Cleared For Landing

Today the wind had dropped to “a fresh breeze” with sunny spells. We each enjoyed several sessions of gardening. Mine concentrated on dead-heading and clearing to compost.

Naturally I carried my camera, photographing the reds and pinks of petunias, pelargoniums, hollyhocks; and roses Compassion, Open Arms, and that we call peach beside the patio. The clematises on the kitchen wall swayed in the breeze.

This morning I watched a bee take off from a poppy ready to land on a fresh head cleared for landing.

It was the turn of Nugget Junior II to attract my lens after lunch. Note he or she still has the yellow gape acting as a target for avian feeding parents and has no sign of the red jersey to come if the infant lives long enough.

Junior’s back was turned when I photographed “Where’s Nugget Junior II”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent shepherd’s pie; robust red ratatouille; roast parsnips; tender runner beans; crunchy carrots, and tasty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine La Couquihado 2018 – a smooth dry Cotes du Rhone.

“Where’s Jackie?”

Jackie spent much of the day tending to her hanging baskets and other containers, while I wandered about dead-heading and picking up debris for the compost bin.

I did, of course, have my camera handy. We have two new poppy varieties on display.

One is Californian;

the other I cannot name because it is a self-seeded volunteer which didn’t introduce itself.

For the first time this year geum Mrs Bradshaw has found a happy place in Margery’s Bed.

Another new bloom is clematis Warsaw Nike.

The Dr Ruppel I have been picturing recently scales the right hand side of the nearest arch spanning the brick path;

another is announcing its presence against the weeping birch trunk.

Jackie worked in the shade beyond these rhododendrons.

Here are some views of the Rose Garden.

In this one, “Where’s Jackie?”

After lunch Jackie worked

beneath a copper beech canopy

casting cool shadows.

Russel Crow, patrolling the roof of the house, panted like a dog to combat the heat.

Nugget did periodically investigate pickings from the pots, eventually taking off in search of fresh meat.

From this perch on the west side of the garden his food came in the form of flying insects at which he darted far too fast for my trigger finger – and for the wings of his prey.

The last two of these images show, on our right of Nugget’s plumage a little black mark which definitely identifies him.

This evening, on the patio before dinner, we noticed a nest of baby spiders, mostly clustered together.

Later, we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; tender runner and green beans with cabbage; and firm Brussels sprouts. with which I drank The Second Fleet Limestone Coast Shiraz 2018.

Remembering 7/7


We have a number of hanging baskets around the kitchen doors.

Fuchsia Blue Angel

This one contains fuchsia Blue Angel;

Clematis Warsaw Nike, petunias, lobelia, borage, apple mint

here clematis Warsaw Nike, from its pot clambers up to another containing petunias and lobelia. The white pot contains apple mint, and borage occupies the bed.


Nearby, bidens blooms.

New Bed

The New Bed is now taking on its summer garb. Fuchsia, dahlias, lilies, clematises, and solanum are all in evidence.

As it is my birthday today, I received a lot of messages. Some of these were texts. For the last couple of months anyone trying to phone me on the mobile when I am at home has not been able to receive a reply and has been sent straight to voicemail. I have then received a text saying I have a voice message which I have not been able to access.

I have refrained from boring readers with this, but today I decided to visit O2 in Christchurch in an attempt to resolve the issue. The problem seemed to have been a faulty SIM card. This was changed, and hopefully things will have improved.

While the O2 man was fetching the new card I reflected on another birthday when I could receive no signal on the mobile phone. This was the day of the London Underground suicide bombs. I is hard to believe that was 11 years ago.

This afternoon we enjoyed, within minutes of each other, visits from Helen and from Shelly and Ron They came bearing gifts. Including Bill, each couple had brought a birthday card and presents of wine and a book, and we drank sparkling squashes on the hand-made garden chairs, of which we now have four, and one, otherwise relegated, perfectly serviceable in black plastic.

Cork bookmark002

An additional gift from Helen and Bill was an intriguing bookmark, made of cork, that they had brought back from Portugal.

Ian and Becky’s present to me was a meal for the four of us at Lal Quilla. This was great fun, particularly as the staff entered so well into the spirit of the occasion. My choice of a main meal was Purple Tiger (a king prawn dish) and special fried rice. We shared onion bahjis, parka dahl, and an egg paratha. Becky drank red wine and the rest of us drank Kingfisher.

Birthday cake

At the end the head waiter sang happy birthday and brought me a ‘cake’.

Aesthetics Did Not Come Into The Equation

This morning, I received a tag from my friend June Brokas, prompted by yesterday’s post, to this news item from ITV:

‘A place for reflection: ‘invisible’ shed wins top prize

Invisible shed
“Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation. Credit: Manchester School of Art

An ‘invisible shed’ has scooped the top prize in the ‘Shed of the Year’ competitiion at RHS Tatton.

Manchester School of Art were joint winners of the ‘Shed of the Year’ prize with their ‘Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation.’

Invisible shed
Clare Knox Bentham and Adrian Digaudio Manchester School of Art Credit: Manchester School of Art

As well as a mirrored exterior, the shed has mirrored walls on the inside reflecting any visitor back on themselves infinitely.

As a finishing touch, the artists added a mirror ball, turning the humble garden shed into a miniature disco.’

We think that is going a bit too far.
Hinge plateRusty screwHinge plate lowerAfter yesterday’s searing heat, much of the morning was spent watering the hundreds (I do not exaggerate) of containers and the recently planted flowers.
Those readers who have read earlier posts about the work done inside the house will know that our predecessors appeared to be DIY enthusiasts.  If there were enough ill-fitting materials to make something work, aesthetics did not come into the equation. If it were at all possible to position objects unaligned, crooked, or not matching, there would be no problem in finding a way.
Cut screwsSo it was with the industrial strength hinge plate screwed halfway up the wooden arch into the rose garden. Set somewhat askew, and too wide for its post, with one empty eye socket,and a sagging cheek, it pleaded with us each time we entered that area. The Head Gardener decided it had to go. I knew at the outset that this would be a hack-saw job, but in order to avoid that, I initially, rather less than hopefully, tried screwdrivers, and even a bolt cutter.
Whilst labouring with the saw, I glanced down and spotted another plate at the foot of the post, thus confirming my suspicions that there would once have been a gate attached. Though why the structure had to be so strong was a mystery. The Head Gardener, of course, knew that the lower plate was there. She had hoped I would take that one off as well. My initial reaction was that no way was that going to happen. I couldn’t get down there for a start. But, on reflection that seemed rather churlish. So, using Jackie’s kneeler as a seat, I did the job.
Rose Love Knot
Love Knot
Rose Festive Jewel
and Festive Jewel
are both comparatively short climbers we have placed within small obelisks.
Clematis Warsaw Nike
A clematis Warsaw Nike has taken to the Ace Reclaim Arch,
Fuschia Frosted Flame
and fuchsia Frosted Flame, suspended from the dead Snake Bark maple overlooks the Brick Path.
Children in tree tunnel
I took a short walk into Downton Lane, sat on a wall, and waited for a shot. Two children entering a ‘tree tunnel’, obliged.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole (recipe) served with creamy mashed swede and potato, and crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by apple and cherry pie and cream. The Cook supped Hoegaarden whilst I quaffed Teroldego Rotaliano superiore 2011.