“Where’s Elizabeth?” (1)

This was a day of intermittent steady rain and occasional sunshine.

Jackie began, in the rain, by photographing her new planting in the Pond Bed. She plans to do this periodically to record its development.

Shortly before lunchtime, Elizabeth arrived with her gardening kit, brought the sun with her, and set about

weeding the Head Gardener’s Walk.

There were plenty of plants, like these sweet woodruffs, spilling over for her to transplant to her own garden.

In the first London Marathon of the modern era, this photograph by Mark Shearman shows the winners crossing the line hand in hand. Inevitably, fierce competition for kudos and for prizes has superseded this sporting gesture which Jackie and I were to emulate in our contest over reaching

the Ace Reclaim Bench in our weeding of the Shady Path.

Fork and trowel met to share the final removal. Jackie produced this selfie from beside the bench, which I photographed from beside the nearest

rhododendron in the Palm Bed opposite.

Serious rain set in after lunch, so my sister donned her hooded raincoat and continued her task. The third picture, “Where’s Elizabeth?” (1), contains the scented clematis Montana Mayleen making its way up the lopped cypress.

During a later sunshine break I was able to photograph Elizabeth’s work on both the Head Gardener’s Walk

and the Heligan Path. She gathered up her piles before departing.

Meanwhile Jackie photographed raindrops on

the rhododendron on the corner of the Lawn;

the red Japanese maple;

the grey Cinereria Angel’s Wings;

Pheasant’s Eye narcissi;

and aquilegia buds.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s dinner menu with roast parsnips replacing the green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Recital.

Venison For Christmas

The weather picture this morning was of strong winds propelling variable clouds, some unloading precipitation of heavy rain and piercing hale, and bright sunshine, all vying for the available time.

Thus, our naked trees enjoyed ever-changing backdrops,

while the house was often brightly lit.

Among other tasks, Aaron planted beside the cypress trunk two heavily scented pink climbing flora –

clematis Montana Mayleen and

rose The Generous Gardener. There will be later additions.

Meanwhile the first of our camellia buds burgeons.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Helen and Bill’s home in Fordingbridge where, with Shelly and Ron we all enjoyed

Helen’s delicious dinner of succulent roast venison topped with bacon; crisp roast potatoes, including the sweet variety and onions; three colours of carrots; firm Brussel’s sprouts and cauliflower with which red and white wines were imbibed. We had begun with canap├ęs and mulled wine. The meal was completed by a moist chocolate log topped with sliced strawberries.

This feast was followed by an impossible Christmas quiz in which Shelly won with a creditable 12/25, Jackie came second with 9, Ron managed 8 and I came last with 6. Helen and Bill were let off because they had done it before. Afterwards we enjoyed anecdotal reminiscences, in particular horse drawn deliveries of groceries and milk; rag and bone men; fish and chips and other meals; house prices and educational practices. We tried to stick to an embargo on the recent election.

I am definitely converted to venison for Christmas.