Martin had been due to spend two days last week making a start on preparing the patio for repaving, but the gales made that impossible. He now plans to come for three days, starting tomorrow. Had he been due to arrive today the heavy rain and slightly less severe winds would have been no more conducive.

Raindrops created their now familiar circlets on paving pools.

I donned Jackie’s hooded raincoat and ventured out to test the waterproof quality of my Canon camera.

Before my Chauffeuse had suggested yesterday’s forest drive I had planned to photograph the various artefacts in our garden that have been subjected to the meteorological ravages, and the uses to which they have been adapted. This morning I considered that it wouldn’t matter that they were now being subjected to more of such harsh treatment.

We have found that metal garden furniture, like this rocking chair purchased from Molly’s Den, soon, despite additional coats of paint, rusts away, but still looks elegant provided it is not overtaxed. It has a few more years left in it for this extension of life as a plant pot stand.

Regular readers will know that we seldom leave the Council’s Efford Recycling Centre without having made a purchase from their Reuse Shop.

This wicker chair was one such, which served its original function for a year or two before also being relegated to a support for plant pots.

The duck perched on the chair-back was a solar light which no longer works and is now simply a water bird suitably adapted to the conditions.

Several garden lanterns also came from Efford and have been converted to containers for various items around the garden. This one really is at the end of its life.

This two seater bench from Redcliffe Garden Centre really didn’t last long until the Head Gardener reinforced its seat with bamboo stems. Despite its looks, it is now very comfortable.

We were very pleased with the bench that came from the Ace Reclaim salvage centre until that rusted away making it unserviceable for its original role, however, with the substitution for the seat of an old shelf found in the shed when we moved into this house, and with the additional support of a stack of bricks found buried in what is now the Rose Garden, it will hold a row of potted plants.

Speaking of the Rose Garden, its entrance arch lurches a bit, but is buttressed by wooden splints and supported by the stout climbing roses on its right hand side.

Even the stumperies are constructed from long dead tree stumps we uprooted a few years ago.

For our garden furniture we now confine ourselves to seasoned wood and strengthened aluminium.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks; crisp oven chips and onion rings; peas and sweetcorn; baked tomatoes; and a mélange of stir fried vegetables. Jackie and Flo also enjoyed piquant cauliflower cheese, but I had no room on my plate. We repeated yesterday’s beverages – in my case that meant opening another bottle of the Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.

Emergency Grounding

The bare copper beach brings clear signs of autumn to the garden, as

Jackie continues her clearance of the Palm Bed and, in particular,

the Dead End Bed. This New Zealand hebe has received heavy pruning.

The thick limb to the right of the chimney planter, and supporting the remaining branches, has been rooted from the original shrub that had been planted further back some years ago.

Here is another view from Margery’s Bed.

Jackie has removed some plants, repositioned others like the potted hydrangea ready for planting, set a profusion of spring bulbs,

and stepping stones for access during next spring’s burgeoning.

Clearance and replanting has also been carried out on the opposite side of the path.

The same treatment has been applied to other bed’s such as Margery’s which can hopefully expect a profusion of richly hued Black Beauty Dutch irises.

Here, the Head Gardener contemplates the remains of a crocosmia collection. She did most of her own compost accumulation, but left me a little.

Anticipated winds in excess of 50 m.p.h. prompted the usual emergency grounding of the wooden patio chairs.

This evening, with additional starters of tempura prawns and vegetable wantons, we dined on our second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

Someone Is Going To Regret It


In the late morning of this very hot Summer’s day, Jackie drove me to Mudeford Quay. This was the first occasion since my surgery on which I squeezed myself into the car without having been forced to do so by a medical appointment. My Chauffeuse Extraordinaire drove very slowly around the quay and the harbour, stopping on occasion for me to photograph a subject through the passenger seat window.

Boats and buoys, Isle of Wight

Departing boats and stationary buoys shimmered on the waves as we arrived;

Man watching sea and shading eyes

one gentleman shaded his eyes as, perched on his bag, he watched the activity.

Fishing was undertaken from the quay and from the spit opposite.

Boats and swans

Leaving the quay, we cruised along the harbour where swans paddled past moored boats

Swans, sailboarder, black-headed gull

and a skimming sailboarder.

Black-headed gulls

Squawking black-headed gulls strutted about

Dinghies parked

beside the dinghy park;


and the sailboarder came into clearer view.

A little dog trotting beside its master paused and urged its mistress to keep up.

I wondered whether two women on a bench were aware that another pair was about to pass in front of them.

We diverted to Avon Beach where I disembarked and leant against the sea wall watching a small boy smoothing a log on the sand. He, and a couple in chairs nearer the shore were oblivious of each other.

Already, well before noon, the beach was filling up with sun-seekers settling into chairs or lying on the sand with varying degrees of protection. Some would undoubtedly regret the exposure tomorrow.

Man, boy, and crossword solver

While one gentleman and a boy engaged in bucket and spade activity, another grappled with a crossword.

This evening we dined on pepperoni pizza and plentiful salad.

The Rat Catcher


Barn owl sculpture

This is the owl our offspring gave Jackie for her birthday.

Pedestal etc

Clearly this splendid sculpture needed a plinth on which to perch. Fortunately I had noticed one in the very dealership from which we had purchased yesterday’s troughs. So back we went to Molly’s Den and bought it.

Chairs etc

Much more can be found in this emporium: chairs, table and settings;


recordings old and new;


figurines to every taste;


bears, of course;

Wooden boxes

boxes of possibly dubious provenance;


headscarfs on mannequins;

Fairground signs 1Fairground signs 2

fairly optimistically priced peeling and faded fairground signs;

Copper jug

and bright copper artefacts, to select a few.

ponies outside The Rising Sun

On our return home, a cluster of ponies gathered outside The Rising Sun at Wootton. Were they perhaps waiting for lunch to be served?

Barn Owl sculpture on plinth

Rats continue to enter our garden from the empty and unkempt North Breeze next door. Perhaps that is the reason that Jackie wasted no time in allocating a place for the barn owl’s plinth beside the patio. I expect that benign looking predator appears rather different to a rodent.

Later, Jackie continued weeding and planting, while I fed this year’s compost pile and emptied the last of the matured one onto the Palm Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s bountiful beef casserole served with abundant boiled potatoes. She drank Peroni while I finished the madiran.


Morning Light


On Sunday mornings when Aaron is due to come, I nip down to the five-barred gate at the end of the back drive to open it so he can drive his vehicle in.

This morning there was no nipping, because I was bewitched by the light.

Our treasured help performed a variety of tasks today. He painted metal chairs, mended a wooden one that had been smashed by the autumn winds, and weeded more paths.

This afternoon we are visiting The First Gallery, visiting my mother, and going out for a meal  with Elizabeth in the evening. It may be that we take Mum with us for the meal. The reason for this is that her domiciliary care has, like everyone else’s, been privatised. This means that it is undertaken by contracted firms whose main object is to make money. The result is rushed and unreliable schedules subject to inconvenient alterations, with or without a warning telephone call.

Mum needs help to get up and shower and to settle herself down for bed. Elizabeth does most other things for her. Today she was informed that the morning visit would be late and the evening early. This could mean starting well after 10 a.m. and finishing well before 6 p.m. In the circumstances Mum cancelled the evening call, so we will come into play. I will report on this tomorrow.

Those who are unaware of the welfare systems here may not know that we have no choice but to have National Insurance contributions deducted from our earnings, and that Local Authorities can keep none of the promises about receiving care free of charge ‘at the point of service’ ‘from the cradle to the grave’. Jackie’s Social Work colleagues from abroad had to have her explain to them why it was that elderly people wondered why they had to pay for these inadequate services. There is much current debate about injecting more money. That will make not the slightest difference because, like so many of our services, the destruction, in the name of Mammon, has already happened.

Responding To Comments


Today’s photographic projects were prompted by responses to recent posts.

Pony Round-up 17

Yesterday’s offering included 35 photographs, and of those who favoured the very last one, Laurie Graves, herself an excellent blogger, suggested a large print. I made one of A3+ with a white margin.

Various comments focussed on potential views from the seats portrayed in ‘Seating Arrangements’, the day before. In contrast to the last two days, this one was very dull, but I thought I would oblige, on my perambulation around the garden.

View from aluminium dump bench

Here is the view to the left of the aluminium dump bench, and through the gazebo to the Palm Bed. The Florence statue appears on the right hand edge of the image;

View from Ace Reclaim bench

a are direct sight of her is gained from the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Florence at Fiveways

She has gathered a few more baskets around her. I cropped the close-up because a blue bucket and a hose reel would have been more than The Head Gardener could tolerate.

View from chairs in gravelled patio

From one of the chairs in the gravelled patio we look towards the Oval Bed


containing one our clumps of rudbeckia.

Phantom Path

A strategically placed chair faces east along the Phantom Path.


This time I have included the decking seating arrangement, on which the signs of impending autumn are beginning to fall. (That one is for my friends over the pond)


It is, of course, the time for dahlias;

Bees on ice plant

and for ice plants to attract working bees.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, parathas, and onion bahjis. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Heritage de Calvet Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014.

Seating Arrangements


Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will know that we are prone to buying almost as many benches and chairs as plants. This is because we like to provide points at which to sit and contemplate the views, or simply to take a rest in the shade.

Today I followed the cloud-diffused sun around the garden, photographing a selection of the seating arrangements.

Garden Seats 1

Many, like this pair of chairs in the front garden, were bought very cheaply from Efford Recycling Centre.

Garden Seats 2

This bench, recently moved from the grass patch to the Dead End Path, was from the same source. It is, in truth, a bit rickety, and therefore rests against the butler sinks.

Garden Seats 3

Our four large wooden chairs made by a local carpenter, cast interesting shadows on the patio.

Garden Seats 4

Looking a bit battered after its journey from Newark to two London addresses before being extensively repaired by me two years ago, this bench is a replica of those at Nottingham Castle. It is perfectly sturdy.

Garden Seats 5

Jackie found the cast iron ends of this seat, now resting on the Heligan Path, in the shrubberies. I bought the wood and fitted it together.

Garden Seats 6

A cluster of metal chairs is loosely arranged on the gravelled south end patio;

Garden Seats 10

this one has strayed a bit, presenting a view into the Rose Garden,

Garden Seats 8

where this elegantly ornate chair is one of the features.

Garden Seats 7

Our most recent dump acquisition has replaced the earlier mentioned bench on the grass patch. It is made of light and strong aluminium, but could do with a paint job.

Garden Seats 11

A variety of wooden seats, like this one outside the stable door,

Garden Seats 13

this beside Elizabeth’s Bed,

Garden Seats 14

 these along the back drive,

Garden Seats 15

and this beside the Brick Path facing the Phantom Path, were obtained from the same source.

Garden Seats 16

Others, like this one alongside the Head Gardener’s Walk, came from IKEA.

Garden Seats 17

Beside the same path, in the arched Gardener’s Rest was furnished by the recycling centre.

Garden Seats 12

Aaron recently added touches of paint to this iron bench bought from Ace Reclaim architectural salvage outlet. Beside the Shady Path it looks across the Palm Bed.

This evening we dined on juicy chicken Kiev; sauteed leeks, peppers, and mushrooms; crisp carrots, broccoli and new potatoes; followed by Bakewell plait and vanilla ice cream. I drank more of the syrah, and Jackie drank a blend of Bavaria and Hoegaarden.



Gusting 50+ miles per hour winds wreaked havoc overnight and today. They are due to continue until tomorrow morning.

Fallen chairs and potFallen chair and potFallen potFallen pot on decking

Pots and chairs, even the new heavy wooden ones, were blown down,

Nicotiana bent

and the taller plants, such as the nicotiana staked up a few days ago,  were bent over once more.


Some stems were broken off and, like this beautiful begonia, found their way into vases known as accident pots. These containers are so called because of the occasional mishaps occurring during ordinary maintenance, not the results of elemental vengeance.

Struggling to steer our own course in the face of the gusting blasts, we did a little recovery work, including tying up roses, and laying down items, such as hanging baskets and more chairs, that were likely to suffer. We left the nicotiana because the cane snapped as I tried to insert it, and I couldn’t be bothered to search out another. Especially for the Head Gardener, this was all rather dispiriting. We don’t, just yet, want to be reminded that Autumn is around the corner.

This evening, for dinner, we consoled ourselves with Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower and cabbage, followed by steamed suet pudding and cream. I drank more of the Alentejano, and Jackie drank fruit juice.

Country Girl


This morning I received a request from Judith Munns to post a daily wildlife picture on Facebook.

Donkey's eye 3 - Version 2

I spent some time making a few selections and began with this one from

Country girl 1

This afternoon Country Girl was delivered.

Country girl 2

At Fiveways she has replaced the chimney pot,

Chimney pot planter

removed by Jackie and Ian to a corner of the Dead End Path.

Country girl 3

Jackie found several versions on this young lady on the Internet, but none with such an pleasingly elegant face.

Country girl 4Country girl 5Country girl 6

On Fiveways she has several viewpoints.

Country girl 7

Jackie has filled her planter already.


Later, after Becky and Ian had returned home, our new garden chairs were delivered. Naturally they had to be introduced to Peroni and bordeaux. This magnificent, reasonably priced, furniture is made locally by Handmade From The Heart at

Country girl 8

Behind Jackie is the Dead End Path. From there I once more photographed our Country Girl. The camera picked up that the poor young lady was covered in flies.

Jackie and Becky have been experimenting, rather successfully, with making Cornish pasties. Fortunately this meant that there was enough surplus pastry and contents for Jackie to produce a beef and vegetable pie for our dinner this evening. Despite there being carrots in the pastie mix we had more, with cauliflower, green beans, and new potatoes, served with the pie. Orange trifle was to follow. We continued with the drinks we had consumed earlier.

Katie’s Wake

Storm Katie particularly selected our corner of Hampshire to belabour throughout the night with winds of up to 105 m.p.h. Having heeded the forecast our intrepid Head Gardener brought down many of her pots and protected other parts of the garden. Nevertheless, tears sprang to her eyes when she witnessed the devastation this morning.

Cold frames blown down

The cold frames built last autumn had been smashed to pieces and scattered around the side and front of the house.

Daffodils blown down

One pot of daffodils had been blown from its perch on the front Gardener’s Rest.

Arch blown down 2Arch blown down 1

Two arches have been uprooted;

Broken lamp

that in the front has destroyed a solar lamp.

Broken pot 1

Other breakages include plant pots that can no doubt be replaced from Efford Recycling Centre.

Chairs blown down


Plant stand blown down

and planters also took a dive.

The wind continued throughout the day, and rain interrupted the sunshine, so we decided to defer the recovery process until tomorrow, and drive out to see how the forest had fared.

Fallen tree 1StumpStump and fallen tree

This scene near Bolderwood demonstrated that the recent falls of forest giants will eventually merge into the landscape, just as their ancestors have done. Perhaps this rotting stump had been shattered by a wind as strong as that which had ripped the trunk off its neighbour.

Fallen tree 2Fallen tree 3

Fallen tree 5Fallen tree 4

Many other such corpses, recent, and ancient, litter the terrain.

Fallen tree clearance

The last of these trees had been cleared from the road that it had crossed.

Traffic on road

Variable traffic,

Runner on road

and a cheerful runner who had just seen a wonderful rainbow, enjoyed the bright light once the rain had stopped pelting down.

Donkeys 2

In Newtown, near Minstead, the dappled coats of donkeys blended with the sunlit tarmac.

Donkeys 1

When living there, we had watched the house in the centre of this picture being built.

Donkey baby

These two had left their basking baby while they wandered off.

Donkeys 3

Further on, we were obliged to stop and watch another trio able across the road they own.

Shattered tree

I have often photographed this tree, when whole, on Seamans Corner green;

Fallen branch

or this scene, further down the road, before Katie struck.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. I drank more of the madiran, and The Cook didn’t.