The Golden Touch

PlantersMole trailOn the way through the garden this morning, to continue working on the back drive, I paused to admire Jackie’s two new planters, originally candle-holders from Redcliffe Nursery. They display her usual flair. Turning into the drive, I encountered the trail made by a mole. As this stopped at the site of the bonfire, perhaps last night’s embers were still warm enough to deter it from popping its head out.Pruned conifers

Jackie soon joined me and she made good progress pruning the conifers along the side of the fence between us and 5 Downton Lane.Wire netting 1Wire netting 2 Hampered by wire netting through which grew thick brambles and a number of trees, I, however, taking the whole morning, covered about two yards. Three hours and a couple of feet separate these two photographs. After that we stopped for lunch.Fuchsia

Fuchsia and blackberriesA little further down, some fine hardy fuchsias form a splendid hedge. They blend well with the blackberries, which we are picking as we go along. Butterflies are enjoying our long summer. Red Admiral and blackberriesComma butterflySpeckled Wood butterflyA Red Admiral seemed particularly partial to the blackberries, while the broad shiny leaves of trees we cannot identify bore a Comma and a Speckled Wood.Jelly babies wrapperIMG_0306LichenCricket on dandelion

For variety, I took the longer Downton Lane/coast road route to the shingle beneath Hordle cliff, and returned via Shorefield. A jelly babies wrapper, linaria vulgaris, lichen, and dandelions, one of which attracted a small cricket, lent golden touches to the hedgerows. Rust stains on beach hutSpaniels being photographedVariations on this hue were provided by rust stains running down from the iron hinge of a beach hut, and by the tennis ball being held up by a gentleman encouraging four spaniels to pose for their photograph. Women and spanielIt was a day for spaniels, one of whom frolicked with a group of four young women.

This evening we dined at Daniel’s in Highcliffe. We each enjoyed haddock and chips, mushy peas, and onion rings. I drank tea, and Jackie drank coffee.


I spent most of the day almost completing the wall for the compost bins.  Jackie did a great deal of clearing and tidying up in the garden, whilst Elizabeth concentrated on making the house ready for the coming of Malachi, who was bringing his parents with him. Sam and Holly and Malachi were visiting the boat show and came to stay with us afterwards.

An unidentified butterfly visited the garden.  Can anyone identify it?

Almost as soon as Malachi arrived, he asked: ‘have you got any toys?’  This sent Elizabeth on a search.  Fortunately she was able to find a few that Adam had left behind, including a small radio controlled car which went down rather well.  He did, at three and a half, ask her if she had any children’s games downloaded on her i-pad.  It was her attempt to rectify her lack that revealed a flat battery.  He had to make do with his mother’s i-phone.

Whilst eating his favoured green beans with his fingers the poor little chap bit into one.  Finger, not bean.  He really did cry, and eventually recovered on his father’s lap.  Over the meal we got to talking about names.  This arose because Holly is expecting another baby in November.  As with Malachi, she is interested in names from her Irish heritage.  As with Malachi, they are uncertain about which spelling to choose.  He, of course, got the Hebrew version.  Again, the parents have a front-runner as a name, which has several possible spellings.  Holly’s two brothers, Hugh and Shane, are named after ancient Irish kings.  It had been Holly’s mother, Gay, who had told me that Shane had such an origin.  Until then I had thought the name came from the the 1953 film starring Alan Ladd.  One afternoon just before Christmas in that year, Chris, Jacqueline, and I excitedly trotted off with Dad to Mary Jeffrey’s firm’s children’s party.  Mary was a friend of our Auntie Gwen.  A big disappointment awaited us.  We were greeted at the door with the information that there were only two tickets.  My stomach churning, and my lower lip quivering, I said: ‘it’s all right.  I won’t go.  The others can go’.  Dad rewarded me by taking me to see the film, on current release at the cinema.  It has remained my favourite film ever since.  No doubt because of the circumstances rather than the picture itself, good as it is.

When I related this tale Elizabeth told us that the three of us older siblings had once visited the annual fun fair on Wimbledon Common without taking her.  On discovering her sobbing in her bedroom, Dad had taken her to the fair.  He obviously didn’t like to see his children disappointed.

Danni and Andy joined us for our evening meal.  To go with the green beans that Malachi mistook his finger for, Jackie produced a fine array of vegetables and an excellent lamb stew.  The Firs mess followed.  The usual red wines, beers, fizzy water, and orange juice were drunk.