Sparkling Jewels

Today dawned bright and sunny. Taking her camera with her, Jackie photographed the garden, glistening after yesterday’s rain. I joined her after a while, adding a few images of my own. We have merged our results.

Raindrops bejewelled individual blooms,

and sunshine brightened every view.

While Jackie was working on the lawn, Nugget did, of course arrive to inspect the works.

He took up a viewing station in his favourite New Zealand hebe,

then dropped down onto a bench to carry out a preening session within inches from the Head Gardener. Suitably satisfied with his ablutions he went into hiding in broad daylight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (19).

This evening we dined on tangy fish pie; crunchy haddock goujons; wholesome champ – an Irish dish consisting of mashed potato and spring onions – tender runner beans; piquant cauliflower cheese; and moist ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gajewski Shiraz 2018 – an excellent Australian wine brought by Elizabeth on Saturday.

Pigeon Posts

The Head Gardener has become less enamoured of our Lucky pheasant who has clearly taken up permanent residence. Unfortunately, he tends to redistribute her careful placement of shells and peck new shoots off her heucheras. She now tends to attempt to persuade him to depart. He is, however, very smart. Yesterday he led Aaron a merry dance around the potting sheds. Humans are bound to stick to the paths. Lucky can nip across the beds from one to another.

On this, the warmest afternoon yet, as I moved from one bench to another basking in the sunshine,

our ring-necked strutter followed me around as if to enquire what I was doing here.

Meanwhile, overhead, taking up vantage posts in the still naked trees, well-fed pigeons dozed, preened, and stretched in readiness for the mating season to come.

This evening we dined on Forest Tandoori’s excellent takeaway fare. My choice was chicken jalfrezi with special rice; Jackie’s was chicken biriani.

Catch

We have been invited to a special meal in celebration of the 30th anniversary of

our favourite local Indian restaurant. Unfortunately this is tomorrow – less than a month since my knee replacement surgery. We therefore cannot manage it. This morning, featuring the above photograph, we made a card for Raja and his staff and placed in the post on our way to my physiotherapy appointment with Claire at New Hall hospital.

Progress is very encouraging. Both walking and flexibility are a great improvement on the first operation last May. I just wouldn’t have been able to sit comfortably at the restaurant tables.

The day, as evidenced in my photographs, was dismally damp and misty.

Even mistletoe was unable to brighten the lane through Bodeham,

Dripping snowdrops were more successful.

Mallards and a moorhen didn’t mind the weather over this stretch of the River Avon,

where an egret (I think) wandered and a cormorant (I think) watched from a treetop.

A circling kite was occasionally glimpsed above the naked trees.

Woodgreen Common was rather obscure.

As we headed towards Godshill we witnessed exciting catching practice. A gentleman playing frisbee with a circular ring skimmed it through the air where his triumphant dog leapt to catch and return it.

Someone had left a cap on a bench overlooking what would have been a splendid view in better light. The Godshill road itself was so shrouded in mist that a recently fallen tree was barely visible.

Fog lights were essential on the high risk (of animal deaths) Roger Penny Way, where some impatient drivers continued to follow the 40 m.p.h. speed limit.

This evening we dined on an excellent takeaway meal from New Forest Tandoori. My choice was king prawn madras with special fried rice; Jackie’s was prawn curry with pilau rice. We shared a paratha. I drank sparkling water and Jackie didn’t.

My Minimal Contribution

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A second brood of sparrows has hatched in our downstairs loo extractor fan.

 

In this corner of the patio this morning I made my minimal contribution to the massive daily watering operation;

Jackie, of course, did so much more, particularly ensuring that all the containers were filled, and that the more thirsty bedded plants did not dry out.

This afternoon Elizabeth, who is staying with us for as long as it takes for her to find a new house, moved in. We enjoyed a relaxing time together before decanting to the Rose Garden for pre-dinner drinks.

We dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb jalfrezi with pilau rice. The Culinary Queen consumed Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Someone Is Going To Regret It

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In the late morning of this very hot Summer’s day, Jackie drove me to Mudeford Quay. This was the first occasion since my surgery on which I squeezed myself into the car without having been forced to do so by a medical appointment. My Chauffeuse Extraordinaire drove very slowly around the quay and the harbour, stopping on occasion for me to photograph a subject through the passenger seat window.

Boats and buoys, Isle of Wight

Departing boats and stationary buoys shimmered on the waves as we arrived;

Man watching sea and shading eyes

one gentleman shaded his eyes as, perched on his bag, he watched the activity.

Fishing was undertaken from the quay and from the spit opposite.

Boats and swans

Leaving the quay, we cruised along the harbour where swans paddled past moored boats

Swans, sailboarder, black-headed gull

and a skimming sailboarder.

Black-headed gulls

Squawking black-headed gulls strutted about

Dinghies parked

beside the dinghy park;

Sailboarder

and the sailboarder came into clearer view.

A little dog trotting beside its master paused and urged its mistress to keep up.

I wondered whether two women on a bench were aware that another pair was about to pass in front of them.

We diverted to Avon Beach where I disembarked and leant against the sea wall watching a small boy smoothing a log on the sand. He, and a couple in chairs nearer the shore were oblivious of each other.

Already, well before noon, the beach was filling up with sun-seekers settling into chairs or lying on the sand with varying degrees of protection. Some would undoubtedly regret the exposure tomorrow.

Man, boy, and crossword solver

While one gentleman and a boy engaged in bucket and spade activity, another grappled with a crossword.

This evening we dined on pepperoni pizza and plentiful salad.

In Conversation

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On another bright, cold, morning Jackie drove us out into the forest.

Catkins, like these in Royden Lane, Boldre, dangle from their trees.

In one paddock the livestock was conveniently labelled.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst the telephone box was reflected in the icy pool. Long shadows were cast across the surface, which glinted in the sun. Ponies’ hoofprints remained stiffened by the overnight freeze, as, fortunately, was a heap of their droppings onto which I backed in my efforts to obtain the right angle for one of these photographs.

In the High Street two women were deep in conversation on the bench opposite Tesco’s. This continued throughout the period during which I sat in the car whilst Jackie did some shopping.

What follows may chiefly be of interest to anyone who is suffering withdrawal symptoms from the recent lack of administrative problems.

At lunchtime the postman delivered a card stating that a letter could not be delivered because insufficient postage had been paid. £1.50 was due. We could pay that on line and the missive would be delivered the next day. Or we could drive to Lymington to pay for it there and collect it. The delivery staff are, of course, not allowed to take money. Jackie drove us to Lymington. We arrived ten minutes before the next opening time. Jackie went off to park the car. I waited outside. Then I realised I had left my wallet at home, so hadn’t the required I.D. When Mrs Knight joined me we discovered she didn’t have any I.D. in her married name. She offered her passport. This was not acceptable. I asked to look at the item. It was a large format letter. Post is now charged as large or small. This one needed a stamp marked L for large. It bore a small one. We could pay now for delivery tomorrow, but the man at the bullet-proof counter could not give it to us. We paid then, and now we wait.

There was a silver lining to this cloud. I had plenty of time to contemplate the muted tones of the tower of the Church of St Thomas the Apostle.

This evening, with our Hoegaarden and madiran, we dined on starters of spring rolls and prawn toasts, followed by Jackie’s succulent sautéed peppers, leeks, and onions supporting Thai fish cakes.

Gravel Pit Cottage

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We began this cold, bright, day with two trips to the recycling centre to dispose of bags of garden refuse. Afterwards we drove around the east of the forest and back.

The waterlogged green at Pilley reflected the houses beside it.

Trees,

horses,

  and buildings were similarly mirrored in the more permanent lake. Some of the animals drank the clear water, others dozed on the bank. Note the thatched homes.

The workman seen to the left of the nearest cottage was ignored by the ponies as he walked backwards and forwards from front to back of the house. Apart from the presently muddy bank and sodden bench, this was a convenient site for a bus stop. The house is named Gravel Pit Cottage, thus giving an indication of the origin of the lake. I’ve only ever seen animals drinking from the edge, suggesting that it is probably quite deep in the middle.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special cottage pie; perfectly prepared broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage; and very tasty gravy. I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.