A Bigger Splash

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The garden was looking very refreshed as I wandered around this morning. Most blooms bore baubles of raindrops.

Bees were making up for being confined in hives by the recent precipitation.

By lunchtime, I had finished reading 

Hibbert’s well researched history is founded on the subject’s personal correspondence and contemporary observations. Like many great men, our national hero comes across has a man of two halves. Undoubtedly kind and generous to his men and to many others Nelson’s relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton was seen as folly by many, and, even as demonstrated by his own letters he must have treated his wife very badly. This Viking paperback of 1994 contains no identification of the painter of the cover portrait.

After lunch, Jackie and I visited the sites of the two scarecrows missing from our last visit. Prince Eric, now wearing a rain hood, perched on a hedge at Ramblers in Woodcock Lane. I am very pleased to be able to report that a rebuilt Frog Prince again sits outside 49 Ashley Lane. His creator informed me that his battered body had lain on the ground and his decapitated head had hung from a branch.

We continued on a drive through the forest. Near Ogdens, a herd of deer got wind of my approach, and, turning tail, slowly picking up speed, elegantly trotted across the undulating terrain to safety over the brow of a hill.

Ponies and fliesPoniesPonies and fliesPonies

Clusters of pesky flies surrounded somnolent ponies gathered together at North Gorley.

Other ponies mingled with visitors to Ibsley ford, some of whom competed to establish who could create a bigger splash.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pork paprika with savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Coonwarra Chardonay 2016; Elizabeth and I chose Villanyi Merlot 2015 and drank some of it.

Track The Butterfly

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We took a mid-morning break in the patio where I admired the plantings, and Jackie watered a few she spotted looking a little thirsty. For a while I watched what I think was a Meadow Brown butterfly flitting from cosmos to bidens. This creature, and a bee that took its place on the cosmos when it wandered off, may be tracked by accessing the gallery as above.

Elsewhere, a smaller bee weighed down the tiny lobelias it preferred, while one sustained by the white everlasting sweet pea looked a little inebriated.

It was not until page 218 that I found a train ticket from London to Haddenham dated 8th March 2008 in my copy of David Lodge’s ‘Deaf Sentence’. Regular readers will realise that this signifies I have read the book before. I have absolutely no recollection of doing so. I finished it for the second time this afternoon. Will I remember it in another ten years? I rather doubt it.

Lodge has written much fiction, literary criticism, and a number of essays on the art of writing. He is skilled and this novel is well crafted. The blurb on the inside of the jacket tells us that ‘Deaf Sentence’ is ‘funny and moving by turns, being a brilliant account of one man’s effort to come to terms with deafness and death, ageing and mortality, the comedy and tragedy of human life’.

Many contemporary issues are introduced into the melting pot. There are what feels like obligatory sexual passages. The writing appears effortless; even slick. Tragic the story is. I did not find it funny, but then, I am not a fan of sick humour. It seems at times as if the reader is being lectured on, for example, the effects of hearing loss; vocabulary; and linguistics. Apart from some rather boring sections the book does hold the attention. Others may like it enough to retain memories of it.

 

 

Idiosyncratic Titles

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Late this morning Becky and I checked on the chimney pot planter she had successfully refreshed yesterday. She was able to photograph the results;

and I photographed her doing so.

Bee on cosmos

Bees were very active, and I was unable to resist recording this one in a cosmos.

We returned to the house and Becky added her input to this post. So expert is she with Microsoft computers and so adept at mobile phone photography that it was a pleasant experience for me to instruct her in the use of DSLR and loading pictures onto the iMac for transfer to WordPress. Naturally I gave my daughter a free hand in the process, and would therefore hope readers will forgive her idiosyncratic titles for some of the galleried images.

This afternoon we watched the World Cup football knockout match between France and Argentina. Soon afterwards Jackie returned home, having enjoyed three days with her sisters in a static caravan at Bowdens Crest Caravan and Camping Park at Langport in Somerset.

Jackie would have been proud of the excellent chicken curry with special rice that Becky produced for the three of us this evening. This followed vegetable samosas. I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. Jackie had already drunk her Hoegaarden beforehand, and our daughter abstained.

 

Snatching Snoozes

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In ‘The Card Case’, I spoke of the client who had no money to pay my fee, but brought me the occasional small gift, all of which I have treasured for almost 30 years. I am not a science fiction fan, so I have not read many of his paperback books. One of these is Poul Anderson’s ‘The Makeshift Rocket’. I finished this short novel this morning. It was a surprisingly entertaining work. Light-hearted, with a touch of dry humour, once I had ceased trying to decipher the author’s attempts at reproducing Danish and Irish spoken English, I enjoyed the book.

Afterwards I photographed garden views from upstairs windows and from the stable doorway.

Having decided to reduce the codeine element in my pain relief, I struggled a bit today. On the other hand it may have been the amount of walking on uneven terrain I undertook yesterday. Consequently I spent the afternoon alternately dozing over snatches of World Cup football and having brief forays into the garden.

Lily, marigolds etc

A new day lily has forced its way through the soil to join the marigolds beside the greenhouse.

Palm Bed to eucalyptus

Geranium palmatums lead us past more day lilies in the Palm Bed to the eucalyptus and beyond.

Cosmoses, geraniums, violas

Urns, like this stone one Jackie has planted up at the end of the Brick Path,

Garden view from Shady Path to kitchen window

and the pottery one standing on the filled in well, counteract what she call “The June Gap”, when there is not normally much colour around.

The hanging baskets on the kitchen wall and the two clematises in pots on the corner serve the same purpose.

Rose Ballerina dances in the bed beside the entrance to the Rose Garden,

Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia

where such as Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia continue to splash their colour.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Swinging Sixties is another plant in a pot,

Linaria and valerian

opposite which Linaria and Valerian vie for space in the Oval Bed.

My final trip up the garden was via the Phantom Path to join Jackie taking a break on the decking. There I passed the Cryptomeria Bed with its clematis, geranium palmatums, and hot lips; a penstemon in Margery’s Bed; a planted pot on the corner of the Gazebo Path; and Florence sculpture with her basket of bacopa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and splendid special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

 

 

Down The Garden

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Patio

As it began to rain whilst they were finishing the painting yesterday, Clare and Andrew had placed the garden chairs under the wisteria arbour. This morning, Aaron carried them to the patio.

The day was overcast. Jackie and Aaron spent the morning on garden maintenance, now at its most pressing. Aaron also filled his truck with our pruning and clippings. From the patio I continued on a perambulation with the camera.

I took my usual route along the Kitchen Path, passing the rose campion planted in front of the lysimachia firecracker with feverfew to the left.

At the corner by the iron urn, in view of the geraniums and verbena in a planter above the Dragon Bed with its pink snapdragons and prolific marigolds,

I made my way along the Brick Path, past the grass patch with its bed of bright pink begonias,

taking a rest on the Westbrook Arbour bench, and looking down the Phantom Path to sculpture Florence. Penny Lane is making her way up the Gothic Arch, opposite clematis Star of India.

Campanula persiciflora

The campanula Persiciflora stands at the south end of the Brick Path, beneath the dead snake bark maple.

It normally takes me quite a while to make inroads into a new book. “Pilling Always Pays’, by Thomas Armstrong, which I finished today, was no exception. My post-operative lethargy probably contributed to this, but I did also think that the author’s painstakingly thorough method of introducing his cast of characters may have played a part. Nevertheless, I will not hold this against him, for he proceeded to tell a carefully crafted story with numerous apparently disparate strands skilfully knitted together in the final pages. The setting was a provincial town in 1936, with its closely interwoven upwardly mobile community.  In ‘Auntie Ivy And Sir Edmund Hillary’ I featured what I had found inside my copy.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken, new potatoes, crunchy carrots and cabbage, and moist ratatouille, with flavoursome gravy.

 

Parts I Haven’t Been Able To Reach

On a hot, sunny, afternoon, aided by a crutch, I walked down the Brick Path to the top of the Back Drive, where Jackie provided me with three more perching spots.

I couldn’t resist periodically stopping en route for a few shots from a standing position, sans crutch.

Once settled at the top of the drive I photographed two types of Erigeron in the New Bed; planting of solanum, begonias, and petunias in baskets hanging from the dead Snake Bark Maple; Félicité Perpétue and poppies beside the compost bins; and clematis in one of the barrier tubs.

Moving to the other side of the barrier gave me views across the Weeping Birch Bed; the urns at the head of the Brick Path; and the Oval Bed with its two varieties of rose.

With the perch a bit further along the concrete patio I could view more day lilies; the Oval Bed with its Peach Abundance roses; and pale pink New Dawn clambering over the arbour in the Rose Garden.

A yard or two further forward I was able to picture Jackie’s newly planted alliums, repeated in the Palm Bed, opposite the poppies in Margery’s Bed.

Once I had had enough and returned indoors to rest my leg, Jackie took over the photographer’s mantle, producing her versions of the poppies; the Phantom Path with its flanking beds; and the view beside the Gazebo Path looking back to the house.

Today, I explored parts of the garden I haven’t been able to reach for a while.

This evening we dined on another excellent Forest Tandoori takeaway. Once again my main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna.

 

 

 

Aaron Knows The Score

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We have experienced an intermittently leaky kitchen extension roof since we arrived here. The amount of infiltration has depended upon the wind direction rather than the quantity of precipitation. One person has already allegedly repaired it – not very effectively.

Sid mending roof 1Sid mending roof 2

Sid, a very personable extra pair of hands, has joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today he mixed up cement and mended the roof properly.

Aaron removing stump 1Aaron with chainsaw

Aaron pruned a straggly climbing rose, and cleared more of the West Bed including stripping dead and intrusive growth from another palm, and sawing off an exposed tree stump we hadn’t known was there. When I told him that Sid had spotted a cracked tile and asked if we had any more, and I had replied that we had, but I would need to ask Jackie where they were, Aaron gave her yet another title. “The Maintenance Department”, said our friend, who knows the score.

Just to show willing, I assisted The Head Gardener in her general maintenance tasks this afternoon by occupying myself dead-heading.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

This is, of course, the season for showy dahlias

Chrysanthemums

bright, bushy, chrysanthemums,

Nasturtiums

and snaking nasturtiums;

Honeysuckle

but I am surprised to see honeysuckle rising again in both back and front gardens.

Geraniums

Geraniums

Begonia 1Begonia 2

and begonias cling on to life;

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

and fuchsias like Mrs Popple dangle away.

Rudbeckia

We have some multicoloured Rudbeckia;

Salvia Hot Lips

the aptly named salvia Hot Lips;

Cosmos

and long-lived cosmoses.

Rose For Your Eyes Only

The apparently everlasting For Your Eyes Only keeps company in the Rose Garden with

Rose Just Joey

fresh flushes of Love Knot,

Rose Laura Ford

Laura Ford,

Rose Mamma Mia

and Mamma Mia.

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis

The Small White butterflies are still enjoying the verbena bonarensis,

Bee on clematis

and bees still gather pollen provided by such as this clematis.

Turfcutter's Arms (Jackie)

This evening we returned to the Turfcutter’s Arms

Roast belly of pork meals

for a roast pork dinner. Jackie drank Peroni and enjoyed a chocolate sponge dessert with ice cream; my choices were Ringwood’s Best and fruit crumble with custard.