A Virtual Tour

There follows the missing post from

15th January 2019

We will be without internet until the faulty router is repaired. This is because the loaned device does not work. Now that I know that EE was bought by BT in 2016, I understand why their customer care is on a par with that of their new owner. Their equipment failed. They would repair it free of charge but not replace it without payment. Yet they still take my monthly subscription. I am stuck with them because they are the only feasible service to our location. And I don’t have the energy to waste on battling with them.

Elizabeth visited bearing flowers and chocolates. She stayed for lunch before setting off to West End to accompany Mum to an eye appointment at Southampton Hospital.

Whilst I slumped comfortably in my customary corner

Jackie took a trip round the garden

and brought me back a photographic record. Titles of the pictures in the gallery, which can be accessed by clicking on any image, will identify the plants on display. Many of these would not be expected in mid-January.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken curry with brown savoury rice and vegetable samosas.

Inside And Out

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS ENLARGED GALLERY, PHOTOGRAPHS IN WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THEIR PAGES AND CHECKING BOXES AT BOTTOM RIGHT. JUST CLICK ON THE OVENS TO ENLARGE THEM

After I finished drafting yesterday’s post, Richard added the second cupboard fixed to the gravity battens. The horizontal battens in the side-on view will take the panel similar to that held in place by the clamps at the right hand end.

Having increased the capacity of our modern fuse box, our craftsman is rationalising all the kitchen wiring and switches. Having re-plastered the section of wall removed yesterday he then fitted new switches. Standing on a stool he fitted a row of labelled switches for the cooking appliances, then, crouching in the box to take the cooker, laid the cables.

Most of Jackie’s greenhouse cuttings have survived; sweet pea and poppy seeds have germinated.

Bergenias, snowdrops, primulas, and irises can be seen throughout the garden beds.

The earlier daffodils are coming into bloom;

and prolific camellias are burgeoning.

Ovens

By the end of the day, Richard had installed the new ovens. The appliance visible at bottom right of this picture is the dishwasher which will be installed tomorrow. He had his customary tidy up after I took the photograph. We left him to it while we drove off to dine at Lal Quilla.

At the restaurant I handed Raj the prints for his wall. My main course was lamb jalfrezi; Jackie’s was the Lal Quilla Special of minced lamb and chicken; we shared mushroom rice and egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher. Raj would take no payment.

 

 

Back In The Garden

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE CLUSTER TO ACCESS THE GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL EXAMPLES OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING THE BOXES AT BOTTOM RIGHT. THE BUTTERFLY CAN BE ENLARGED BY CLICKING ON ITS SEPARATE PICTURE

Wandering down the garden paths today

provided very few corners without snowdrops. The Daphne odorata and camellias are blooming and budding. little blue irises, have and yellow crocuses are out. The white alliums easily confused with snowdrops are beginning to grace the beds. Pulmonaria, primulas, and pansies offer a little alliteration.

Red Admiral on bergenia

As so often at this time of year, a tattered Red Admiral basking on a bergenia revels in surviving the winter.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. The food, service, and atmosphere were as excellent as always. My main meal was davedush; Jackie’s was murgh noorijenani. We shared special fried rice, an egg paratha, and onion bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.

 

 

 

The Kitchen Garden

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE CLUSTER TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERY

Here is another look  at our existing kitchen.

The section alongside the hobs is effectively the Culinary Queen’s current work surface. As shown in ‘Before The Makeover 1’ the oven, microwave, and fan occupy the other side of the small area at the back. The shelves to the right of the picture occupy a former fireplace. So encrusted with caked on grime were these hobs that, when we moved in, we did not know they were induction. Neither did we know how to use them, nor that we would need new saucepans.

This is how lunch is prepared on this surface.

When the hobs are in use, as for cooking tonight’s jalfrezi, life becomes somewhat more complicated, chopping room being rather limited.

For Your Eyes Only pruned

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning had been to prune some of the roses, like the prolific For Your Eyes Only.

This afternoon I took a walk among the flora. The winter flowering cherry, the bergenia, the pansies, the cyclamens, the iris, and the vincas have been in evidence for a while. The little yellow bidens have continued to self seed since they first occupied the garden last Spring. The camellias are covered in buds, their first blooms having appeared in recent days. Jackie is particularly excited about the prospect of the Daphne odorata’s scents bursting from their expanding cases. One solitary Winchester Cathedral bloom stands tall in the Rose Garden.

With the aforementioned chicken jalfrezi, Jackie served her special savoury rice and Tesco’s pakoras and onion bahjis. As can be seen, she drank Hoegaarden. I drank more of the Malbec.

Giving It Some Welly

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Dawn

This morning’s dawn promised a better day than forecast.

And so it proved, at least for the first hour or so. I took an early ramble round the garden on which more light was cast than yesterday. This brought forth an open-mouthed gape from a bespectacled gentleman atop the skeletal honesty in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Camellias and hellebores were nicely backlit in some areas.

Garden view from Fiveways

Here is the view from Fiveways;

Daffodils, hellebores, allium, and bergenia

bergenia, daffodils, and hellebores in a corner of the Dead End Path;

and more hellebores, alliums, and vincas.

Daphne odora Aureomarginata

Jackie is particularly delighted with the daphne odora Aureomarginata that she put in last year. It is apparently quite a fussy plant.

When shopping at Lidl this morning, Jackie had spotted that the supermarket was selling very reasonably priced wheelbarrows. She drove me back there to buy one. After this we travelled on to Friars Cliff for me to post, into one of the beach huts, the prints I had made of photographs taken of two little girls on the beach on 24th February.

On one side of Christchurch Road stretches a number of extensive fields which, at this time of the year are occupied by hundreds of ewes and lambs. On the other, in front of a farmhouse, is a much smaller rectangular enclosure, not much more than a fold, really. We have always thought of that as the nursery for very newborn lambs before their decanting across the road. Today we saw confirmation of this.

The most recent arrivals and their mothers could be seen through the fencing bars. The rolled folds in the babies’ skin demonstrated their newness. Already, just like the grown sheep, they were stamped with identification numbers.

Even so young, some of the lambs were as inquisitive as the ewes,

whereas others and their mothers were not quite so sure.

As we arrived, a farmer drove a large tractor and long trailer from the farmyard, around a bend in the road, and through an open gate into the field opposite. He proceeded to unload his cargo of ewes and their lambs,

Ewes and lambs 1

which were very soon suckling fit to fill out those rolls of skin.

Unloading ewes and lambs 7

The farmer was very gentle with his charges, even when offering a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘giving it some welly’, as he encouraged a reluctant little one to join its patiently waiting mother.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s pasta arrabbiata, sugar snap peas, and rocket salad, followed by tiramisu. I drank more of the Fleurie and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

We’re Off Out

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED. THE PAIR ACCESS A GALLERY THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Today we are travelling to Leatherhead for the annual Gilbert and Sullivan production of the Godalming Operatic Society directed by Jackie’s cousin Pat O’Connell.

We intend to make our leisurely way there; join Helen, Bill, Shelly and Ron at the Travelodge hotel where we will be staying the night; watch the second half of the Six Nations rugby match; dine at an Italian restaurant with Pat, Christine, and their daughter Olivia; watch Iolanthe; repair to the bar; go to bed; get up in the morning; all breakfast in the same café; then go home. I might expand this tomorrow. If I can remember.

Before leaving I had a look at the front garden.

Outside there is a SLOW sign. Like many another traffic sign it has been left in the hedgerow after roadworks have been finished. The normal limit is 40 m.p.h. Which is largely ignored. So is the SLOW sign. Even when there are works around the bend up ahead.

Front garden tubs and owl

Although the arch has been partially demolished by Doris Day,

the tubs on Jackie’s makeshift platform have survived.

Tete-a-tetes, snowdrops, and hellebore

Tete-a-tetes, snowdrops, and hellebores share the beds.

Bergenia

The bergenias are beginning to show signs of age.

Hellebore

Behind this hellebore lies a profusion of trachystemon orientalis.

Camellia

Meanwhile, alongside the Dragon Bed which did not exist when we arrived, towers a pastel pink camellia. It was only when we cleared the bramble jungle that covered it that we discovered that the plant was there. This is the first year it has born a profusion of blooms.

Out Of The Dark

On another unseasonably mild day, I wandered around the garden with my camera, picking

Allium

allium,

Daffodil

daffodil,

Camellia 1Camellia 2

camellias,

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

viburnum rhytidophyllum,

Periwinkle

periwinkle,

Bergenia

and bergenia.

This afternoon we drove through the forest to Burley. On the way we stopped at a New Forest car park for a short walk with Scooby.

Ponies always gather round the parked cars because there is always a reasonable chance of hands offering titbits on the ends of arms extended from open windows. So it was today, until a family turned the tables and advanced on the ponies in great excitement.

Family tracking ponies 1Family tracking ponies 2Ponies leaving

It wasn’t long before the animals turned tail,

Ponies in landscape

only to return to their habitual patch of heathland when the coast was clear.

Gorse bush, man, and boy

A track, up which various walkers clambered, led down to a valley below.

Skyscape with poniesSkyscape with poolSkyscape with tree

Still an hour away from sunset, we were treated to some interesting skyscapes.

It was not yet 4.00 p.m. by the time we arrived in Burley, but the targeted tea rooms were closed. We therefore sought refreshment in the Burley Inn. Mine was a pint of Flack’s Double Drop.

Still not 5.00 p.m., we returned home in the dark. As we left the village and entered the less than broad, unlit roads across the forest, a stream of traffic approaching on our right, Jackie hit the brakes. Out of the dark, a black and grey pony appeared, in the Modus’s dipped headlights, ambling straight towards me on the passenger side. My chauffeuse barely had room to swerve around the beast to slip between that and the oncoming traffic.

Becky, two cars behind, was treated to a similar experience. This was our closest encounter yet.

This evening, Jackie, for our dinner, produced tender roast lamb, roast parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, perfect carrots and Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower cheese. Apple crumble would have followed had anyone left enough room for it. Becky and Ian drank rose and I finished the El Sotillo.