Nothing For It

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I spent a considerable number of frustrating hours attempting to secure internet access today. I will not bore anyone with the details. Looking on the bright side, I decided to tackle the paperwork for my annual tax return. This went quite well until I tackled my bank statements, which I receive on a quarterly basis. The most recent batch has not arrived. “No problem.” I thought. “Now I bank on line I can take the necessary details from there”. …………… “Ah……..”.

There was now nothing for it but to wander round the garden with my camera in hand and a mobile phone in my pocket. There are, of course, less pleasant ways of spending my time.

The clematis Montana now drapes the front wall upon which a trough of blue pansies smile; the potentilla now dances with the vinca.

The sweet scent of the wisteria pervades the area beneath its arbour.

Buds of blue irises and red poppies are simply biding their time.

While I wandered and emptied a trug or two into the compost, Jackie continued replenishing soil and planting in beds and containers.

These verbascum look down on similarly hued Erigeron,

Cow parsley in Dragon Bed

just as the cow parsley soars above everything else in the Dragon Bed.

pansies and clematis Marie Boisselot buds

In the Kitchen Bed’s stone urn white pansies bridge the season of faded white daffodils and that of clematis Marie Boisselot, whose buds can be observed in the obelisk behind.

Geranium Palmatum

The first of the geranium Palmatums, which will soon arrive in abundance, has lined up along the Shady Path in line with heucheras,

Shadow on heuchera

on the leaves of which a hebe casts its shadow.

Erigeron, aquilegia, vinca, alliums, silenes

Erigeron, aquilegias, vinca, alliums, and silenes crowd each other in the Weeping Birch Bed,

aubretia and wild strawberries

as do aubretia and wild strawberries in the Oval Bed opposite.

Butterfly Small White, honesty

Small White butterflies flitted about.

Rosariae de L'Hay corner of Rose Garden

Rosariae de L’Hay enlivens its corner of the Rose Garden.

This afternoon, until I was back on line, I continued reading John Le Carré’s The Night Manager.

Dinner this evening consisted of Jackie’s excellent pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I consumed A Dark Apothic 2015 Californian red.

 

 

 

 

Great Nephews

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Many of the blooms on the still quite small pink rhododendron, seen in this sculpture’s eye view from Five Ways, are now fully open.

Others recently flourishing include the yellow tree peony, various geraniums, and elegant libertias.

The flamboyant red and yellow tulips are changing their hues with age, while the euphorbias have reached full sculptural maturity.

A clematis Montana festoons the mauve lilac tree.

Orange poppies lead the eye to the marigolds alongside the greenhouse. Similarly the heuchera alongside the Dead End Path echos the recently flourishing copper beach leaves.

This latter path is visible from the patio where we sat with Helen, Shelly, Billy and Max who visited us this morning.

Although his usual cheerful self, poor little Max has chicken pox, so he was a bit thirsty and drowsy. Helen administered the bottle.

Billy was as active as ever, manoeuvring his vehicles, wandering about the garden, and munching chocolate bars. The two boys are Helen’s grandsons and Shelly, Jackie, and my great nephews.

This evening we dined on prawn toasts and Jackie’s superb egg fried rice with a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce followed by Easter bread and butter pudding. Should anyone wonder what this is, I would ask what else would you do with weird hot cross buns purchased in error, not having realised that the currants were in fact chocolate chips, other than put them in the freezer in case they might come in useful. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank Tesco’s finest Médoc 2016

 

 

April In May

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Today our April showers began. This morning Jackie continued her planting, weeding, and tidying; while I dug out a bank of sycamore seedlings dropped onto the Back Drive borders by a tree in the garden of the vacant North Breeze next door, and a large bramble from the Rose Garden.

In the variable light numerous plants like

Raindrops on saxifrage

tiny saxifrages,

various tulips,

Raindrops on honesty

honesty petals and seed cases,

rhododendrons,

Lilies

lilies,

Raindrops on lamium

and little lamiums sparkled with raindrops.

Libertia

Others, including libertias,

Geranium Phaeum

geranium Phaeums,

Clematis Montana

clematis Montanas,

Rhododendron

another rhododendron,

and the wisteria, were too sheltered to catch the rain.

Jackie with wisteria through kitchen window

The wisteria brightens Jackie’s view from the kitchen window,

in front of which hangs Pauline’s beautifully faceted light catcher.

The sun came and went above the garden paths, three views of which include the Florence sculpture;

Brick Path

and a fourth, the Brick Path.

This afternoon we drove around the forest.

Up on the moors we could watch the rainclouds sending down shafts of their precipitation, in darker indigo slashes, whilst the sun picked out the glowing gorse.

Tree on hill 1

I waited a while for the sun to pierce the cloud cover and play with this scene of stepped tree roots ascending a gravelly slope.

Brooding clouds, sunlight, gorse, and thatched roofs provided a dramatic entrance to Frogham,

beyond which we spotted our first pony foal of the season, its mother providing instruction in planting yourself firmly on the road. Notice its nice new shoes.

Between Godshill and Cadnam, alongside Roger Penny Way, another, adventurous, new baby kicked up its heels and rushed back to its mother on my approach, then continued to explore the terrain at a safe distance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver, bacon, and sausage casserole, new potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower, followed by custard tart. She drank Peroni and I drank more of the Madiran.

Canine Paralympics

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Today’s most recently bloomed clematis climbs over the arch spanning the Shady Path.

This afternoon Jackie drove me out to the forest.

Strong sunlight cast long or dappled shadows across the freshly resurfaced Holmsley Passage,

and warmed the wayside woodland.

Dog on walker

A disabled dog eagerly propelled its tailored cart, clearly training for the canine Paralympics.

Bees' nest

Bees had taken up residence in the modern house, alongside its dead wisteria, beside the

footpath that was once a railway line, now a route for walkers and cyclists.

It being the start of the grockle season, many others kept to the roads.

Horse riders

On Charles Lane outside Burley, Jackie needed to stop the car beside a passing area, so three riders could squeeze their horses past us. The last one waved their thanks and they cantered on their way.

House in pink

This house, in an imposing position on a bend, looked pretty in pink.

The story of MacPenny’s garden nursery is told in my post ‘Cock Of The Walk’, of 3rd June 2013. This was our next destination.

MacPenny's plants

Masses of rows of flowers, shrubs, and trees are for sale in the huge nursery area,

MacPenny's pots

where pots, compost, and other materials are also available in profusion.

But it was the mature, stunning, NGS Garden, with its wonderful display of rhododendrons and azaleas that we came for today.

We also liked the candelabra primulas.

This evening the four of us dined on Jackie’s sublime sausage casserole, caramelised sweet potato, creamy mashed potato, crunchy carrots, and spring greens. Ian drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Spot The Difference

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In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

Memo To Self

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Memo to self:

‘Never shop at Tesco’s late on a Friday morning. Remember. Because of the congestion, you will never be able to move faster than a plod. Especially when you have driven a short distance having cleared ice from the car windows, you will find that you are wearing too many layers for the oppressive atmosphere. The trolley could pass as a dodgem car. Other drivers will mostly be too old or infirm to be granted a licence; except, that is, for the toddler in the store-supplied pedal vehicle towing his Grandma’s basket on wheels. Facing an oncoming loader stacked with products for filling shelves will be like attempting to avoid an out of control container vehicle. Deft footwork will be required to avoid lasting bruises.

Especially if you are tagging along in a junior mate’s capacity, and you are unfamiliar with the layout you will not feel you are much use. When dispatched to collect specific items, at first you will need to find the relevant aisle. Even if you then find the right brand, you will probably bring the wrong size or the wrong amount back to the Caterer in Chief, and have to retrace your steps to return and replace the item. That is after you have managed to find your lady with her trolley in any one of the countless number of avenues of shelves.’

In case anyone thinks I exaggerate, when faced with an oncoming wheeled tower with apparently no driver, I, at one point, had to choose which elderly woman’s loaded trolley to treat as a bumping car. Fortunately, there was a staff member pushing the container, around which she peered, and applied her brakes. At that moment the toddler pedalled around the corner. The employee  had the good humour to be amused when I asked if her employers had trained her on the dodgems.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of negatives from May 1986. Some of these have appeared in earlier posts, but were made from prints of which I thought I had lost the negatives.

I believe this first group was taken at Tooting Common, where Sam and Louisa enjoyed climbing frames, sandwiches, and ice creams. Would gravel be permitted under these structures in our safety-conscious era today, I wonder? I am not sure whether the bicycle was Louisa’s birthday present.

Clematis montana 5.86

Our first clematis Montana was grown at our home in Gracedale Road,

Sam and Louisa 5.86

barefoot on the concrete back steps of which Sam, admired by his sister, undertakes an important piece of carpentry.

Derrick 5.86

Perhaps Jessica took this photograph of me at a party somewhere.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received the usual friendly and efficient service with first class food. My main meal was prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna; and we shared Kashmira pilau rice, garlic naan, and sag bahji. We both drank Kingfisher.

Wet Paint

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Today I scanned a few more colour negatives from the Summer of 1986.

Sam Summer 1986 2

The first is Sam in the garden of our home at Gracedale Road.

Jessica and Sam Summer 1986

This is where this picture of him and Jessica was taken.

I cannot definitely locate the sites of the holiday photos.

Matthew and Sam 1986

These of Matthew guiding Sam up a mountain

Matthew and Sam 1986

and exploring the summit, was in North Wales.

Meadow Summer 1986

The full meadow would have been in the same part of the country as the following phone-box sequence; possibly North Devon. Modern farming, and the increase in motorways have put such meadows in jeopardy. It was Dame Miriam Rothschild who led the move to revive them with her wildflower seed mix (http://www.ohllimited.co.uk/the-ashton-estate/wildflower-seed-mix/). The Head Gardener tells me that this woman was in the habit of flinging them out of the window of her Rolls Royce.

Now, what would the average person do when faced with a ‘Wet Paint’ sign on a bright shiny surface?

Jessica and phonebox Summer 1986

I’m sure you know, and would not be surprised to discover that Jessica was no exception.

Jessica and Louisa and phonebox Summer 1986

Neither was she averse to introducing our daughter, Louisa, to risky ventures.

On this occasion she was pleased to demonstrate that she had no paint on her fingers.

Sadly these telephone boxes have, in the countryside, largely fallen into disuse, and, like their companion red  pillar boxes, rarely bear a coat of fresh paint.

This evening, Becky, Ian, Jackie, and I enjoyed our usual excellent food and hospitality at Lymington’s Lal Quilla. I chose prawn dansak and shared special fried rice and egg paratha with Jackie, whose main meal was prawn dupiaza. The four of us shared onion bahjis. Becky drank red wine and the rest of us, Kingfisher.

PS. See TanGental’s comment below, with its link to the recycling of telephone boxes.