None Of That Nonsense

Late this afternoon rain had brought abandonment to the first day of the fourth Ashes Test match, but here it was reasonably warm and sunny.

Jackie, hindered by Nugget, continued planting, while I wandered around the garden.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, in her third flush, has now toned down her blue rinse.

Other clematises, such as Polish Spirit,

and the tiny white campaniflora, have weathered the storm.

A Lidl pink one still climbs the arch spanning the Brick Path beyond the pelargoniums flanking the Nottingham Castle bench.

Here are some of those pelargoniums.

Begonias are in their prime.

Fuchsias, like these two chequerboards, continue to thrive.

Mama Mia, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Festive Jewel, Crown Princess Margatera, and Hot Chocolate are all examples of roses still holding up their heads.

Long shadows streak across the tiny lawn.

Honesty and Hollyhocks are displaying seed pods.

Earlier in the summer Aaron moved the miscanthus from the edge to the centre of the Palm Bed. It has survived.

Pelargoniums drape many of the hanging baskets.

Petunias and bidens are equally prolific.

The New Bed and Elizabeth’s Bed still offer much colour.

The first of this set of pictures show cosmos and echinacea alongside Elizabeth’s Bed, the second is of the Weeping Birch Bed, and the last two lead us towards the house.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (14)

Jackie can’t settle to drinks on the patio without taking a trowel to stir the pudding for her little friend.

This evening he looked askance at her first effort and

took up a stance on a stone above some slate chips as if, like a stroppy toddler, to say “I don’t like that dinner. Get me something else”. I can assure you that the Head Gardener had none of that nonsense from her own children.

I certainly didn’t turn up my nose at our delicious dinner of spicy pork paprika, mushroom rice, and runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Pink Champagne

Chequerboard fuchsiaJackie’s Chequerboard fuchsia is not hardy, so she has brought it into the bedroom for the winter, and it has flowered again.  It struck me this morning as being in perfect harmony with its surroundings. It was to seem even more an appropriate colour match for today’s later encounter.

By 9.00 a.m. we were in Ringwood to deliver the car to Wells Garage for its M.O.T. test.  Leaving the vehicle for its once-over, Jackie set off to the town for some shopping whilst I embarked upon the Avon Valley Path from Hurst Road, that I had last walked on 4th March.Avon Valley Path (2) Avon Valley Path The Avon Valley Path is often very narrow and bordered by very high wire fencing, keeping us away from fields, woods, and lakes on private land; or simply by garden fences.  The wire fencing as described occupies the start of this particular route, and is actually rather claustrophobic.  It soon has a meandering stream running along the left hand side although the right retains the uninviting barrier.  On my previous visit I left the stream because I took the path indicated by a green arrow as the Avon Valley one.  Today I chose to stay with the rivulet, following the yellow arrows indicating the Countryside Path.  This was far more pleasant.  It widened out in parts and had the added attractions of continuing running water.

As I had noted in March, the path was criss-crossed by tree roots of varying forms and sizes.  Given that they were now covered by fallen leaves, knowing they were there probably saved me from twisting an ankle or two. Avon Valley Path (3)Avon Valley Path (1) Recently fallen trees formed primitive bridges straddling the stream or new arches across the footpath. The only other person I met was a man doing his best to keep up with two terriers whilst ensuring he didn’t become entangled in their extending leads.  He was hard put to answer my greeting.

Back in March, on the Avon Valley Path, I had been unable to get near most of the lakes on the route. Linwood LakeLinwood Lake (1) Today, on the Countryside Path I had an excellent view of Linwood Lake, although it too, as a nature reserve of some importance, was fenced off.  Stately swans sailed upon it.

After forty minutes I came to a road beneath which, with the benefit of a ford, continued the stream.  It was signposted to Ringwood.  As a circular route would always be preferable to me, I decided to take the road, which was later signed as Gorley Road.  Turning right at The White Hart and along Southampton Road took me through Poulner and back to the town.

As I passed Donna-Marie’s hair salon, she was standing in her doorway, and I stopped and spoke with her for a minute or two.  When Jackie and I have tried to describe everything that is pink about this beautiful and bubbly young lady and her establishment, mere words have not been able to do justice to it. Donna-Marie Donna was more than happy to help me put her, and consequently you, in the picture.

Upon reaching Ringwood I walked through Kings Arms Lane to the riverside, round the Bickerley, up to and under the A31, and arrived back at Wells Garage just as they had phoned Jackie to say the car was ready.  I waited for her to return from Sainsbury’s and we took the pretty route through Bransgore back home, once again marvelling at the stunning array of varying colours of the autumn leaves that  dazzled even on such a dull day.

After a dozy afternoon we dined on tender pork fillet marinaded in plum sauce; vegetables roasted with sweet chilli sauce; and egg fried rice, cooked by Jackie in a manner which would have pleased any Chinese cook.  Dessert was vanilla ice cream with strawberry jam and evaporated milk.  I finished the Gran Familia.

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.