Out On Their Feet Amid The Confetti

Yesterday I forgot to mention the outcome of my visit to Simon Richards, the hand surgeon. That can only be a good sign. He has discharged me, but physiotherapy will continue for some time. The middle joint on the little finger remains bent rigid. He has advised me to practice straightening it with brute force from my right hand. That’s painful. And scary. Rather like holding a newborn baby, I don’t want to break it. But it seems to be working.

Wind still gusts around the garden, but we do have sunshine and showers. Rhododendron

A new rhododendron is in bloom;

Ant on allium

an ant perches on the first of our colourful alliums to arrive;

Thyme and erigeron

the thymes I rescued from the blue sinks last year have thrived;

Spiky shrub

as has the heavily Corokia cotoneaster outside the back door;

clematis Niobe

and the clematis Niobe enlivens the kitchen wall.

The rain, reinforced by a fierce fusillade of hailstones, soon returned and watered my charges for me.Mimulas and cosmos

These mimuluses, hosta, heuchera, and cosmos have yet to be planted up.

I returned to the task of identifying and scanning the prints retrieved from Elizabeth.

Michael and Sam 6.83

Here, Michael and Sam are seated in the garden of Gracedale Road in June 1983.

Sam 1983

Later that year, Sam tucks into refreshments after completing the Furzedown mini-marathon.

This was a fund-raising event for the children’s nursery school. Clearly the professional-looking number tags had been donated by the organisers of the Farnham Castle Marathon, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. I made a complete black and white portfolio of the occasion for the school. Some parents bought copies. If I ever find the negatives, I think the pictures would warrant their own post.

(I did find the negatives. This post and the next two feature the pictures)

Michael 1984

Sometime in 1984, Michael appears to be watching telly in the lounge of Gracedale Road. Probably an Arsenal football match.

Becky 1984 001

Also in 1984 we attended Tony and Liz’s wedding. Here is a portrait of Becky taken there.

That was the period in which I was converting colour negatives to black and white prints, using an enlarger and chemicals. Goodness knows how, I certainly don’t remember. Now I can do it at the touch of a mouse, so who cares?

Becky 1984 002

This, from the same set, was scanned from a 10″ x 8″ print.

Louisa 1984

Louisa was there too. Here, putting me in mind of the bridesmaid from 1970, she, too, seems to be out on her feet, and contemplating whether the confetti would soften the paving stones sufficiently to provide a feather bed.

There was more than enough of Jackie’s delicious beef stew for my meal this evening. I also finished the Madiran wine.

Finishing Touches

Chinese cabinet on chest of drawersWe have a long, but not tall, Chinese oak cabinet which has gone up and down stairs in our new home like a yo-yo. The library had seemed its most likely final resting place.  The almost completed project no longer offered space for it. So back upstairs we carted it. When I bought the chests of drawers from Fergusson’s, one was intended to stand beneath this piece of furniture. We had second thoughts. Now we have thought again.

I then emptied the last four boxes of books; Jackie got out the vacuum cleaner; and we set about transporting the games table into the library. Had we not covered the garage door this would have been quite a simple matter. But we had. So it wasn’t.

The table was surplus to requirements in the sitting room. We carried it into the hall, intending to take it through the kitchen into the library. We couldn’t get it into the kitchen. So we took the casters off. We got it into the kitchen cupboard known as the glory hole. We couldn’t get it out into the kitchen itself. So we shifted it back into the hall and had a think.

I then had the bright, albeit somewhat tardy, idea of taking it out through the front door, round the side of the house, and in through the back door which now leads straight into the library. This worked like a dream. When I suggested to Jackie that we may not have needed to remove the casters, she suggested that I should not ‘even go there’.

LibraryThe legs of the piece had taken a bit of scuffing in its various moves, so Jackie applied wood stain to the wounds and polish to both limbs and surface. A piece of string held the slightly loosened leg in place whilst the glue dried.

The carpet that Michael had given us had just one grease mark on it. To complete the creation of the room my lady got down and scrubbed this with an application of Vanish. She fixed a clock to the side of one of the bookcases.

Still visible in one corner of the library are a handful of Safestore boxes containing a selection of volumes for a charity stall our friend Heather is running in August.

PhotiniaPhotinia bloomsA wander round the garden followed. The bungalow next door has been unoccupied for many years and such fence as there ever was between this and our property has been swamped by shrubs, one of which is a photinia. We think it is not ours, but never mind it blooms in our garden.

Yellow flowered shrub - Version 2There are also a couple of yellow flowering shrubs we could not identify until Jackie’s research revealed them to be corokia cotoneasters which originate in New Zealand.

Yellow flowered shrub

The copper beech is now in full leaf.Copper beech

White was the dominant colour of the hedgerows in Downton Lane as I took an early evening walk into a fierce headwind coming off the Solent.StitchwortMay

Cow parsley, stitchwort and may blossom have replaced the yellow daffodils and dandelions.

Rooks struggled against the wind to keep their bearings as they winged to and fro to their now clamouring chicks.Rook in flight

It was an evening for kite surfing such as my friend John Smith would relish.

Kitesurfers descendingKite surfers setting upSeascapeSeascape with kite surferSeascape with kite surfersKite surfers & yachtKite surfer, shingle, Isle if Wight & The NeedlesKite surfer & The NeedlesAs I arrived at the coastline a lone surfer was about to be joined by others walking down the steps from Hordle Cliff top. They were still setting up by the time I left the beach on which the rollers were again piling up the shingle. An intrepid yachts person was seen in the distance, and the Isle of Wight and The Needles made a landmark backdrop to the scene. Kite surfer in seaThe surfer didn’t manage to keep out of the water.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided a spread for our evening meal. The Co-op’s cheesecake was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegarden and I finished the chianti.