I Have Given Up

I have ignored recent Jetpack communication from WP because I don’t understand it and am afraid to get involved with it. Until now, this seems to have been a good decision judging by the number of problems other bloggers seem to be having with it.

When I attempted to recover the pictures for

I came across a new problem. The block of photographs I had used successfully in this original post were inaccessible. After wrestling for an hour or so with this mystery I somehow discovered that Jetpack was now demanding that I sign up to Stripe – whatever that may be – and pay for the use of images from the pub’s promotional material, which had been part of my effort to publicise the excellent, innovative, venue. Fortunately we had visited again a few weeks later when Jackie had taken several pictures. I substituted some of these.

In doing so, I found all but one of the pictures missing from

I was able to recover these photographs from my iMac Photos, but even that presented its own difficulty. Try as I might I could not discover how to include what is now the last owl thatch image without it being cropped by WP – in fact I almost left it off altogether, which should tell you something. It only worked when I made it a separate tiled gallery of its own.

In the meantime my stints in nature’s gym incorporated two separate periods of weeding and dead heading, and only after finishing my rounds with the above problems, did I wander around with my camera.

Now I have given up. I cannot select the tiled gallery without the images being cropped. So the following pictures can only be seen in full when the gallery is accessed. Maybe they will sort this out, but I have had enough for one day.

The first of these two images of the Pond Bed is the view from our dining room window.

Some of our later blooming daily lilies are now flourishing.

Wedding Day rose, cropped in the second image can be seen on its are along the brick path.

Further along the brick path, on either side of the arch, can be seen more Cordyline Australis trees which, until recent clearances, have not been easily visible.

Here are two shots of the red climber along the Shady Path.

This rose coming into its own in the Dragon Bed was another of Jackie’s very cheap buys.

This veilchenblau rambler was bought very cheaply from an open day at Ferns Lodge in Cottagers Lane.

As entitled in the gallery Absolutely Fabulous, and Mamma Mia all enhance the Rose Garden.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; crisp croquette potatoes; firm Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, soft green beans, and meaty gravy with which Jackie finished the Bangla and I drank Trivento Reserve Malbec 2021.

Where’s Martin? (3)

Jackie and I spent most of the morning in Boots Opticians in New Milton where we bought new specs for her and I was advised that a cataract operation would be in order.

Martin, in the meantime, battled the gales to make far more progress on tidying the garden, and in particular

weeding the Gazebo Path.

Where’s Martin? (3).

Wind swept

the Cordyline Australis

and the Weeping Birch, stripping the latter of the last of its leaves.

In the afternoon the washing machine we bought last week was swiftly and efficiently fitted and the old one taken away.

Later Elizabeth and Jacqueline dropped in for a chat in which we sorted out international and national politics. They didn’t stay for dinner because they had enjoyed a substantial late lunch at Rosie Lea Tea Rooms.

Jackie and I dined on Chicken Kiev, chips, peas, and sweetcorn with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Hopping From Seat To Seat

Yesterday I somehow managed to strain my left inner thigh which means walking is out of the question.

Perhaps thirty years ago, as featured in https://derrickjknight.com/2013/01/17/im-only-borrowing-it/ I spent a good hour hopping from seat to seat on an Intercity train when I was commuting from Newark to Kings Cross.

The method proved useful once again today. I couldn’t walk, but I could hop from seat to seat around the garden for a photoshoot. So this is what I did.

These images were produced from a seat in the patio;

these from the Wisteria Arbour;

the Gardener’s Rest yielded just two;

then came the decking;

one from the bench at Fiveways;

a good range from the four various viewpoints in the Rose Garden;

two from the concrete patio;

four from the Heligan Path bench;

two from the Westbrook Arbour;

three from the Nottingham Castle bench;

and finally, petunias in a chimney pot on the lawn seen from its own bench. All the other titles will be available from accessing the galleries.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie; boiled new potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Flo and Dillon drank Ribena, and I finished the Côtes-du-Rhône.

Early Morning Light

We began work in the garden early, because we knew it would be a hot day. In addition to all her general labours, Jackie spent much time scrubbing surfaces, such as the slippery decking, and pigeon poo on chairs and benches. My task was a certain amount of dead heading and feeding of the compost bin, but mostly, taking advantage of the diffused light before the sun had risen too high.

This deep red climbing rose was inherited from our predecessors in a sorry, straggly, state, yet now thrives under the Head Gardener’s loving care.

This New Dawn, a present from Poppy and Tess, is now beginning to scale the gazebo.

This recent purchase is a climber called Brownie, which was bred by Nola M. Simpson in New Zealand before 2009.

The first of these clematises is accompanied by a bottle brush plant and a Chilean lantern tree; the second by a Rosa Glauca.

The bottle brush plant glimpsed above is the red one now coming into bloom; the climber Wedding Day spans the Brick Path.

Most hanging baskets have now been planted up.

Several hebes are flourishing. Jackie is very pleased with this sculptural eryngium.

A variety of day lilies abound.

Readers will be aware that we have one honey-scented cordyline Australis. We didn’t know ourselves that we have three more on the west side of the garden which we have not noticed flowering before.

Pale pink Penny Lane and bright red Super Elfin have happily settled on the Gothic Arch.

Peach Abundance flowers in the Oval Bed just outside the Rose Garden, among whose residents are

an unknown deep pink climber; red Roserie de l’Hay; red and white striped Rosa Gallica and yellow Laura Ford; poppies and foxgloves; pink and yellow Summer Wine; bright red Gloriana; and golden Crown Princess Margareta.

This afternoon we spent an hour with Mum, who was in good spirits, in the garden of Woodpeckers.

Afterwards I watched a memorable Wimbledon tennis match between Angelique Kerber and Sara Sorribes Tomo.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s delicious beef and onion pie with flavoursome Jersey Royal potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans, and meaty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

Flies Are Now In Season

On another warm, humid, and largely overcast morning garden maintenance was continued.

Jackie mostly concentrated on the Rose Garden, then produced her own gallery. It was the cricket on Absolutely Fabulous that sent her indoors for her camera. She also spotted a bee and a beetle on Rosa Gallica. Winchester Cathedral, For Your Eyes Only, and Lady Emma Hamilton were all ready for their close-ups. The beetle on the leaf in the first Rosa Gallica picture may be an invasive ladybug

My work was wider-ranging weeding, dead-heading, and feeding the compost bin and bags for the dump with suitable material.

With the cordyline Australis and the Wedding Day rose in full bloom it seemed opportune for me to stick my camera lenses through the upstairs windows and produce some

shots from above. So I did.

I then spent a while completing Jackie’s driving licence renewal application on line, only to get to the very last item and be told that there had been a technical hitch which resulted in the whole effort being cancelled. Mrs Knight then repeated the process with a paper application in half the time.

Afterwards we posted the application at Everton Post Office; collected a prescription from Milford on Sea Pharmacy; visited Rosie Lea tea house, formerly The Hobler Inn, to book a meal for which Danni had given Jackie a voucher for her birthday; and, following a forest drive, purchased three more bags of compost at Ferndene Farm Shop.

Beside the stream at the start of Cadnam Lane, apparently exhausted in the heat, a trio of pigs lay flaked out. They occasionally twitched in an effort to shift the horseflies from their flanks. One sow found the energy to rise to her feet and slowly yawn.

Round the next bend ponies sought shelter in the woodland. They, too, received their share of flies.

This evening we indeed on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie; new potatoes, firm carrots, and tender runner beans, with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone 2019.

Antipodean Arboreal Delights

I began the day by reading three more of Anton Chekhov’s short stories and scanning one illustration.

In her introduction to ‘Kashtanka’ (1887) Elisaveta Fen quotes a letter from Chekhov’s friend, the poet Polonsky, who wrote ‘the ending is not only unexpected but also significant, and this is most important. The colour of the language fully corresponds to the place, time and character of your protagonists.’

I will say no more about this finely crafted tale except that it is told from the, especially olfactory, perspective of a mongrel dog; and that the significance of the unexpected ending is, to me, that early attachment, despite abuse, is often paramount – in humans as well.

The next two tales benefit from the author’s medical qualification and practice.

‘The Enemies’ (1887) features a scene in which someone has just died as described by one who, as a physician, knows just how it could be. Fen says ‘Its atmosphere is conveyed with economy of detail, the impact of which on the reader’s imagination is the greater for this.’ Chekhov conveys the immediate impact of grief, with an understanding of psychology, whilst allowing that this will subside over time. The mutual hatred of the enemies, each from a different class, is ultimately extended to all other members of their respective classes. Such divisions still hold good today.

‘Varka steals up to the cradle and bends over the baby’ illustrates ‘Sleep. . . sleep’ (1888), which Chekhov himself apparently did not rate too highly.

I have to agree with the translator that ‘the story is a remarkable example of ability to identify with a young peasant girl, driven half-insane by deprivation of sleep, and to describe the visions that drift through her mind – visions and memories which, in a few sentences, paint the whole of her background, making this story a minor masterpiece.’ The effects of mental exhaustion are conveyed with personal and professional insight giving the author a highly developed capacity for empathy. I imagine there will be many, confined by Covid lockdowns to high-rise flats with no gardens, who identify with this.

This afternoon, while Jackie watered thirsty plants, I, accompanied by the soothing burble of the water feature, weeded

the final arm of the Rose Garden Brick Paving,

leaving three sets of stepping stones still to be cleared. I left the broom propped on the wooden chair in the shady corner.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice, with which she drank more of the Salento Rosato and I finished the Fleurie.

We began our drinks on the patio where, while we watched a preening wood pigeon, we were joined by the lonely collared dove which lost its mate to a predator earlier in the year.

We could also see that three of our Antipodean Arboreal Delights are now blooming simultaneously. The cordyline Australis has a heady honeyed scent that pervades the garden; the yellow bottle brush plant attracts bees, one of which, with a filled sac, is homing in in the picture; and the eucalyptus flowers take on the guise of little furry creatures.

“Not Much Room For Mushrooms”

Shortly after dawn this morning the sun, rising in the east, began to light the tips of the garden trees.

These views from the back bedroom windows particularly highlight the sweet smelling cordyline Australis; the blossoming eucalyptus; the yellow bottle brush plant; the Wedding Day rose draped over the Agriframes Arch; and pink pelargoniums.

From the front we look down on two different pink climbing roses and more pelargoniums.

Aaron having broadened the bed bordering the lawn yesterday, Jackie spent the morning placing her mushrooms in their permanent home. First she took some plastic pot saucers and pierced them with holes; the trays were filled with gravel for drainage to protect the fabulous fungi from rot; all three were firmly embedded. The daisy-like erigerons will cover the gravel to provide a natural setting. Gnomes will not be welcome.

When I mentioned to Jackie that I was struggling to think of an apt title, she said: “Not much room for mushrooms”, which I would have been proud of myself.

Later I e-mailed these two pictures to https://www.facebook.com/blackstonechalk/ who had made the carvings from recycled ash.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome beef and mushroom pie; crisp roast potatoes, some of which were sweet; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender green beans, with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Becks while I quaffed more of the Fleurie.

The Prime Suspect

Jackie spent much of the morning watering the garden and tying up roses. After lunch I joined her and dead-headed roses and Welsh poppies while she continued.

When the heat drove us in for a rest, the Head Gardener watched Gardeners’ World and I scanned another 21 pages from

H.E. Bates’s “Down The River” illustrated by Agnes Miller Parker.

Later I took a few photographs and joined in a another watering session.

Here are a few images from upstairs, featuring the blooms of the Cordyline Australis; the eucalyptus; the yellow Bottle Brush plant; and the red Chilean lantern tree receiving attention from Jackie.

Even this last mentioned small tree was wilting in the heat. The two-toned pink peony can be glimpsed just above left of centre in the first image.

For several days now Jackie has discovered pure white eggs, of a size too large to have been laid by our garden birds, either secreted among the flowers beds or lying on the lawn. Yesterday evening she noticed one on the grass bearing a small hole through which she discerned yellow yolk and clear viscous albumen. She left it intact.

This morning this is what it looked like. Our neighbours on the corner beside the pub keep ducks. Clearly someone is nicking their eggs, depositing them in our garden, and enjoying a meal later. To our mind the prime suspect must be a fox, but we haven’t seen one. Maybe Russell Crow.

Certainly not this tiny mouse that Jackie watched feeding on borage seeds.

Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away opened up again today. That fare, is therefore what we ate for dinner. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and drank more of the Carles.

She Hasn’t Forgotten Us

The morning of this warm and sunny day was rather abortive. One problem I have not yet been able to solve is that there is no longer a link to my About Derrick Knight page at the top of each of my posts. This applies to all my earlier posts. The snippet that appears at the bottom is taken from my Gravatar. Apparently About Derrick Knight is a page, not a post. My efforts to turn it into a post were so unsuccessful that I took a break and accompanied Jackie on a Garden Centre search for a garden arch similar to that shown in these two pictures produced this afternoon:

They show a sparrow perched on one that, supporting a blue solanum, stands beside the Wisteria Arbour now dominated by Paul’s Scarlet rose. We wanted one of these because the natural rust does not eat into it and, more importantly, it is easy to assemble. None was available.

The pictures above were taken during an afternoon visit from Danni, Andy, and Ella, who had, keeping the requisite social distancing come to “wander in the garden and run away”. We welcomed them and sat far enough apart in the patio.

While our great niece wandered among the flowers in the dress made by Nanna Helen, her father ensured she was kept safe and offered the occasional helping hand. As will be seen, she has not lost her penchant for pointing.

Underneath the wisteria our great niece acquired an ornamental ladybird which she clutched for the rest of the trip. She was perfectly happy to put it back and wave goodbye, as she did to us, when it was time to go.

Although Ella was not able to enter the house and root for familiar toys, we were very pleased that she has not forgotten us during the lockdown.

This evening we dined on roast gammon and chicken thighs; sage and onion stuffing; creamy potato and swede mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with tasty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Syrah.

Antipodean Visitors

Warm sunshine was the order of the day.

Jackie spent much time in shade tending to potted plants, many of which have survived the winter but needed shaves and haircuts.

She has suspended some of these from the lopped cypress.

My contribution to the general maintenance was a little watering, weeding, and transporting debris to the compost bin.

Our first peony blooms are appearing

as are those of roses Emily Gray

and Félicité Perpétue, both along the back drive

which also sports splendid hawthorns.

Our Antipodean visitors include the bark-shedding eucalyptus,

several sculptural New Zealand flaxes,

and the Cordyline Australis now sending forth its bud stems.

Small white butterflies flutter everywhere at the moment. This one had the decency to keep still for a moment.

Currently flourishing clematises include the bosomy Marie Boisselot;

the robust Dr Ruppel;

the novel Daniel Deronda:

and this anonymous character.

This radiant rhododendron refreshes the Palm Bed.

Nugget and Lady continue jointly to feed their brood. It is now really only behaviour that enables us to distinguish between them. For example when one drops down onto the wheelbarrow with which Jackie is working, something with wings in his beak, cocks his head on one side; inspects the offerings she has on display, and flies off in disinterest, that is undoubtedly our friend.

I am fairly sure this in Nugget perched on his favourite patio chair.

The pair of them were collecting suet pellets at this point. Unfortunately I only photographed one of them. Nugget, we think.

Later this afternoon a fledgling robin swooped after Jackie as she entered the rose garden and began tipping spent compost onto the beds for mulch. In a flash this baby cocked his head and began the investigations exactly as his father had done a year ago. Soon we really will have an identification problem.

This evening we dined on more of yesterday’s crusty bread with her wholesome soup of chicken and bacon added to the Culinary Queen’s vegetable base.