Naming The Children

Display board

The card-making factory put the final touches to the process of preparation for the Open Studio today.  One design we had forgotten to use was produced in three different formats; My chief administrator completed her cataloguing; and created a display board which looks pretty impressive to me.  She has earned the privilege of selecting some of her own favourites. The tally is 188 cards from 78 individual designs.  And the tip of the supply iceberg hasn’t even been chipped.

House in Chapel Lane

For a break after lunch we drove to check out a house in Bransgore.  Next door there is a vacant lot which once clearly held another house. Planning Permission Application On the fence is posted a notice advertising a planning application for building a replacement house.  This, I understand, is now the only housebuilding that can take place in the National Park.  Maybe it has a bearing on why the attractive 1930s bungalow on offer is within our expected price range.

Portuguese Fireplace

On the road between Bolderwood and Emery Down, we passed the Portuguese Fireplace, the plaque accompanying which I will let tell its story:

Portuguese Fireplace plaque

Scooby's dirty protestShortly before we settled down to our evening meal, we learned, in the usual manner, that Scooby is in the humanhouse again.  Maybe he has got wind, or more, of the impending family move.

Our meal was actually a product tasting session sampling the offerings of those popular German brothers, Lidl and Aldi.  The two companies’ Chinese spare ribs were both very tasty and full of meat.  It was, nevertheless, surprisingly easy  to reach agreement that Lidl scores on the grounds of slightly more tender protein and less harsh sauce.  Wild rice complemented the dish.  I drank La Patrie Cahors 2011.

Yesterday, I wrote of my Grandpa Hunter, the photographer, and my Dad, the walker.  Dad’s walking was, I believe, a matter of necessity.  Grandpa’s photography, like mine, was a burning interest.  He was also a long distance runner, as was I during the 80s and 90s.  If Grandpa passed on his interests genetically, so did he the hair.  Both Mum and I began to sprout white locks in our twenties, and we both still have it.

Derrick 1943

In August 1964, almost exactly twenty one years after George Henry Hunter took photograph number 26 in the ‘through the ages’ series, I took one of him and Dad in my grandparents’ garden in Staines.  He had, of course, also taken yesterday’s number 25 which featured Dad holding me, probably on the same day.

Grandma and Grandpa did usually keep a live woolly white terrier, but I don’t think the one I am stroking in today’s picture was real.  The real ones didn’t have black ears.  Had I studied this one before before yesterday’s, I would have been in no doubt about where we were.  The tomato plants offer the clue.  Grandpa always grew tomatoes.  He was particularly proud of those he grew in Staines.  They were massive, yet still full of flavour.  He had brought the seeds back from Italy, and saved some every year, nurturing his crop as Jackie nurtures her pots today.

Dad and Grandpa

In 1964  Annie and George Henry Hunter had lived in Staines for a while.  I am not sure how long, but, whilst they were having their bungalow built they lived with us for six months and shared my bedroom.  I was young enough to have been thrown into a paralysing panic when we had the intruder.

There was I, snugly tucked up, and presumably asleep, when disturbed by the repetitive greeting: ‘He……..low; he….low…..’.  Petrified, I thought I should answer it.  ‘Hello’, I squeaked.  Neither the greeting nor its rhythm ceased.

Like a small child or a monkey that thinks it can’t be seen if it puts its hands over its own eyes, I thought there was a possibility I would be neither seen nor heard if I hid under the blankets.  The sound continued until I fell asleep.

In the morning I couldn’t wait to tell Mum about the man in the bedroom who wouldn’t stop saying ‘hello’.  ‘Don’t be silly’, said Mum.  ‘That was Grandpa snoring.’

Incidentally, the Evans family were a little parsimonious when it came to Christian names.  Annie Hunter, nee Evans, was only given one.  Our mother, Jean Knight, nee Hunter, was blessed with carrying on the tradition.  There it stopped, because my sisters have two each.  Dad’s family had a different practise.  He and his ten siblings each had two or three, the first listed one not necessarily being the one used in real life.  The idea was that you could string them together in the way they sounded best, and use your favourite.  Thus Dad, christened Douglas Michael, was always known as Michael.  Just think how famous he could have been.  And Catherine Zeta Jones could have been my stepmother.  I owe my first name to Uncle Derrick, whose baptismal certificate reads Marcus Derrick.  Just think, with a different preference I could have been Marcus.  And playing around like this with the initials MD/DM was just perverse.  My Auntie Gwen (see eponymous post of 3rd July last year) was registered as Ellen Beatrice Gwendolen.  It undoubtedly flows, but which one would you pick?  I’m only joking, Grandma and Grandpa Knight, should you have access to this.

Clipped Wings

Continuing with the card-making process, I began by trying to understand why, when printing through iPhoto on the computer, pictures were being cropped in a frustratingly restrictive way.  In many instances this did not matter much, but when it came to a butterfly having its wings clipped this was intolerable.  So I got up this morning determined to crack the problem.

Essentially what was happening was that the iPhoto customising facility offered specific frame sizes and sliced the pictures to fit.  It is a while since I used my Canon Pro900 printer to any great degree, but I seemed to remember this not being the case with that piece of equipment in the past.  So what was happening?

It occurred to me that I was not seeing the usual box on the screen showing alternatives that come with the printer.  This offered me much more flexibility.  iPhoto must therefore be overriding it.  It is, of course possible that I have not fully understood the capabilities of the Mac.  Nevertheless, I had to find a way round this.

Peacock butterfly card

I thought I would work outside iPhoto.  How could I do that?  Then I had a brilliant idea. I would drag the pictures onto the desktop, open them up in preview, and print from there.  And what do you know?  It worked.  This had the additional bonus of the printer’s options for producing multiple copies of the same photograph on one sheet of paper.  Instead of having to find two different pictures that would conveniently fit together, I could now fit up to four samples of one image on the sheet.  I was able to rescue the poor Peacock, and to offer unpruned Clematis.Clematis card (long)

I had not used the butterfly at all, because the clipping would have ruined it.  The Clematis, however, had worked to some extent as a squarer image than the elongated one I had wanted. Clematis card (square) I was now able to use both.

Now, I am sure there are those of you out there who would have managed this in a much easier way, but please remember I am a septuagenarian, and when I was your age, before space travel brought the computer into its journey to the palms of your hands, we made do with film and chemicals.  And time.

Swan taking off card

The swan taking off is an example of the inventive creativity my able assistant brings to her part in the process.  Swan taking off inside cardNot having been able to decide the size of this print that would work, I produced two, one really rather too small.  Jackie decided to place the smaller version inside the card to echo the larger image on the front. This also involved considerable trimming so that the whole concept made sense.  Once having hit on this idea there was no stopping her.  Bits snipped off pictures began to turn up in all sorts of places, inside, on the back, to the left, to the right, in the centre.  Here a swan, there a swan, everywhere a swan.  When writing my inscriptions on the back I even missed some.

Despite her antipathy towards photographic cards, believing that such artwork should be drawn or painted, Jackie was heard on occasion to punctuate her work with such phrases as; ‘I could buy that one’.  It made me feel I must be doing something right.

We spent all day in the ‘factory’.  Today’s tally of products placed in the plastic wallets was fifty three.  That makes 153 in all.  Jackie thought that should have sufficed, but I found some more photographic paper that just had to be used up.  More were consequently printed.  The tally will be recorded tomorrow.                  .

Jackie still cooked a delicious hot arabbiata which I enjoyed with Lusac St Emilion 2011, and she with her customary Hoegaarden.  Before this I learned what it is like to water 83 pots so full of flowers that you cannot see the containers.  I just helped.  I didn’t fill the whole eighty three.

Morrison’s Petunia

Castle Malwood Card Making Factory

This morning the Castle Malwood Card Making factory, despite Jackie’s illness, was very busy.  Fifty three cards were added to the forty seven produced two days ago. Our division of labour remained the same.  My assistant is indispensable.  She does, however, continue to wonder what we will do with them all should they not sell.

Helen, having read yesterday’s post, kindly offered to help with the cards and bring a meal over.  She did, however, correctly judge that routine activity helps to take the mind off Shingles.

An intensive course of treatment to arrest the spread of the virus has been prescribed, but no-one thought about obtaining pain relief on prescription.  We therefore had to shop for Ibuprofen.  This meant a trip to a town.  We chose Romsey so that we could also check out a house over that way.  The reason it has been on the market so long that the price has been reduced, is possibly  that it has been hemmed in by in-fill building, some possibly in what were once its own grounds.  We won’t save that one to favourites.

Parking in Romsey was impossible, so we gave up and headed for Totton, where we bought the medication and went home to lunch.  The previous tenants of our flat have clearly not told a number of their friends that they have moved.  We are quite accustomed to receiving and forwarding their junk mail, but just recently there has been a spate of what are obviously greetings cards.  Dave has given us the Pikes’ new address, and we readdress their correspondence.  Another card came today, so we took it out with us to post.  It travelled to Romsey and to Totton, and finally back home, where I took it out of my jacket pocket and reinstated it on the hall table.  Perhaps I’ll remember it next time.  I doubt these cards are particularly urgent.  After all, the intended recipients moved at least a year ago.

As we sat in the sunshine this afternoon, through the Chequerboard fuchsia standing on a little occasional table, I could see some of the vast array of profusely filled pots, including one placed temporarily on the dry grass.  (It wasn’t me standing on the table.)

Morrison's petunia

This hanging basket doesn’t belong on the ground.  It has been positioned there to catch the afternoon sun, because it normally lives on the side of the building that doesn’t benefit from that.  This is all part of the committed nurturing that Jackie brings to her gardening.  What she particularly likes to do is to rescue supermarket plants that are often in such poor, neglected, condition that they are virtually given away.

The petunia in question had neither buds nor flowers, and its leaves were yellowed, when she bought it in Morrisons about a month ago.  Frequent doses of Baby Bio, sufficient water, and adequate sunshine regularly applied produced the thriving specimen we see today.  Many of the other plants in the garden have similar provenances.

Taking it slowly, our caterer-in-chief insisted on producing our dinner.  This consisted of slow roasted lamb chops and vegetables, including a courgette donated by Elizabeth’s neighbour, Jackie; sauteed potatoes; cabbage and carrots.  All very tasty, with a smattering of garlic.  New Forest ice cream was to follow.  I drank Roc des Chevaliers 2010 Bordeaux superieur.

A Margery Clarke Original

Card making

The Castle Malwood Card Making Factory is in production.  A very pleasant morning was spent producing forty seven cards from the pictures I printed a few days ago.  I print the photos and inscribe the finished cards after Jackie has Pritt sticked them onto blanks bought from Hobbycraft.  This has the benefit of her sometimes rather inventive cropping of those that are the wrong shape or size for the range we obtained at the shop.  Sometimes she has managed to make more than one card by chopping up a print – something I couldn’t have borne to do.

If we don’t sell any we should have enough for quite a few birthdays and special occasions to come.

Margery and Paul joined us for a salad lunch.  Jackie laid on an excellent spread for our visitors.  Margery, a professional artist, will be exhibiting at The Firs Open Studio, so it was natural that our respective works formed one of the topics of conversation.  Coincidentally called The First, their gallery has regular exhibitions.  I was therefore flattered when our guest suggested I submit some of the greetings cards at one.

We had forgotten to take the bread out of the freezer, but fortunately the sun’s rays were hot enough in the garden to provide a reasonable defrosting facility.  When she presented us with a gift she had made, Margery said she could have saved us the bother of the defrosting. Margery's loaf It was a small loaf embossed with our initials.  This of course can never be eaten.  It is not every day one is the recipient of a Margery Clarke original.

Incidentally the container in which the bread was transported is a Carte D’or one that had originally held vanilla ice cream. Carte D'OrI’ve always thought it pretty smart marketing of the descendants of Tom Wall to rename their product giving it an exotic title and a new lease of life.  I wonder whether the consultants who came up with the name and the rather effective logo cost as much as those who produced the angular design and weird mascots for our 2012 Olympics.

It was a shame to have to bring our party to a close because I had a GP appointment in Lyndhurst for another attempt to burn a wart off my left shoulder.  The very gentle young doctor who had tried a couple of months ago thought that she possibly hadn’t been severe enough last time, so I invited her to inflict more pain.  There was certainly a little extra piquancy this time.

St Michael & All Angels ChurchI had arrived ten minutes late, because of the usual traffic congestion entering the village.  She had been held up in the same jam, so it didn’t matter.  Actually I was a little more tardy than necessary.  We took the Emery Down route which is always less blocked than the A337.  The tailback did in fact start quite early.  We seemed to be getting nowhere so I decided to disembark, walk up to St. Michael & All Angels church and down through its precincts to the surgery.  I would meet Jackie later in the car park.

Readers could probably write the next few sentences for themselves, but I would rather like to do it myself.  After all, it is my blog.

After a few yards, the vehicles started moving again and I soon watched Jackie drive past.  We both imagined she would be held up again.  She wasn’t.  The next I saw of her was the car in the doctors’ car park.  She wasn’t in it.  She was standing at the reception desk explaining that I had been a little delayed, but was on my way.

This evening we dined on battered haddock and unbattered chips, and shared a bottle of Prestige Calvet Semillon Sauvignon 2011.

Aviemore Revisited

Bees on sunflowersJackie was thrilled this morning to see that the third of her sunflowers donated by the birds has bloomed.  She tried very hard to coach one bee simultaneously into each of her trio.  Two out of three can’t be bad.

For as long as I can remember Louisa has been disgusted at me for ‘wasting paper’ when I use A4 paper to print smaller photographs.  She has always said it is very easy either to use smaller paper or place two or more alongside each other, and I have always been reluctant to attempt to get my head round it.  When Elizabeth suggested I produced a series of greetings cards for sale at the Open Studio I knew the time had come to grasp the nettle.  By sending me a link on ‘how to print multiple images on a single page’ Chris ensured that I didn’t cop out of it.  I had a little trouble working out how to print the resultant document so that I could have it in front of me when I tackled my phobia.  I was doing this on my small Epson printer which chose that moment to require head cleaning.

Eventually I was as ready as I was ever going to be to try multiple prints.  I couldn’t produce more than one picture, although I thought I was following the directions reasonably well.  That meant I needed to ring my brother Chris for further elucidation. He realised that I couldn’t do it because I had only highlighted one picture on the screen.  I explained that I wanted multiple copies of one picture; not one copy each of multiple pictures.

Ah.  That was different.  By this time I couldn’t be doing with exploring this any further.  As I needed more than one copy of each picture I thought I’d settle for placing two different images side by side.  I did, of course, have to be instructed in the art of holding down the command key in order to keep more than one picture highlighted for the purpose.  Prints for cardsWell, it worked.

I suspect the final paragraph in the aforementioned article does explain how to do exactly what I want, but I think I’ll just rest on my laurels for the moment.  I’m a fairly old dog after all, and one new trick is enough for one day.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hobbycraft in Hedge End where we bought enough blank cards with envelopes and Pritt stick to produce a decent stock for the studio.Shrubbery

LiliesThe main event of the day was the eagerly awaited second open day of Aviemore in Bartley. Lily House leeksToday I will let the photographs utter their thousand words, for I wrote at some length about this marvellous village garden when we first visited on 2nd. June.

Sandy and Alex Robinson welcomed us most warmly, demonstrating their appreciation of my post of that day.

Blog (2.6.13) on displayDahliasClematisClematis (1)Indeed, a printout of the relevant pages was on display on the tables in the tea room, as well as an article from a gardening magazine.  I was very pleased, as  they had been with my piece.

Theda Bara?

Clematis shrubbery

Jackie thought that Mata Hari, reported lurking in the bushes last time, was probably being played by Theda Bara.

Bee on InulaDahliaPelargoniumMeadow Brown butterfly on InulaSpiky grass?The garden attracted a range of butterflies, including Meadow Brown and Cabbage White, bees busying themselves replenishing the hives, and other smaller insects such as flies, to which the eyes of my camera were more alert than those in my head.

The ‘meaty, stewy, veggy thing’ that Jackie served up this evening was deliciously tasty.  Among those ingredients that were identifiable were slices of pigs’ hearts, pork sausages, various vegetables and herbs.  Various different well-reduced stocks formed the base.  I am told that it is like ‘the lost chord’ and therefore cannot be repeated, which is a shame.  I drank Roc des Chevaliers Bordeaux superieur with mine.