After Storm Eunice

By lunchtime the storm winds had dropped considerably, cotton clouds drifted across a bright, clear sky, and the sun maintained a presence.

There is still no sign of power returning to Pilley. We accompanied Elizabeth to her home in order for her to gather up and leave out her rubbish for tomorrow’s collection, and the three of us continued further into the forest.

A pair of ponies occupied a field beside Undershore. As always I needed to be quick to picture the animals in their environment, because as soon as they see me they trot over to ask for treats.

While Elizabeth set about her rubbish we photographed her house and garden. This first gallery is by Jackie;

I focussed on her felled fence, the sheepfold opposite and raucous rooks against the sky.

We each pictured picotee-edged camellias. Jackie’s is the first image.

Our next stop was at Ran’s Wood where Elizabeth and I photographed ponies. The final image in this gallery is one of my sister’s showing the chestnut pony returning from the stream where it had slaked its thirst.

We both photographed the woodland. The last four of these images are Elizabeth’s, the final one being in the form of an owl as a tribute to Jackie,

who added her own group to the mix. The second picture is “Where’s Derrick (7)”.

Elizabeth also photographed the stream,

and, as we left Furzey Lane, a cockerel weather vane.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower with tender leaves of the latter, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Stefano di Blasi Toscana 2019.

A Few Flowers

After two days of heavy hosting we relaxed in a slumped heap except for Jackie’s short walk around the garden to pick

a few flowers.

This evening we all dined on yesterday’s left overs. Ian and I enjoyed chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice, while the others chose beef in red wine with mashed potato and vegetables; this was followed by Tess’s delicious Christmas pudding and cream. The contents of some half-empty wine bottles were decanted into glasses and finished.

In The Greenhouse

Reportedly only for a couple of days, the wind had stilled overnight. The day was dull and warmer, with very little rain.

Jackie spent much of the morning rescuing tossed pots and loosened climbers.

After lunch I gathered up numerous small broken branches, then cut the grass and produced a few pictures, one of which shows

the pieris between the Nottingham Castle bench and the planted chimney pot.

Florence enjoys this view across the lawn to North Breeze.

Jackie’s latest owl purchase remained safely perched on its log, surveying the view across the Dead End Path.

We also have aquilegias, violets, dicentras, peonies, and a few lingering camellias.

A number of blue irises grace the Weeping Birch Bed and elsewhere.

Some plants, like the osteospermums in the Cryptomeria Bed have suffered from wind burn.

The Gazebo Path; and the Dragon and Palm Beds have recovered well.

Jackie spent much of the afternoon potting up in the greenhouse, where she was decorated with libertia reflections.

Later I scanned the next seven of Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations to Charles Dickens’s “Nicholas Nickleby”.

‘Mr Tix transferred his admiration to some elegant articles of wearing apparel, while Mr Scaley proceeded to the minute consideration of a pimple on his chin’

‘The two combatants chopped away until the swords emitted a shower of sparks’ is a typical balanced depiction of action from Mr Keeping.

‘There bounded onto the stage a little girl in a dirty white frock who turned a pirouette’. Nothing less than a full page would suffice for her.

In ‘Two strong little boys were dragging the phenomenon in different directions as a trial of strength’, Mr Keeping has shown how balance is maintained by their planted stances.

To depict the distance between the higher admirer and the performer on stage in ‘The warmth of her reception was mainly attributable to a most persevering umbrella in the upper boxes’ the artist has used the different levels of the double spread.

‘Lord Verisoft threw himself along the sofa in order to bring his lips nearer to the old man’s ear’

In ‘ We come on a mission, Mrs Nickleby’ ‘ the success of the smarmy flattery is clearly apparent.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon; firm boiled potatoes and carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

4 P. M. Watershed

On a very dull and wet morning we visited Mum at Woodpeckers. As usual, we had to be separated by a screen in which Jackie is reflected. In the second picture here my mother indicates where she recently had her second, painless, Covid vaccination.

It was not until 4 p.m. that the rain desisted and the sun put in an appearance.

Then I put down my book and took up my camera to look round the garden where sparkling precipitation prevailed, mostly on hellebores, and additionally on the amanogawa cherry blossom, camellia and others. Euphorbia, daffodils, primroses and the lichen flower on the Nottingham Castle bench are also pictured.

This evening we dined on Hunter’s Chicken Kiev; oven chips; and baked beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Dao.

School Was Out

Despite our recent sunshine The Head Gardener remained convinced that Jack Frost had not yet kept his icy fingers out of reach of the garden.

Early this morning she took her camera outside to prove her point.

Later, Callum of Metro Rod brought his specialist camera to investigate a blockage in the drainage to our septic tank. His diagnosis was that the tank needed emptying. There was no additional obstruction. We are normally on an 18 months rolling cycle for clearance, yet it is only nine months since it was last emptied. I telephoned CSG, increased the frequency of the pump out, and booked one for next week.

The temperature was warmer this afternoon when we drove into the forest.

Blackie, photographed by Jackie,

and Splash, by me, two Highland bulls to whom I have been introduced, with their herd, occupied the green at Bramshaw. After a good scratch the red bovine let me know what he thought of me.

Among the others on which I focussed,

one sported a mud pack by rubbing the grass of well-placed mound.

Jackie also captured me at work, refusing to accept that it was a portrait of the muddy cow I was making, and not the other creature’s bum.

Moving on to Nomansland, an assortment of ponies were employed on keeping down the grass in the cricket outfield.

Today, most primary schoolchildren in England, have returned to school after the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Those in the village of Hale share their playing fields with ponies on the green. The school bus driver had to shift the pony from the path in order to pick up some pupils. Meanwhile families gathered, safely distanced, to collect their charges. School was out.

I believe this was a herd of English White cattle on a hillside outside the village.

Primroses now line many of our verges, like those beside the field above, beyond which

stretch extensive landscapes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata, and tender green beans, with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank Primitivo Solento 2019

The March Garden

Bluebell is the young lady I photographed yesterday between her partner, Aaron, and the Shetland pony he was photographing.

She photographed me photographing them from beside my trusty steed, and has e-mailed me a copy of it, for which I am very grateful.

This morning I made a further five illustrations into ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. Regular readers will know that these are by the inimitable Charles Keeping.

‘Messrs Codlin and Short’ were extremely uncomfortable in their unaccustomed environment. Keeping has depicted this just as Dickens described it, even to the extent of their perching on the edges of their seats.

In the theatre ‘Everything was delightful, splendid, and surprising’. The artist has captured the whole gamut of audience reactions.

‘ ‘Stay, Satan, stay !’ roared the preacher again’. Charles Keeping leaves us in no doubt as to the kind of cleric he was.

‘The boat was towed by a couple of horses who were resting on the path’ of a most evocative waterside scene presented as a double page spread.

‘Tall chimneys poured out their plague of smoke and made foul the melancholy air’ subtly depicted in the wavy lines across the background.

This afternoon I gathered

a few garden views, each of which is identified in the gallery which can be accessed by clicking on any image.

This evening we dined on boned chicken thighs marinaded in mango and lime sauce; boiled new potatoes; and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.

Finishing Touches

On another gloomy wet morning Jackie photographed a selection of our current garden blooms, some decorated with pearls of rainwater.

Here we have sarcocca Hoskeriana, cyclamen, daffodil, iris reticulata Katharine Hodgkin, snowdrops, hellebore, camellia, daphne odorata marginata, and crocus.

Barry, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, then visited to extend the

downpipe across the kitchen extension roof to the guttering.

With our friend reflected in the Velux window he and I enjoyed a very pleasant conversation.

Five chapters further on in ‘Little Dorrit’ prompts a scan of five more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to this novel of Charles Dickens.

‘Mr Pancks requested Mr Rugg to take a good strong turn at the handle’ of the street pump, which were common sources of water for residents in the mid-nineteenth century. https://johnsnow.matrix.msu.edu/work.php?id=15-78-80 carries a long entry on “The Broad Street Pump: An episode in the cholera epidemic of 1854”.

in ‘My dear soul, you are my only comfort’, we recognise the earlier profile of the magnificent Mrs Merdle.

‘The three expensive Miss Tite Barnacles’ are somewhat less than delightful.

The jubilation of ‘The Collegians cheered him very heartily’ has the artist throwing his hats through the text.

‘The little procession moved slowly through the gate’ demanded the span of a two page spread. No doubt readers will recognise earlier acquaintances.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury pilau rice topped with a five egg omelette served with both tempura and hot and spicy prawns with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Réserve de Bonpas.

Ninon Michaelis

The sun kept away today, and the cloud-wrapped air was mild.

To increase seasonal confusion the winter flowering cherry has bloomed early and nudges crab apples normally stripped by blackbirds by now.

This camellia is a very early spring bloomer, but never a November one.

Fuchsias like Delta’s Sarah and Mrs Popple just go on and on;

what is Margaret Merril doing distributing her summer scents over the latter?

This pink climber; the deep magenta Gloriana; gently blushing Crown Princess Margareta; never-ending For Your Eyes Only; dewy Mamma Mia; and ever-prolific Absolutely Fabulous still, beyond their normal spans, cling to life.

Even Winchester Cathedral has turned its back on Autumn.

Fatsia knows when to flower;

as for bidens, pelargoniums, and penstemon, they have no idea when to stop.

This afternoon the skies gently leaked and I scanned the last few black and white negatives produced from Kensal Green Cemetery in May 2008.

One of the most skilfully carved monuments in this, the earliest of “The Magnificent Seven” landscaped London cemeteries, stands in honour of Ninon Michaelis (c1864-1895) who ‘was the first wife of Maximilian (Max) Michaelis (1852-1932), a German-South African financier and diamond magnate. Max Michaelis was a partner in the mining company of Wernher, Beit & Co., and came to England in 1891 as the firm’s London director. An avid collector of paintings, he donated a magnificent collection of Dutch masters to the South African government, and endowed the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in the University of Cape Town. He was knighted in 1924. Ninon Michaelis was named as a popular figure in reviews of troops in South Africa. In May 1895, at the age of 31, she died of syncope (fainting), pneumonia and alcoholism. Also deposited in the vault beneath the monument are the remains of Max’s brother Gustav Michaelis (c1858-1901). Ownership of the vault passed to Maximilian’s second wife, Lillian Elizabeth Burton, whom he married in 1908, and who is recorded as the owner of the plot in 1932……..’

‘The monument is attributed to Henry Alfred Pegram (1862-1937). Pegram entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1881 and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1884.’ (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1246089).

A side view of this sculpture of artist Wiliam Mulready appears in the book so I will not reproduce it here.

Sorrowful angels populate these Victorian burial grounds.

Another sealed up mausoleum is this one erected for Sir Patrick O’Brien.

His obituary in the International Catholic News weekly reported ‘The death of SIR PATRICK O’BRIEN, BART., on April 25, is announced. The deceased Baronet was the eldest son of the late Sir Timothy O’Brien, Bart. When the Corporation of Dublin was reformed in 1840, Daniel O’Connell was elected the first Catholic Chief Magistrate of the City since the penal times. Sir Timothy O’Brien was the second, and he was again subsequently elected when it became known that the Queen was to pay her first visit to Ireland. It was on this occasion, 1849, that the honour of a Baronetcy was conferred. He had then been member for Cashel since 1845 and continued such till 1857.’ (http://ukcdngenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-london-cemetery-blumberg-obrien-and.html)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-matured spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender green beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Valle Central Reserva Privado Merlot 2019.

In The Night Garden

Following the call of the moon last night Jackie took her camera into the garden to photograph

its light;

she moved on to sculptures Florence

and her Owl

She worked on the garden during the day, beginning with lining up tubs of

tulips on the patio, showing  those in the process of uncurling alongside earlier arrivals.

Those tulips, and this more standard red one, are cultivated and have limited life spans.

Species, on the other hand, will naturalise. These red ones are new.

Lilac Wonders bloom and proliferate year after year, brightening

the Palm Bed,

diagonally opposite which stand these fritillaries

at the corner of the Cryptomeria Bed. This view takes us through to

the Weeping Birch Bed.

Alongside that is the Oval Bed with its splendid marigolds and cowslips.

Nearer the house the red Japanese maple is regenerating in the Kitchen Bed. Apparently dead, this was heavily pruned three years ago by me, and the following year by Aaron.

The camellia behind this bears new and old blooms

which carpet the ground beneath it.

This evening Jackie served up her own savoury egg fried rice with meaty spare ribs coated with spicy barbecue sauce; crisp prawn toasts and spring rolls, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquiriz Reserva Navarra 2013.

 

The Holly And The Ivy

 

https://youtu.be/ACvDYTfWupM

Our white sofa, being a sofa bed, is extremely heavy. In order to avoid damaging the new flooring, this morning Connor called upon

Mark to help him lift it into place.

Jackie ventured into the garden on this much brighter day than yesterday, announcing “I am going into the garden to photograph some loveliness.”  Her results included

raindrops on oak leaf pelargoniums,

on nasturtiums – only the red ones -,

on roses including Hot Chocolate,

Winchester Cathedral,

and pink carpet variety,

on vinca,

 

on cyclamen,

 

on camellia,

and on branches of Japanese maple,

weeping birch,

and the stems of Félicité Perpétue.

She also pictured primroses,

bidens,

solanum,

marguerites,

cyclamen leaves,

weeping birch bark,

viburnum,

 winter flowering cherry,

and generous pansies sharing their trough with next spring’s burgeoning tete-a-tetes.

Finally she thought her collection would not have been truly seasonal – not that much of it actually is – without

the holly

and the ivy.

The blackbirds have eaten all our berries.

Apart from working on this draft, I wrote out a batch of Christmas cards which Jackie posted later.

By the end of the afternoon, Connor was working on the final corner, which he soon finished.

One of the benefits of not being able to get into your kitchen for three days is that you can eat out in one of your favourite restaurants each day. This evening it was the turn of The Family House Chinese at Totton where we enjoyed our usual M3 set meal with Tsing Tao beer.