Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

My Minimal Contribution

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A second brood of sparrows has hatched in our downstairs loo extractor fan.

 

In this corner of the patio this morning I made my minimal contribution to the massive daily watering operation;

Jackie, of course, did so much more, particularly ensuring that all the containers were filled, and that the more thirsty bedded plants did not dry out.

This afternoon Elizabeth, who is staying with us for as long as it takes for her to find a new house, moved in. We enjoyed a relaxing time together before decanting to the Rose Garden for pre-dinner drinks.

We dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb jalfrezi with pilau rice. The Culinary Queen consumed Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Irrigation

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Sporting her Russell crow protection helmet Jackie spent much of the more overcast, but still hot and humid, morning watering her container pots and hanging baskets. The last picture features one of her reservoirs made from upturned bottomless plastic bottles. Russell did not put in an appearance.

This afternoon, among other tasks, Aaron of A.P. Maintenance pruned the wisteria, while

his companion Daryl watered the areas I had irrigated two days ago.

A little later I watched the first half of the World Cup football match between Spain and Russia; and slept through much of the second, waking in time for the penalty shoot-out.

Ian arrived to join us this morning, and the four of us dined this evening at The Royal Oak. I enjoyed my Sunday roast lamb with roast potatoes, excellent Yorkshire pudding, and a range of crisp vegetables, followed by Eton mess. I drank a glass of excellent Malbec. If any of the others would like to state what they had, I will leave that to them

 

 

Father And Daughter Time

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Becky and I are enjoying what is the only extended period of time we have spent alone together in our lives. There is much joint reminiscing and exchange of information, especially concerning my past, that is really quite new.

At one point, I accompanied Scooby, who wandered up the Gazebo Path, into the garden.

Patio planting

Having paid particular attention to hanging baskets and other containers, Jackie had thoroughly watered the garden before leaving yesterday.

In today’s baking heat, some plants, particularly the pansies in the first of these images, displayed considerable signs of thirst, so I managed to distribute the contents of a can or two.

Russell crow was not in evidence today, but Becky did spot a mouse in the compost trug outside the kitchen door. She freed it into the flower bed.

This evening Becky produced a tasty, well-filled, Spanish omelette which we enjoyed on trays in front of the television while we watched the 2nd XI World Cup football match between England and Belgium which was so thrilling that I am typing this when there is still 25 minutes to go. I drank Doom Bar.

Sky

We did watch Bill Nighy in ‘Turks & Caicos’ last night. It was some kind of spy drama, neither thrilling nor intriguing. Nighy was convincing as a burnt-out civil servant doubling up as an MI5 agent in cahoots with Christopher Walken’s cunning and unscrupulous CIA man. A competent Helena Bonham-Carter wheedled incriminating information out of one of those BBC actors whose handsome face you know but can’t quite place the name. I don’t think I ever understood the plot enough to have lost it, but that didn’t matter because Bill explained it all in the end. He whose name I cannot remember was, I think, a mandarin of sorts in cahoots with the Prime Minister working to stash away a figurative pot of gold for his retirement. The idea was that they would con this out of a bunch of murderous American villains, one of whom was killed by Winona Ryder, scarily playing an emotionally damaged woman they were all abusing. She took a shine to our Bill, which was quite helpful to him, although he wouldn’t have dreamed of taking advantage of her. Ralph Fiennes was the PM. He made a brief, silently smiling, appearance ‘through a glass darkly’. In fairness to the anonymous actor, we looked him up. And naturally, when we discovered he was Rupert Graves, we said: ‘Of course’.

Nighy is capable of complex emotional portrayal. He has a most expressive face which was really the one watchable element that stopped me turning off the TV.

With that cast, directed by David Hare, in a film he had also written, we wondered whether we were the ones who were out of kilter. It is still on BBC iPlayer. Should you decide to see it for yourself perhaps you will let us know.

Minstead’s ever-changing cloudscapes enthralled me, as always, this morning as I walked down to the village shop and back. The artist is the sun, now shrouded, now peeking from behind its scudding veils. The bones of the still unclad trees were silhouetted against the shifting skies of deep blue, white, and various shades of grey.

Landscape with cloudsCloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 7Cloudscape 2

Landscape with magnolia and cloudsMagnolia whiteMagnolias are coming into bloom in the village. Oz and Polly’s white one offers a fine display decorating the left fork from Seamans Lane. Pink is the colour of another in a cottage garden opposite The Trusty Servant Inn.Pink magnolia

Making up the last of the Safestore boxes for us to fill this afternoon, I reflected on my experiences of such containers. These particular items have already been used to move Jackie and me twice, and Becky and her family once. They are still sturdy enough for one more tour of service. I was amused to see that one still bore the tissue paper that served as the wrapping for Danni’s huge present last year.

Jackie has done a grand job of scavenging cardboard fruit boxes from Morrison’s supermarket. So helpful were the staff that one man was eager to extract the last few melons from one carton so she could take it away. These containers reminded me of the far more robust Chinese Boxes of Soho.

Evening sky

Later, as the sun subsided in the west of our garden, the eastern sky became an indigo water-colour wash with just one cloud reflecting the fading glow from the other side.

We are expecting Elizabeth and Danni shortly. When they arrive we will all go to The Plough Inn at Tiptoe for an evening meal.