The Green Man

Sam 1982 - Version 2Tree 1982Tree-lined lane1982Tree roots 1982Today’s weather pattern was similar to yesterday’s. I therefore delved into the archives again and came up with another black and white picture of Sam looking remarkably like his daughter Orlaith, among a collection of shots of still naked trees that must have Tree roots 1982 - Version 2been taken early in 1982 somewhere in Surrey. I love the contorted shapes and the images they sometimes reveal. Study, for example, the last picture above. Can you see the Green Man of legend? He is a mythological figure representing rebirth, and, reproduced in every art form, whether drawing, painting or sculpture, is frequently seen as an architectural symbol or a pub sign. Very often he is painted as if formed from foliage. I have never seen him depicted in bark, which is my excuse for breaking my normal rule and altering an image.Tree like deer 1982 2

Perhaps the fossilised Picasso-like deer in this shot is easier to spot.

As the day brightened up, I wandered along Hordle Lane as far as the path by the side of Apple Court Garden, and along this until my way was barred by a locked five-barred gate. I then retraced my steps. HorsesTwo of the horses in the paddock still wore their protective Clematis campanifloramasks, although the day was less fly-blown.

Water lilySmall white butterfly on bidensWe now have a delicate little clematis Campaniflora rambling across the plants in the front garden.

Water lilies are still forcing their way to the light in the tiny pond created in an old water tank.

Among the most fidgety of the butterflies we have is the small white, which, like Tigger, never seems to be able to settle. They are constantly, restlessly, flitting around the garden. I managed, fleetingly, to catch one on a bidens. It didn’t stay long enough to disturb the other two basking insects.

Having noticed that Apple Court were advertising rare and unusual plants, I returned this afternoon with the head gardener to make some purchases. We bought a Persicaria microcephalus Red Dragon; a Hydrangea paniculata Phantom; two Athyriums, one Metallicum, the other dictum Red Beauty; and a Dryopteris erythrosora Brilliance.Butterfly Meadow Brown and bee on cone flower

CatalpaDappling of catalpa flowersPrimrose having her photograph takenIn the sales area Meadow Brown butterflies and bees flocked to the cone flowers. In the garden itself, a magnificent catalpa shed its shaded blooms, vying with the sunlight in  dappling the lawn beneath, and Primrose was having her photograph taken.Apple Court Garden water lily

Water lilies in the capacious carp ponds had no need to force their way into the sunlight.

When we returned with our spoils, seizing upon the opportunity to contribute to the planting, and, more significantly, to take a break from digging up concrete slabs, I volunteered to dig the holes for the new residents. This turned out to be somewhat unwise. I began with the ferns, which were destined for a comparatively fallow spot where only weeds seemed to be growing. Almost immediately I hit upon large lumps of tufa. Tufa is a porous rock, formed near mineral springs, upon which some hardy plants will grow. It is popular for rockeries and alpines. Maybe a rockery was once intended for this bed. TufaThe large piece on the left of the pile in the picture demonstrates that it is useful on which to grow certain plants. Not ideally those it was harbouring. FernsHaving dug all this out, the craters left had to be filled with soil scrounged from other parts of the garden. Then we planted our ferns.

Persicaria microcephalaThe lair allocated for the Red Dragon involved piercing a mixture of clay and gravel. Fortunately for me Jackie did most of it.

Hydrangea paniculata PhantomFinally, I only had to negotiate a tree root before setting the Phantom hydrangea standing proud.

This evening we again dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi with boiled rice, followed by evap on strawberries on raspberry twirl cheesecake. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Chataigniere Bordeaux 2012.

The Workhouse

We enjoyed another beautifully balmy Indian summer day for our trip to Christchurch’s Red House Museum.

Operated by volunteers there are sections devoted to learning about The Victorians and the twentieth century; and archeological finds going back to neolithic times.  A small garden is as informative as the rooms inside.  In particular we are told the benefits provided by various plants to the ecology. There is a plentifully stocked herb garden and another for roses.

The teenage tyrant Noah Claypole, in Charles Dickens’s ‘Oliver Twist’, named the eponymous hero ‘Work’us’, because the boy had spent his first nine years in a workhouse.  Oliver would no doubt have recognised this 1764 Georgian building in its original incarnation, for it was built as a workhouse:The Red House as aWorkhouse

The separate women’s section of this building is no longer in existence.  The rose garden is planted where it stood.  NerinesSome of the roses were still in bloom this afternoon, as were a fine crop of nerines.


A fly basked on a catalpa leaf.  Bug hotelPerhaps it had just checked out of the bug hotel in the woodland walk..

CartwheelElsewhere in the garden one or two cartwheels that have seen better days are distributed for rustic effect.

As one wanders from room to room of this imaginatively laid out, not terribly extensive, town garden, various glimpses of the Priory Church can be had through the sometimes decorative foliage.Archway

A small figure of St Francis of Assisi stands in a niche in the rear entrance archway.St FrancisPriory Church

Once inside, we were warmly welcomed; informed, as I took out my wallet, that the tour was free; and given a brief explanation of the layout.  Donations were invited, but not until we had been satisfied.

The Meet the Victorians exhibition uses modern materials and artwork to take us through different aspects of the life of that era.  Original objects are on display with a timeline of a typical workhouse day.

Arthur Romney Green was a local craftsman making furniture in the 1930s.  1935 roomThe 1935 room contains model figures with real pieces of his work in a setting typical of the time.  I imagine this family were better off than many. Note the Clarice Cliff tea set.

One can only make a selection of the artefacts and other items on display.  I have chosen one or two that have some meaning for me.

Box mangle

Being confronted by the huge box mangle I experienced a sense of relief that it hadn’t been in our mother’s kitchen when I experimented on Chris’s finger.  When we were very young Mum had no washing machine, and so washed everything by hand.  She did, however, have a wooden mangle.  Sheets, in particular, were placed between two rollers, and you turned a handle in order to squeeze and therefore rinse them.  One day Chris left his finger in as I turned the handle.  Fortunately his bones must have been still soft enough to be re-inflated.  The museum exhibit looked a bit more heavy duty than our version.

Tram model

The model tram on a window sill reminded me of those I travelled on as a child down Wimbledon Broadway.  After trams and trolleybuses, it was the Routemaster modelRoutemaster, a model of one of which lay in a cabinet, that became London Transport’s bus of choice from 1954 until the last one was taken out of service in 2005.  In our more safety-conscious age, it is no longer considered appropriate to have an open doorway, from which the tardy or the daring can jump on or off a public service vehicle.  I discovered that you can still hire out a Routemaster for special events on 31st August, when Anne’s car was blocked in by a pair of them that had been hired for a wedding party.

It is probably well known that one task given to adult workhouse residents was the very painful one of picking oakum. Fusee chain Much smaller, more flexible, fingers were needed to make fusee chains for clocks and watches.  Young girls had that job.  Most of them consequently suffered from damaged eyesight.

A neighbouring case to the one that held the chain contained early writing implements. Pens steel nibbed The steel-nibbed pens reminded me of those with which I had learned to write at primary school.  Desks had notches for ink wells into which we dipped our pens.  One summer I injured my right hand.  I don’t remember how, but I most certainly do remember being made to write with my left hand until the other one recovered.  I am of course not alone in having, during that era, had to go through that particular form of educational torture.  Nor of the others mentioned on 1st November last year, when I attempted to entertain with tales of my primary school years.

The Southwell Workhouse museum is in stark contrast to the one we visited today.  Opened by the National Trust earlier this century, it is the most complete workhouse in existence.  The buildings and exercise yards are intact and, with one exception, completely bare and unfurnished.  Visitors are given a dramatised audio commentary with which to absorb the ambience of the housing of the poor in times gone by.  It is very effective.  The exception is the floor that was used as a women’s refuge in the 1970s.  That is furnished as it was then with objects that had been provided by various charities, and largely consisted of other people’s cast offs.  I well remember an identical kitchen cabinet with a drop-down shelf to that that had been my mother’s pride and joy in the 1950s.

The rows of cast iron single bedsteads were rather depressing, especially when reflecting on why the residents lived there.

Fish and chips, mushy peas, and Stelle d’Italia Prosecco provided our evening sustenance.