The Nursery Field

This morning I walked along Christchurch Road to New Milton to meet friend Alison at the railway station. Jackie collected us from there, took us to Old Post House, and returned our guest later.
This road winds and undulates but is still busy enough to sound like a formula one racing circuit on telly. Much skipping to and fro across the road was required to ensure that I kept, as far as possible, facing the oncoming traffic. Christchurch RoadBecause I always had to make sure I was seen by the drivers, on bends like the one I am approaching in the photograph I had to cross the road and present my rear to those driving on the left.Trimming the verge I was quite relieved to reach Caird Avenue and the footpath into the town.Buttercups, daisies and cloverDaisies and cloverCow parsley, bluebells, dandelion clocks, daisies, violetsAquilegias
The verge on the edge of this wide tarmacked path was being trimmed. Turning into Station Road I enjoyed the dusting of buttercups, daisies, and clover on the grass lining this thoroughfare. I expect they will be next for the chop.
Alongside Christchurch Road itself, a narrow cut has been applied to the otherwise pathless grasses. Cow parsley, bluebells, dandelion clocks, daisies, violets, and the occasional wild aquilegias have escaped the whirling blades.

The early lambs are fattening up nicely, making one feel slightly uncomfortable aboutLambs and sheepLambs & sheep 2 mint sauce.Ewe with new lamb

The nursery field still has a smattering of new occupants.

GardenWandering round our own garden early this evening, I was reminded of how much attention it needs. We cannot wait to get started on it, but it has to take second place to the inside of the house at the moment.

Jackie did tireless work cleaning, scraping off careless paint, polishing, and fixing loose fittings upstairs, so it seemed only right to take her out for a meal this evening.

We chose The Jarna Bangladeshi restaurant in Old Milton. Its unprepossessing modern exterior in no way prepares the visitor for the cavernous interior modelled, according to Sam, the proprietor, on a cross between a Mogul palace and The Orient Express. Sam is proud of his heritage, as demonstrated by his dating the traditional cooking methods. Forget the flock wallpaper, The Jarna’s seating, walls, and even ceilings are clad in velvet. Naive paintings depicting scenes of Bangladesh are bordered by tied back curtain fabric and sculpted velvet. There are two sets of chandeliers and a number of discrete cubicles.

What is particularly marked about this place is how spotlessly clean everything is. With such soft, plush, fabrics this would seem to be impossible. Sam explained that four or five of them set to once a week with Vanish. It shows.

The food was excellent. My choice was Shath koraa, being this establishment’s version of the Hatkora I have eaten at Ringwood’s Curry Garden. Jackie enjoyed chicken dopiaza. We both drank Cobra.

Next time I will most definitely take my camera. There will be a next time.

A Ring Of Truth

Early this morning Jackie, Don and I shopped in Acres Down Farm shop and went on to All Saints Church, first described on 24th December last year.  While Jackie diverted to Minstead Village Shop, Don and I wandered around the churchyard in bright sunshine, before we all three explored the inside.Blasted yew

Particularly interesting to our friend was the ‘blasted’ yew, a seven hundred year old tree that fell apart some years ago and regenerated itself.Clover and dandelions Daisies and other wild flowers The wild flowers now in evidence include clover , dandelions, daisies, and buttercups.

When we returned, I decided to tackle the problem of a rejected e-mail password.  This time I got BT’s representative on the telephone to reset a completely new code.  As usual, Jackie being the primary account holder, he needed to speak to her first.  Unfortunately he got the wrong end of the stick and changed her password.  This required putting right and involved a box filled with ‘funny writing I can’t read’.  All this took time and I had to interpret the ‘funny writing’, fortunately getting it right.  The man kept having to put us on hold and check with his supervisor.  Eventually he returned to me and reset the replacement password.  It worked.  For about an hour.  Then the new one was rejected.  I have now come to the conclusion that my BT Yahoo account has been well and truly hacked.  I can’t face it any more at the moment.  So don’t send me any e-mails.

My head still full of the computer problem, I sat in the garden watching the birds with Don, whilst Jackie prepared the evening’s barbecue.  The company and avian interest helped calm me.  Don is one of three friends I have who are pretty knowledgable about birds.  He helped me distinguish between the various tits who visit the feeder. Blackbird juvenile I observed that it was becoming possible to identify birds some distance away on the lawn by their outline shape, their posture, their gait, and how they hold their tail-feathers.  Apart from the pied wagtails, the blackbirds brought me to this conclusion.

Talking birds with Don, it was natural for me to mention my friend bo Beolens, who has written a number of bird books and who, as Fatbirder, runs an international birding website. This turns out to be one of Don’s favourites on his computer. Lesser Antilean Bullfinch I proudly brought the site up on screen and showed him the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch which illustrates bo’s Barbados page.  The photograph was taken by me in Barbados in 2004, when I was there to see Sam arrive at the end of his Atlantic row.

Late in the afternoon Becky, Ian, and Flo arrived with Scooby and Oddie.  We then enjoyed the various sausages, chicken tikka masala and array of salads Jackie had produced in the kitchen.  That seems to me to be the sensible way of preparing a barbecue.

Oddie in Derrick's garden chairOn 28th March I described how Matthew’s dog, Oddie, always dives into my chair whenever he has the chance.  Because Mat and Tess are on their way to visit Sam and Holly and their children in Croatia, Becky is looking after Oddie and therefore brought him with them today.  Would you believe it?  Even in the garden he nicks my seat.

It was natural that with Becky and Don together, we should tell some Lindum House stories.  One of today’s was of the intruder.  One balmy evening as we sat in the snug watching television, about twenty years ago, we heard someone coming down the stairs.  As usual in the summer, we had left open the double doors at the front of the house.  A young man was then seen to walk past the window, making his way to the bottom of the garden.  I set off in pursuit.  He started running.  So did I.  After him.  He began to climb the fence between us and the Parletts in Lindum Street.  I grabbed him, pulled him down, and frogmarched him into the house.  Calling out to Jessica to telephone the police, I sat on him at the foot of the stairs.

I soon realised he was drunk.  He kept going on about a fishing contest with the Working Men’s Club.  After the event, he and his friends from Grimsby had gone off drinking in Newark.  He was making his way back to the Club.  His team coach was parked outside in the road.  It dawned on me that all this had a ring of truth.  It would be easy enough for me to take him out to check on the coach.  I asked Jessica to cancel the emergency call.  She attempted to do so, but it was not possible.  It stands to reason, really.  The uninvited guest could have been standing with a gun to my head.  Actually he was lying between the bottom step and my embrace.  For the whole forty five minutes it took for the officers to arrive.

As, after satisfactory explanations, I took him up the drive to the open gates, down the path towards us walked about five of his mates.  They had made the same mistake.  And sure enough, there, on the road between us and the Club, was a coach. Lindum House, you see, was a Victorian reproduction of the former grand Georgian house next door that now hosted social activities of the town’s working men.