Six Trains

This post by Linda at shoreacres, https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/32382/posts/2281944455 took me back this morning to my 1940s childhood.

Linda has eloquently described steam railways in America.

From 1947 to 1954 the magical – to us children at least – The Devon Belle steamed past our kitchen window in Raynes Park on its way from Waterloo station to the West Country. Details of the train and its history can be found in http://railway.g3w1.com/The_Devon_Belle/devon_belle.htm

I was intrigued to read that the author of this piece lived in Raynes Park until he was three and a half, and has memories similar to mine, although I was 5 years old in the inaugural year.

My entire childhood from the age of two in1944 to 1960 was spent in the maisonette at 29a Stanton Road, alongside which ran the railway path. The family ate in the kitchen where we could watch the trains. Chris and I would collect the numbers of those driven by electricity at any time during the day. But our favourite was https://youtu.be/XPpqD3GUmSA

This was, of course, because of the steam engines, but also the Pullman carriages which gave us something else to collect. Each of these first class cars bore a different name, usually of a woman.

When eating we were not expected to wolf down our food, leave the table, and get on with whatever else in which we had been engrossed. No, we had to wait for six trains to go by before we were permitted to “get down”.

When I open the back gate for Aaron on a Sunday morning this involves a walk down the gravelled back drive.

Beyond the gate on the south side we have a range of wallflowers and valerian;

on the opposite side there is currently a heap of the redundant griselina stumps, and more yellow wallflowers.

The dark patch of soil a bit further along, beside another stump and a spray of libertia, consists of spent compost from Jackie’s pots. This is being used to fill the holes left by the removal of the overgrown hedging.

Further still, a clump of Johnson’s Blue geraniums is found beside erigeron and bronze fennel.

This afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a brief journey before the rain set in.

Forest Road Burley was the venue for an equine mothers and babies group, only occasionally divided by the traffic with which they played havoc. Observant readers may spot the foal featured in ‘Aquatic Surface Cover’ of May 8th.

A young man with a video camera also stopped to film the scene. We enjoyed pleasant conversation.

For this evening’s dinner the Culinary Queen roasted duck breasts in plum sauce and served them with mushroom wild rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

P.S. Our friend Barrie Haynes has made this comment on my Facebook page:  ‘Unfortunately, the Devon Belle was not a commercial success. The Observation Cars had to be turned on the locomotive turntable at Ilfracombe and the station was badly sited for the town. I believe the Pullman observation cars were later used in Scotland and I think at least one of them is still with us. Because there were no water troughs on the Southern, engines were normally changed at Wilton.’

“I’m Sure I Can’t Allow That”

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I dozed through the early parts of the day. At 4. p.m. Jackie set me up on Mum’s perching stool at a vantage point beside the bricked-in well, and I emerged, blinking, into strong sunlight to the sweet, sonorous, symphonies of vibrant birdsong.

While she continued to labour away in the sweltering heat, I perched and photographed what met my eye. When she caught me standing unaided and shifting the stool to give me a better angle down the Brick Path, she exclaimed: “I’m sure I can’t allow that.”

My choice of this evening’s ready prepared meals was suitably bland cod mornay with mashed potato and peas.

Umbrellas And Multi-Ocular Devices

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Early on this grey, overcast, morning, Jackie drove us to Lymington and back to buy a birthday present.

Lilies and bronze fennel flowers

Upon leaving the house I decided I had not published enough photographs of the front garden. I therefore focussed on these lilies flanking bronze fennel flowers;

Fuchsia Sir Matt Busby

fuchsia Sir Matt Busby suspended over the front porch;

Nasturtium

orange nasturtiums potted in front of the garage door;

Clematis

a purple clematis soaring both them;

Solanum

white solanum adorning the trellis;

Lobelia and petunias

lobelia and petunias cascading over a hanging basket;

Lacecap hydrangea

and this pink and blue lace cap hydrangea spreading across the right hand corner.

It being market day in Lymington I hoped to have further fun with the camera. No sooner had we emerged from the shop, which must be nameless at the moment, and I brought out the camera, than the rain came down and umbrellas went up. Nevertheless, I persisted, and photographed

Women's tops

a rail of Summery women’s tops;

Melons

an abundance of bulbous green and golden melons;

Nectarines

glistening nectarines;

Olives

metal bowls of oleaginous olives;

Bread

loaves of rustic Mediterranean bread;

Veg cutters

the stall of a gentleman demonstrating veg cutters the colour of which made up for a lack of oranges;

Sandals

and decorative sandals, the display of which now seemed somewhat optimistic.

Couple under umbrellaWoman with pink umbrellaWoman with umbrella 1Woman with umbrella at fruit stallWoman with umbrella 2Woman with umbrella 3Couple under umbrella 2

Here are some of the umbrellas,

Woman keeping rain off with plastic bag

not forgetting the lady who had forgotten hers.

Reading glasses

Reading glasses may now be obtained without prescription, and are cheaply available on market stalls.

Jackie inspecting specs 1Jackie inspecting specs 2Jackie inspecting specs 3

Jackie has collections all over the house and garden. Naturally she inspected these specs,

Jackie wearing four pairs of specs

and bought £5’s worth of what Becky calls her mother’s multi-ocular devices. The idea is that wearing two pairs gives you twice the strength of magnification. Four is overdoing it a bit.

This afternoon I watched the women’s Wimbledon tennis final on TV.

For this evening’s dinner, Jackie produced steak and onion pie, new potatoes, crispy breaded mushrooms, crunchy carrots, and fresh spring greens. We had drunk respectively Hoegaarden and Banks’s Amber bitter on the patio beforehand. I had some of mine left over to drink with the meal. Jackie hadn’t. But then, her bottles are smaller than mine.

 

 

 

 

 

The Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier

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Brick PathJackie working on Dragon BedJackie continues weeding, clipping, planting, and replenishing soil. This involves a certain amount of popping out to a garden centre. Today, for example, she departed for some lime and returned with, in addition, a garden tray, a parasol, and the obligatory few plants. Here she was working away on the Dragon Bed near the house end of the Brick Path a couple of days ago.

Wisteria arbour

Here is a current view of the Wisteria Arbour where, accompanying the eponymous plant, can be seen a red rose and Carnaby and Star of India clematises; with bronze fennel, cerinthes and Sweet Williams in the foreground bed.

Garden view across Kitchen BedAlliumFrom the corner of the patio the view across the Kitchen Bed contains the white clematis Marie Boisselot reflected by libertia; alliums, pansies, and diascias bringing notes of purple and pink; and russet triangle points made up of the recently pruned maple, the distant copper beech, and the now fully blooming

Chilean Lantern Tree

Chilean Lantern tree.

Rose Peach Abundance 1

Rose Peach Abundance soars over the Oval Bed,

Rose Altissimo

as does Altissimo beside the potting shed.

Rose Mum in a Million

Mum in a million,

Rose Crown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margarete,

Rose Schoolgirl

and Schoolgirl are all flourishing in the Rose Garden

Rose Festive Jewel

where Festive Jewel

Rose Garden 1

leads the eye through For Your Eyes Only to Gloriana, with Love Knot to the left;

Hoverfly on rose Summer Wine

and a small hoverfly investigates Summer Wine peeping from its rack on the entrance arch.

Heucheras

The Head Gardener is wondering whether the splendid, flouncing, heucheras are now putting the roses in the shade.

Cuttings for compost 2Cuttings for compost 1My primary function has been to explore all paths and corners of the garden seeking out heaps of weeds and clippings and either chopping them up to fill the orange bags, or dumping them on the fast developing compost piles.

These contributions can crop up anywhere, especially, it seems, when I think I have finished.

Wheelbarrow loaded with weeds

This was just the first wheelbarrow load today.

Weeds for compost 1

Pushing it happily along the Brick Path, I discovered the next two loads. It is fun being the Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier.

Fortunately, Jackie had produced enough of her marvellous lamb jalfrezi meal yesterday for it to be reprised this evening. As usual, this offered some enhancement. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, leaving the Kingfisher to me.