Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

Catch Me If You Can


Aaron of AP Maintenance’s main task today was weeding the Back Drive.

Taking it in turns to stand aloof, a pair of wood pigeons, wobbling along our eastern fence, engaged in their annual mating ritual. Each time the chaser reached his target she turned her back; he feigned departure; she took up the chase. A provocative game of ‘Catch Me If You Can’. It works for any species.

Butterfly Green-veined white

Today’s butterflies were mainly white, flitting about elusively. This Green-veined variety was considerate enough to take a moment’s rest.

Brick Path

Hopefully, Jackie’s new roses planted in the West Bed will soon climb the Gothic arch across the Brick Path.

Copper beach leaves

Always the last to sprout, the copper beach leaves are putting in an appearance.

Jackie planting gladioli

Among Jackie’s plantings were Nori gladioli in the New Bed.

Sparrow on roof

From his vantage point on the roof a tiny sparrow stands guard on his family in the eaves.

This evening we are on our way to Cadnam to dine at The White Hart with Jacqueline and Elizabeth. Should there be anything of note to report, I will feature it tomorrow.




Farmhouse strip

Memorial cornerIlluminated by a strong sun in a clear blue sky, the same paths I walked yesterday looked very different. Washing line The dripping pegs now held a line of washing. Butterfly Pumpkin holesThe pumpkins had been harvested; Windfallsthe windfalls seemed more palatable; and butterflies flitted among the vines.

Today Moreen drove us to the marvellous house, built by Paul and his father-in-law from lessons taken from the internet, in which they are to spend their next six months. John moving in at Bourlens Perched on a hilltop on the outskirts of Bourlens in Lot it offers wonderful views across sloping fields and woods.  The Bastide town of Tournon stands on neighbouring heights.

Views either side of the winding route from Sigoules were shrowded in haze.Haze from N21

After carrying in some of my friends’ belongings in preparation for their move tomorrow, we lunched in the superb Le Beffrois restaurant in Tournon.  Our meal was an excellent salad followed by well grilled chicken kebabs and beautifully presented profiteroles.  We shared a full-bodied bottle of choice Cahors.

The bill was presented in a delightful manner.  A small hand stretched out from the side of the waitresses left lower limb.  Shyly sheltering behind her mother was a little girl of about four years old who could count in English.  This was Leona, who was soon to enter into an arrangement with John.  She is to teach him French and he will teach her English.  Le Beffrois barJohn and Mo will go there again.

Landscape from TournonAfter the meal we walked around the town, and looked down over the valley below.

I did, of course, fall asleep on the return journey, to awake as Mo drew up outside an antiques shop.  There my friends bought me a mirror of admirable quality to replace the bathroom one which has collapsed.  Unlike Michael Palin in ‘The Life of Brian’, John demonstrated admirable haggling qualities. This being their last night, we visited Le Code Bar.

Unrequited Love?

Today’s tramp was terribly tiresome.  Having often noticed, on my usual Colliers Wood walk that the Wandle trail allegedly continues on to Wandsworth, I decided to take that path as the first stage of my journey to Waterloo to meet Tony.  Crossing Colliers Wood High Street, the signs led me on a meandering route, the first mile or so through uninteresting side streets populated by rather ugly modernish housing.  Eventually the road crossed the Wandle and I could pick up the trail.  This was a dismal and windswept winding wander on a dull and windy day.  I have no idea of the distance travelled, because, with very few exceptions, each milestone gave the same number of miles.

The tangled undergrowth everywhere bore evidence that summer is almost over.  Weeds were brown and parched.  Buddleia was similarly dry, colourless, and scorched.  Blackberries were almost completely ripe.  Nettles and brambles were rampant, and convulvulus choked everything in its grasp.  An occasional fluttering butterfly and one hardy honeysuckle bravely brightened the withered Wandsworth stretch of the river.  Paths were often overgrown.  Birds, if there were any, were silent.  All that could be heard was the wind whistling through the trees, except when that was drowned out by the roar and clanking of industrial machinery.  An Irishman and his dog, making their way painfully along the narrow path, stepped aside, risking being stung, because, the man said: ‘you are quicker than me’.  As I passed, and thanked him, I pointed to the ancient Labrador and commented: ‘you are being held up’.  ‘Yes, me legs are holding me up’, he replied.

After a while I found myself in Earlsfield, where I encountered the first long straight road.  Magdalen Road, SW18, is an uphill stretch bounded for most of its left hand length by Wandsworth Cemetery.  Even the cyclist who brushed past me on the pavement was using his lowest gear.  Consequently his legs were going like the clappers, but his speed was slow.  A notice outside the cemetery seemed to bear a zombie warning.  This put me in mind of Stanley Spencer’s memorable painting, ‘Resurrection in Cookham Churchyard’.

An effort had been made to brighten up the heavy, sombre, facade of Wandsworth Prison.  It didn’t really work for me.  From Wandsworth Common I made my way to Clapham Junction where I boarded a train, reflecting that I could have done so at Earlsfield.

As I sat on a bench in Waterloo Station, eating a pasty whilst waiting for Tony, a pigeon at my feet adopted the posture of a hopeful dog.  It had a great deal of trouble swallowing the one piece of crust I did drop.  Rather like a dog with a long stick held crossways in its jaws, the bird tried twisting its neck and rapidly opening and shutting its beak.  This didn’t work.  When It tried using a claw it almost toppled over.  In an effort to avoid a young woman’s feet it flew off.  I didn’t notice the crumb drop.  It may be stuggling still.  The young purple-haired man sitting next to me sucked his thumb continually as he studied his mobile phone.  And he’d already eaten a Macdonald’s.  At long last he found someone to talk to.  He explained that he had just had to spend a week in the same bedroom as a girl without being able to touch her.  He didn’t mention whether that was 24/7 or just the nights.  His listener could not possibly have any idea of how hard that was.  Perhaps that’s why he needed a dummy.  Once he’d finished speaking, the thumb went back in the mouth, until he was joined by two other equally colourful young gentlemen.  Hugs all round ensued.  I am now beginning to realise where sitcom scriptwriters source their material.

The Paralympic Games traffic was really hotting up.  Brightly clad marshals were adept at identifying those who needed direction, and providing the necessary service.  Transport police were in strong but largely discreet evidence.  Except for the two, carrying automatice rifles, who were cheerily chatting to customers on the concourse.  Mostly elderly ladies who didn’t seem to be terrorists in disguise.

Tony and I, as usual spent an hour or so in the Archduke bar underneath the railway arches.

Our evening meal tonight was an array of salad, after which we had stewed plums, courtesy of Geoff of the Tardis, with Dream Topping.  Jackie wishes the world to know that the Dream Topping was bought in error.  It should have been custard, which also bears the name Birds, and comes in a red and yellow packet.   I finished of the Vina Araya, while Jackie had a Hoegaarden