Pannage Has Begun

We began this hot and sunny late summer’s day with a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop. Normally, when we visit this splendidly stocked and very reasonably priced outlet we do so in order to buy compost and manage to come away with plants as well. Today the process was reversed.

We came for pansies and salad, to which we added

three bags of Violet Farm compost.

Afterwards we continued into the forest by way of Bickley Common Road.

We lunched at The Old Station Tea Rooms at Holmsley. The building is swathed in scaffolding at the moment, so we were served from the station kiosk and ate outside where wearing a jacket was being overdressed.

While waiting for our meals I focussed on some of the old advertising signs.

Jackie enjoyed the Station Master’s Rarebit, namely cheese on mustard toast, topped with bacon and a fried egg, garnished with liberal salad. My equally satisfying meal consisted of beef and mushroom pie, chips, carrots, peas, and leeks with a small jug of gravy. My Chauffeuse drank coffee while I drank sparkling water.

A not unusual, but rather incongruous, trio of ponies did their best to block Chapel Lane at the junction with Burley Lawn.

As so often, a visiting driver left her car and photographed the animals.

Further along the road, like me, she clicked on Tamworth pigs trotting along.

The other woman watching was a German visitor whose brother-in- law had brought her to see the spectacle that signalled that pannage had begun. As she petted a particularly muddied pig she seemed unperturbed by her increasingly clarty clothing.

Back home an only slightly tattered Painted Lady swayed with the verbena bonarensis,

and a bluebottle settled on an Erigeron.

The Yorkist Penny Lane shares its ascendancy with the Lancastrian Super Elfin.

Jackie wandered around, trowel in hand, wondering where to plant this new clematis.

Nugget was on hand with helpful suggestions. He becomes most excited at the sight of plant and trowel. In fact he can’t wait to beat the plant into the hole.

Now “Where’s Nugget?” (22)

This evening we dined on small portions of pepperoni pizza and salad with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Doom Bar.

Afterwards I watched the recorded highlights of the second day of the fifth Ashes Test match.

Autumn Arachnid

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As the first autumn arachnid predator wrapped prey for its larder in the warm morning sunshine, further potential sustenance foraged for their own food stores or simply soaked up the sun. The skies clouded over soon after midday and rain fell all afternoon.

This evening, leaving enough for Elizabeth, who would be home a little later, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika, tasty savoury rice, crunchy carrots, and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016.

 

Yarnton’s Cardoon

Derrick's linen jacket

After an application of Vanish, two cold washes in the machine, and a dedicated press, Jackie has achieved a renovation of the linen jacket, which was beyond the dry cleaners. And it still fits.

I began the day with a walk through Roger’s footpath, where I again met Pete, who, on this far more overcast day, I did not recognise without his sunglasses and hat.

Hoverfly on bramble leaf

Bluebottle on bramble leaf

Hoverflies and bluebottles needed their head- and tail-lights among the gloomy brambles of the hedgerows.

Slurry

Can you smell the leaking slurry. I certainly could.

Astilbe

Encouraged by the success of the arancus, Jackie planted an astilbe in similar conditions.

Rose garden paving stage 5

While Aaron completed stage five of the rose garden paving,

Area cleared for shed

Jackie and I completed the clearance of her work area in readiness for the garden shed.

The structure in the background is the central heating fuel tank, necessary because we don’t have mains gas. Until we have had a visit to the communal dump, it is probably not politic to display the various places where we have decanted the items the new structure will replace.

Thistle

Common thistles grow along the footpath visited earlier,

Thistle and geranium palmatums

and we now know that our giant is not a cardoon, but a cotton thistle.

This is a shame, because we had the former in Newark. Never mind, I can still talk about Yarnton’s cardoon.

Yarnton Mills was an elderly family friend of Jessica’s late parents. His wife kept sheep. She farmed her flock somewhere in Europe, where, in order to improve the quality of their milk, she fed them on cardoon. The location may have been in Spain or Portugal where ewe’s milk is used in the production of cheese. I always wondered how the animals, not being donkeys, managed to eat these thistle-like plants. I therefore amused myself with a little internet research. FIBRA explains that the crop is reduced to silage for feed. The benefits are described by Fernández-Salguero, J., Tejada, L. & Gómez, R. (2002), who tell us: CYN01_03‘The use of plant proteinases from flowers of cardoon Cynara cardunculus as milk coagulants is of particular interest because they are natural enzymes whose strong proteolytic action eventually leads to the extensive breakdown of caseins, thereby giving rise to cheeses with a soft buttery texture, a genuine aroma and a slightly piquant and creamy flavour. These cheeses are highly valued for their taste and quality and can be targeted at the lacto-vegetarian and organic markets. This type of plant coagulant can also be certified Kosher and Halal.’

Yarnton presented Jessica with a seed which we planted in the kitchen garden, and enjoyed for the story and for the towering plant’s sculptural qualities

This evening Jackie and I dined on gammon steaks topped with fried eggs; fresh crisp chips; and an interesting melange of recycled pasta and meatballs, green and baked beans, and the odd limp chip. Very tasty it all was, too.  This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard. Jackie  drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the bordeaux.

Streets Of London

Shadow, grass, gravel

Again, the early morning sun, casting shadows across the gravel to meet grasses on the other side of the path, worked it’s magic

Peony

on the peonies;

Roses

on new rambling red roses;

Aquilegias

on rose tinted aquilegias;

Clematis Warsaw Nike

on the clematis Doctor Ruppel;

Geranium palmatum

on a somewhat nibbled geranium palmatum;

Bluebottle on frog's back

and warming the stone of a frog’s back on which a bluebottle hitched a ride.

I have mentioned before, my, as yet unpublished, Streets of London Series. From March 2004 until some time in 2008, I conducted this exercise, wandering around during breaks in my working day. The constraint I set myself was that the street signs should appear in the shots. There are many hundreds of these colour slides taken with my Olympus OM2, so I decided to embark upon scanning them. I entered the first dozen, from March to April 2004, today.

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From Hanover Gate, NW1 can be seen the burnished dome of Regent’s Park mosque.

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Warwick Place W9 stands on the corner of Warwick Avenue. The mind boggles at the van’s signage.

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The ubiquitous McDonald’s has an outlet on the corner of York Way N1. Perhaps Securitas is coming to collect the takings.

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A spindly young London Plane comes into leaf on Castellain Road W9.

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Maida Avenue W2 runs alongside the Little Venice stretch of the Regent’s Canal, forming a junction with Warwick Avenue which spans the bridge. The white building on our left is The Bridge House, featured in ‘Time To Go’.

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This corner of Gray’s Inn Road, WC1 stands diagonally opposite Kings Cross Station. The area is always clogged with traffic.

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The station itself stands on the corner of Euston Road and York Way, N1.

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The subject of the witty window cleaner sculpture in Chapel Street, NW1, scratches his head in contemplation of the task of cleaning Marks and Spencer’s glass fronted tower standing alongside Edgware Road Metropolitan Line station.

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From this corner of Warwick Avenue, W2, narrow boats on the Regent’s canal are visible through the railings.

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In Sardinia Street WC2, Angelo advertises his hairdressing, whilst thespians trip the tango.

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The eponymous Church Street Market runs from Edgware Road. At this far end it is joined by Penfold Street, NW8.

The sign for Gracedale Road, SW, is now many miles from Furzedown, so I have inserted it in a more appropriate post.

Margery and Paul popped in for a very welcome surprise visit, ‘to check up on’ me. This was, as usual, great fun. Paul put me right on the jackdaws I had recently incorrectly identified as hooded crows. I amended the post accordingly. Thanks, Paul.

Jackie returned home early this evening, and we dined on her superb chicken and egg jalfrezi with special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden whist I opened another bottle of the Madiran and drank some of it.