Rosemary Verey

Louisa, Jessica, and Imogen 26.12.14Gulls

Yesterday Louisa posted on Facebook some delightful pictures of family fun in the snow. I imagine the magnificent one I have selected for its sense of movement was taken by Errol with his mobile phone. The nearest we got to the white precipitation was the gulls flying over the nature reserve on my way back from Milford on Sea, where Becky had driven me in order for me to catch the post. They didn’t settle.

JayUnidentified shrub

Beneath them, a pink-velvet-breasted jay flitted from tree to tree, and another of the unidentified shrubs I had first photographed on 2nd was in full bloom on New Valley Road. No-one has yet named it. Becky likened the berries to Ninja Turtles. Perhaps that thought will jog someone’s memory.

Clifford Charles’s bench at the entrance to the Nature Reserve has received its own Christmas decoration; and halfway down the clifftop near Paddy’s Gap, named after the evergreen shrub Hedera colchica, or Paddy’s Pride, that once clung to the crumbling cliff; a bouquet has been laid in memory of Babs Geany.Clifford Charles benchbouquetSunburst

A kaleidoscopic sunburst greeted me as I emerged onto the clifftop, which, together with the shingle beneath, was as populated as Paddington Station at rush hour.

Walkers with their eager, tongue-flapping dogs; and excited children grappling with windbreaks, on clifftop or shingle beneath, basked in splendid light.

The boys and girls seen with their red banner in the picture below trailed along the windswept shore until their leader, a little blonde child, like an injured royal standard bearer, fell over. Her companions turned tail and left her clutching the cloth in an effort to retain it. A passing woman helped her to her feet, and still clutching it, she signalled that battle could recommence.Dog and legsWalkers on clifftopWalker on shingleGroup on shingle

Hillbrow receiptI have mentioned before, the boxes of books on sale for Save the Children stacked outside Hillbrow. The weather is still clement enough for this noble effort to continue. I bought a fine copy of Rosemary Verey’s ‘The Scented Garden’. Twenty or thirty years ago I was privileged to visit this world famous gardener at her home, Barnsley House, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. Her daughter Davina was a school friend of Jessica’s. This young woman, as she was then, owned an antique printing press with which she produced fascinating greetings cards reproducing illustrations from her mother’s historic herbals. I don’t believe she ever used a particular 16th century woodcut featured in her mother’s 1981 publication, which appears to reveal that ‘builder’s bum’ is not solely a modern phenomenon.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb, crisp roast potatoes and parsnips, perfect pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon), green brussels sprouts, and orange carrots and swede mash, followed by Harrod’s Christmas pudding by courtesy of Norman. I finished the Parra Alta malbec, Flo drank J2O, and the others imbibed Provincia di Pavia pinot grigio blush 2013.