood. I was most sympathetic; we chatted for a while about the job and the problem of interviews in general; I returned to my book; he plugged in earphones; we ended up the best of friends, and said our farewells when I left.

I’m not sure I will have the stomach for the quiet coach on my next journey.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. I finished the Bordeaux and Jackie drank sparkling water.