A Virtual Tour

There follows the missing post from

15th January 2019

We will be without internet until the faulty router is repaired. This is because the loaned device does not work. Now that I know that EE was bought by BT in 2016, I understand why their customer care is on a par with that of their new owner. Their equipment failed. They would repair it free of charge but not replace it without payment. Yet they still take my monthly subscription. I am stuck with them because they are the only feasible service to our location. And I don’t have the energy to waste on battling with them.

Elizabeth visited bearing flowers and chocolates. She stayed for lunch before setting off to West End to accompany Mum to an eye appointment at Southampton Hospital.

Whilst I slumped comfortably in my customary corner

Jackie took a trip round the garden

and brought me back a photographic record. Titles of the pictures in the gallery, which can be accessed by clicking on any image, will identify the plants on display. Many of these would not be expected in mid-January.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken curry with brown savoury rice and vegetable samosas.

Not Cold Enough

Perhaps it was the very light overnight frost that led the blackbirds to investigate the neglected crab apples in the front garden.

This one turned its back on them and considerately stayed just long enough for me to photograph it.

We still have plenty of colour in our plot.

There are winter flowering plants such as this viburnum bodnantensis Dawn in Margery’s Bed,

and the tiny clematis cirrhosa Freckles dotted over the gazebo.

Hardy autumnal chrysanthemums we do expect;

maybe some of these fuchsias are tough enough to make it through the winter;

but self seeded bidens?;

still perky nasturtiums?;

sturdy penstemons?;

varieties of geranium not sheltered in the greenhouse?;

roses such as ascending Altissimo,

blushing Schoolgirl,

marvellous Mamma Mia,

and blooming Absolutely Fabulous?

To send these beauties packing it is not yet cold enough.

This evening Jackie produced a fillet of pork laced with powdered mustard, flaked almonds, and brown sugar, served with roast potatoes and parsnips; colourful rainbow carrots, firm Brussels sprouts, and tender runner beans. Having enjoyed a beer beforehand, neither of us imbibed.

 

 

 

An Assignation

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Before getting stuck into the ironing, I played for time by wandering around the garden with my camera. Some tulips and daffodils were still emerging; many hellebores and other daffs were in bloom; some of the earlier camellia blooms were turning to parchment, as they do; the winter-flowering clematis cirrhosa still flowers; three glass birds fly into the sun.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea for Peter to cut my hair and for me to make an appointment with a GP to set things in motion for my knees to be examined. I don’t dwell on it, but it is time to see what’s what. Afterwards we continued into the forest.

A stretch of currently very marshy land separates Undershore from Lymington reedbeds. Undershore is a narrow, winding, lane with a high bank on the other side. Jackie tucked the Modus into a corner beside a footpath so I could walk back photographing the tarmac and the soggy ground. When we stopped, the route seemed unpopulated. Soon one car after another came along. Taking evasive action I nipped onto the verge taking a step onto a muddy path. It wasn’t a path. It was a quagmire of a ditch. That was awkward. My socks and shoes got rather damp. Further along Undershore we came to School Lane which was full of the cars I had seen earlier, and adults and children. School was out.

At East Boldre grey ponies cropped grass and tore at gorse; while chestnuts preferred to stick their noses in ditches and their rears in the air, occasionally disrupting the traffic.

Marvelling at how those dainty little hooves could bear the weight of a heavily pregnant donkey and her load we brought up the rear as she followed two others down to the shingle at Tanner’s Lane. The leading pair were soon chewing on seaweed. Jackie, who had stayed in the car, told me that the bulky creature had had great difficulty squeezing past two cars blocking the entrance to the beach. Once she found her way there a joyful assignation ensued as other donkeys greeted her through the barbed wire to the adjacent field.

My first task on returning home was to change my shoes and socks in readiness for a trip to Lal Quilla where we will be dining with Richard and his wife. I will report on that tomorrow.

Waiting For The Dilation

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A wander round the garden this morning yielded

 

spears of crocosmia, tulips, and daffodils piercing the soil;

Crocuses

crocuses opened further;

Primulas and snowdrops

and varieties of primula.

Daphne odorata

Daphne Odorata remains wary of the possibility of a cold spell.

 

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa now cascades down the gazebo,

 

while, in the Rose Garden, Winchester Cathedral has bloomed for several months; Mum in a Million and Festive Jewel are in bud;

Spring sculpture

and the sun shines on “Spring”

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital and back, for my eye appointment. I received efficient treatment, the nurse being rather more friendly than the consultant, but it is not his bedside manner that I suppose one looks to. After the nurse’s checks, she administered drops intended to dilate my eyes. They were effective, and, according to Jackie, gave me a sexy air. On hearing this, the gentleman sitting next to me asked her to look at his.

The consultant advised me that the laser treatment to my left eye was, as I thought, required. Apparently another cataract is forming in the right eye. I was asked if I wanted it done. No advice was given. I declined. I now await a date for the operation to the left eye.

Further administrative confusion occurred, in that a handwritten notice on the wall advised that, as stated in the appointment letter, we may have further checks carried out after the examination in order to save repeated visits. These could take three hours. Neither my nor anyone else’s letter carried such information. However this didn’t happen.

Waiting for the dilation to take effect gave me sufficient time to finish ‘The Locked Room’, being the third short novel in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. In the penultimate chapter the author suggests that all three of these works are the same story. He also uses the word ‘absurd’ on a number of occasions. It is. We are lulled, in this final episode, into thinking we might be reading something that makes sense. The writing flows with excellent descriptions and presents a plausible situation involving apparently real people and their relationships. A childhood friendship, for example, is beautifully told. There is, as usual, no ultimate clarity as nonsense finally prevails. Not that I could follow, anyway.

Tom Burns’s illustrations were, however, a delight, true to the text to the end.

           For our dinner The Culinary Queen produced succulent pigs in blankets; sublime sage and onion stuffed roast chicken; firm Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; toothsome manges touts; and tender runner beans. Good gravy, too.  With this, I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016.

Mad Max

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It was finger-tingling cold when Jackie continued her winter planting on this sun-bright  morning and I photographed some still lingering blooms.

Pelargoniums, petunias, erigeron

Outside the kitchen door pelargoniums, petunias, and erigeron vie for space.

Pelargoniums

More pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums and verbena

some with autumnal plumage, as in this urn shared with verbenas, continue to spread their colour around.

Geranium Rozanne

Rozanne geraniums add splashes of blue

Clematis Comptesse de Bouchard

palely reflected by clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

Gazebo path

just about thriving on the gazebo

Clematis Cirrhosa

along with the winter flowering Cirrhosa.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2

There are still hardy fuchsias

Fuchsia 3

I may not yet have featured.

Maple

This maple on the grass had been cut down when we arrived three years ago. We are encouraging it to come back to life.

Honesty

Honesty seeds are masquerading as Pauline’s light catchers.

Cryptomeria and bed

They are seen here in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose pink climber

The roses to the right of the tree rise over the Oval Bed. As can be seen, there are more to come.

Salvia Hot Lips

Hot Lips salvia,

Nasturtiums

varieties of nasturtium,

Antirrhinum

and even of antirrhinum, still bloom.

On such a day a late afternoon forest drive was essential.

Sway Tower and pony

A pony in a field off South Sway Lane was more interested in the grass than in Sway Tower.

Landscape with gorse

Opposite Longsdale View, where gorse blooms among the bracken,

Isle of Wight, Solent, moors

the Isle of Wight is visible across the moors.

Reflected trees

Along the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst,

Stumps by water

where stumps stand like ancient tombstones on one bank,

Trees and Highland Water 1

the deciduous trees

Trees and Highland Water 2

now wear their temporary autumn plumage;

Shadow and reflections

the banks are becoming waterlogged

Trees and reflections 3

enough for arboreal reflections.

Dog in water

It was here that I was introduced to Mad Max, who had no fear of freezing his nether regions.

Forest scene 1

The forest road between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu displayed trees resplendent

Forest scene 2

 

with the last of their glowing golds

Autumn leaves 1

and burnished browns;

Autumn leaves 2

falling fast

Forest scene 3

to carpet the floor.

Ponies 1

As we approached Beaulieu, a pair of backlit ponies prompted Jackie to park the car on the verge and me to wander back to photograph them. Maybe it was something I said,

Pony 1

for, in turn,

Pony 2

they turned tail,

Pony 3

and crossed the road,

Ponies 2

to join companions enjoying greener grass.

The portions of our meal at The Raj two nights ago were so generous that we couldn’t eat it all and brought some home.. Jackie added samosas and onion bahjis  for this evening’s repast, with which I finished the malbec.

 

 

 

 

The End Of British Summer Time

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Aaron was so pleased with our John Cook sculpture of him that he asked for a photograph. Naturally I printed him a copy of each of those that appeared in ‘A Particularly Strong Clue’.

Owl in New Arbour

Among other tasks today, he strengthened the new recycled gates arbour, under which the owl now stands on its plinth.

West Bed and Brick Path

The planting in the foreground of the above photograph is just part of the extensive clearance and refurbishment of the West Bed that Jackie has achieved in recent weeks.

Urn planted and erigeron

At the bed’s southern end verbena and pelargoniums still thrive in the urns, and erigerons carpet the surrounds of the New Bed.

Pelargoniums

Pelargoniums,

Begonias

 begonias of various shades,

Geraniums RozanneGeranium Rozanne 2

and geraniums like the blue Rozanne still add colour.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2Fuchsia 3

Fuchsias abound;

Salvia Hot Lips

tiny Hot Lips salvias dance in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Petunia Million Bells

Million Bells petunias entice campanologists at the corner of the patio alongside the kitchen wall.

Hebe

Hebes

Honeysuckle

and honeysuckle seem to think it is Spring.

Rose Margaret Merrill

Roses like Margaret Merrill,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Penny Lane 2Rose Penny Lane 1

Penny Lane,

Rose pink climber

and the deep pink climber soaring above the Oval Bed, remain confused.

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums twine everywhere,

Clematis Cirrhosa

yet the winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa seems a little early,

Gazebo Path

as it festoons the gazebo under which I stood to produce this image of the path named after it.

Garden view across Cryptomeria Bed

To the right of the far end of that path, this was the view across the Cryptomeria Bed, showing the few leaves of the weeping birch that survived the recent storm.

The setting back of our clocks by one hour at 2 a.m. this morning signalled the official end of British Summer Time. Of course no-one gets up at that time to adjust all the timepieces in the house. We just have to try to remember when we get up.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main meal was lamb taba shashlik jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken chom chom. We shared onion rice, an egg paratha, and onion bhaji, and both drank Kingfisher. Service and food were as good as ever.

 

 

A.P. Maintenance

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In the garden this morning, envious of the attention given to the daffodils yesterday, many other plants clamoured to be photographed.

Readers may have noticed a hyacinth lurking among the daffodils. Here are a couple more, one seeking camouflage from the as yet uncleared autumn leaves.

Cowslips soar from the soil at the bottom of the back drive.

Along the beds there we have perennial wallflowers and primroses. That lady’s bedstraw will have to come out.

Alliums

Alliums are beginning to proliferate,

Grape hyacinths

and grape hyacinths are popping up.

Some bulbs, like these forcing their way through geraniums

Bulb unknown 3

or these from between patio stones, we cannot identify. The second, thanks to Rusty duck’s comment below, I can now say is Ipheion uniflorum. Geoff, thebikinggardener.com has added this information: ‘The first one – the pinkish one, is Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’ and the next one is Ipheion uniflorum as you say – although it has just had its name changed to Tristagma. (not just a minute ago)’

Aubretia

Some aubretia seem almost fluorescent.

The tiny clematis Cirrhosa now festoons the gazebo.

Jackie spent the morning clearing the garden beds, while I transferred the residue to the compost heaps.

Anyone who has followed this blog for the last two and a half years will know how invaluable Aaron, of A.P. Maintenance has been. He gets through a phenomenal amount of work on his regular Sunday morning visits. Today, for example, not only did he finish weeding the back drive, but he also

fixed the House sign into position at the front of the house

and pruned the crab apple trees in order to promote fruit for next winter’s blackbirds.

Old Old Post House sign

Jackie’s sign has now been switched to the other side of the entrance.

Ponies in the New Forest are normally to be seen fending for themselves. They are naked but for their own hair which generally lengthens during the winter; and they have to find their own food. Late in the afternoon, we drove out into the forest where, close to Linford, I spotted an equine group who appeared to be enjoying hotel facilities. They were all chomping away at a large hay bin, and one wore a rug. Like young children at the trough, more of the fodder landed on the floor than reached their stomachs.

The five-barred gate on which I leant to photograph the diners bore the sign for Newlands Farm. On our return home I Googled the farm. It was indeed a horse hotel of sorts. This is what their website has to say:

“Newlands offers you over 75 acres of well-managed grassland. We offer two types of grass livery care packages,with amazing riding from the farm gate directly onto the open New Forest , with no roadwork at all.

The farm is superbly located being less than 3 minutes from the market town of Ringwood yet set right within the New Forest National Park. The farm is run and situated alongside New Forest Livery and Training. Newlands is a professionally-managed farm providing superb grazing and care packages for your horse combined with access to superb outriding.

Grass Livery – Horses at grass are either :

– Visited regularly by their owners, or

– Retired/resting, ‘Owner-Away Option’, where owners visit less often, so we maintain the care.”

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious fare. I finished the Fleurie while Jackie drank sparkling water.