An Original Sunblock

On this warm, sultry, morning I raised a healthy sweat bagging up, in readiness for the next dump trip, Jackie’s clippings from the path beneath the fallen arch.

I noticed an early mushroom nodding to mossy rocks bordering Margery’s Bed.

This afternoon, on a forest drive, we encountered several groups of

ponies, one sporting an original sunblock, either beside the skip outside the former village shop which had been their customary hopeful resting place;

or on the move elsewhere.

In this sequence, when enlarged, you may notice the distant gentleman pushing a buggy in the second picture, who becomes obscured by the Modus and emerges alongside the equines on the road.

More foals were in evidence outside Little Croft Farm on Bull Hill.

This evening we all dined on herb and garlic roast chicken and potatoes; carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, fine beans, and broccoli tender stems; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Pruning Progress

As a measure of yesterday’s sunlight, Jackie photographed some solar lights at 11 p.m. last night.

This morning she continued her determined decimation of the front garden shrubbery. After lunch we both chopped and bagged up the debris. Unfortunately, refreshing as they were, the fat raindrops that dribbled through the afternoon cloud cover were insufficient to drive us inside until we had virtually finished our work for the day.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata, char fried peppers and onions, and runner beans youthful enough to be devoid of stringy sinews, with which she drank Beck’s and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2018.

Officially Autumn

Although she does tidy up much of her refuse, when the Head Gardener has been about with the loppers and secateurs, it falls upon me, the Under Under Gardener, to clear the heaps of clippings; to transfer them to the compost and wood-burning piles; to sort them; and to cut them into manageable sections. This I did this morning after Jackie had driven off for one of her sorority lunches with Helen and Shelly.


Judging by the scent pervading this pile, the marauding cat that we hope keeps the rodents down, had liberally sprayed it with a peculiar pungency.

Rose Wedding Day clippings

The rambling rose, Wedding Day, having outgrown the Agriframes arch and dared to festoon the two Japanese maples and frolic over a hebe, was given a particularly severe haircut. I console myself in the knowledge that, like mine, it will grow again.

This is all part of the autumn clear-up. It is, after all, the first official day of autumn. We are, nevertheless, still treated to the sights of summer, like

Bee in poppy

bees burrowing into crinkly poppies;

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis

Small White butterflies fluttering everywhere and perching on verbena bonarensis;

Petunias and geraniums

petunias, pink striped dahlias, and geraniums;

Raindrops on sweet pea

and raindrops on sweet peas.

Rose garden

The rose garden is flourishing. We have left two peep-holes in the fence so our neighbours can enjoy it too.

Rose Kent

Carpet roses, like the white Kent, are spreading nicely.

Red hot pokers

We have red hot pokers everywhere. Either they are proliferating at will, or there was too much undergrowth last year for us to notice. These are surveyed by the owl at home in the dead Snake Bark maple.

Table top

We moved the furniture and potted plants from the decking for Aaron to refurbish it. This colourful table top had held a floral display.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lively chilli con carne and tasty mixed vegetable rice. I finished the malbec, and The Cook drank Hoegaarden.