Picking Up The Autobiography

Yesterday evening, through the window beside my desk, Jackie photographed glistening pearls strung out by a furry spider.

For reasons which will become particularly apparent from my post “The Foam Rubber Mattress”, patient readers who may have notice an hiatus in the drafting of my autobiography, may be pleased to know that I picked it up again this afternoon. Hoping to have lifted my block I have taken material from that post and from “Chocolate Surprise Pudding”

Jackie carried out more planting, ably hindered by Nugget.

This afternoon we experienced more showers than sunshine as we drove to The Wheel Inn to book a table for lunch to celebrate Mum’s 97th birthday tomorrow.

The rain really set in as we continued into the forest, but desisted just as we had decided to return home. We stayed on at Brockenhurst where

pair of donkeys trotted alongside the school buses transporting youngsters home from Brockenhurst College

and idled past our windscreen.

Ponies

and cattle happily grazed among huge oaks just outside the village.

Pied wagtails are to ponies as robins are to gardeners. We watched one nipping around nearby hooves and muzzles.

Back at home, Jackie took her camera into the garden.

She is particularly pleased with this clematis, shrivelled and wizened when we arrived here five years ago.

 

Another great survivor is the Phoenix grass we tried to kill, now rising triumphantly from Elizabeth’s Bed.

The Dragon Bed, seen from the Gazebo, was a jungle five years ago.

Sculptural grasses come into their own at this time of the year. These are in the Palm Bed.

The helianthuses Lemon Queen sit before a curtain of Virginia creeper.

She cannot remember the name of this gorgeous fuchsia.

Other favourites are osteospermum;

the waving verbena bonariensis

and the peripatetic cosmoses mingling with them.

This evening we dined on roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, including sweet ones; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

Sparkling Jewels

Today dawned bright and sunny. Taking her camera with her, Jackie photographed the garden, glistening after yesterday’s rain. I joined her after a while, adding a few images of my own. We have merged our results.

Raindrops bejewelled individual blooms,

and sunshine brightened every view.

While Jackie was working on the lawn, Nugget did, of course arrive to inspect the works.

He took up a viewing station in his favourite New Zealand hebe,

then dropped down onto a bench to carry out a preening session within inches from the Head Gardener. Suitably satisfied with his ablutions he went into hiding in broad daylight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (19).

This evening we dined on tangy fish pie; crunchy haddock goujons; wholesome champ – an Irish dish consisting of mashed potato and spring onions – tender runner beans; piquant cauliflower cheese; and moist ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gajewski Shiraz 2018 – an excellent Australian wine brought by Elizabeth on Saturday.

Nugget, You’ve Got Mail

This morning while Jackie applied herself to unearthing food for Nugget, I occupied myself with dead-heading roses. The two photographs above are a day’s relief for eyes which struggled with yesterday’s “Where’s Nugget?”.

Hearing Jackie clearly speaking Avian I thought at first she had been addressing her little robin, but in fact it was “those ruddy randy pigeons”.

Here are two examples of the Head Gardener’s happy planting. We have pink Japanese anemones fronting similarly hued phlox in the first picture and a melange of begonias, pelargoniums, fuchsias, more of the anemones in the patio bed.

Lwbut has requested close ups of the Japanese anemones. There you go, Bob.

There is evidence from their webs that we are breeding vegan spiders – either that or they are currently constantly being disappointed.

Bees are busy with cosmoses, and sampling various vintages of Summer Wine.

Clematis has granted her presence to the Rose Garden arbour.

Although we have flotillas of Small White butterflies fluttering throughout the garden, we have very few other species, but we do have humming bird moths in phlox.

This afternoon Nugget received his first piece of snail mail.

This card, when opened, plays a recording of a robin’s song. The words inside, in Auntie Becky’s handwriting, state that she chose the card for the words – i.e. the birdsong.

Jackie and I spent a considerable amount of time getting our heads round how to record stuff on her camera. We managed it. I uploaded it into my computer and WordPress wouldn’t support the file format. I was, of course, my usual phlegmatic self on discovering this.

With the late afternoon growing duller and cooler, my chauffeuse drove us on a short trip into the forest.

A colourful range of heathers and bracken beginning to brown spread carpets across the moorland beside Holmsley Passage.

We thought it best to allow this beefy bovine free passage on the Burley road.

We spotted these rather splendid mushrooms along Bisterne Close.

Jackie produced a lovely lamb’s liver casserole with creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy cauliflower and carrots with tender green beans for our dinner this evening. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Ice Cream Delivery

Jackie swept liberally scattered beech nuts from the Rose Garden this morning.

Scoobie kept her company. On the Back Drive he found a fossilised rat which I opted not to photograph.

We have a liberal supply of petunias,

begonias,

and Japanese anemones.

Bees busied themselves gathering pollen, ignoring the fact that some plants remained dog-eared;

and competing for occupation of others.

Some clematises,

fuchsias,

cosmoses, and sweet peas remain in bloom.

Rose Doris Tysteman thrives in the Back Drive border.

Rosa Glauca hips hang over the colourful patio beds.

The hibiscus beside the Brick Path is really flourishing this year.

This afternoon the four of us visited the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

Gulls hung on the thermals overhead;

crows on the clifftop blinked and pecked at tissues which were eventually shredded;

children wandered;

and a fisherman angled on a breakwater

in view of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay.

This was a day for ice creams.

We had become a little concerned on noticing an elderly woman alone in a wheelchair. After some time a younger woman made her way across the garden with two ice creams. She presented one to the person we then assumed to be her mother, and they sat and enjoyed them together.

After we returned home Ian and I listened to the BBC sport broadcast of the Ashes Test match first day; and watched the second half of the highlights after dinner.

Our dinner consisted of thick pork chops with mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potato; crisp carrots and broccoli; tender runner beans; and roasted peppers, onions and mushrooms. I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah while the others drank Wairu Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2017.

Variations On A Game

Today winds were fresh; rain was absent; and the temperatures were cool.

The verbena bonarensis attracted butterflies like this Comma;

and this Small White,

examples of which flitted everywhere, seeming to use white blooms as camouflage. Can you spot any one of these which will benefit from enlargement on accessing their gallery with a click?

Jackie continued her care work on these cosmoses and clematis on the back drive;

these, elsewhere, needed rather less attention.

This somewhat rusty duck had allowed the recent rain to roll off its back.

These bidens are some of many self seeded from last year.

Jackie has successfully tied up Margery’s hollyhocks

with string.

It was quite a stretch for the Head Gardener to tidy the white everlasting sweet peas.

In the process she pointed to a glass robin, crying “there’s Nugget”.

So, now you’ve been given a clue can you answer where’s Jackie?

The real Nugget had come out to play the game. In order to help newer readers who may not be aware of what they are looking for, and to give others a bonus we have today, in order of difficulty:

Where’s Nugget? – 4a;

Where’s Nugget? – 4b:

and Where’s Nugget? – 4c.

Not far from our little friend the stumpery is bedding down nicely.

Late this afternoon, realising that this was expected to be our last dry, sunny day for some time, Jackie drove me round the Bisterne Scarecrow Trail. I have the makings of a photo story which I will save for tomorrow. This is because rain is expected all day then; because I will require considerable time to work on the post; and because I am knackered now.

While I focussed on one of the exhibits Jackie photographed a couple of chickens scratching in the gravel.

Their flamboyant male companion flexed his muscles on my return to the car.

This evening I watched the recorded highlights of what rain has made the first day of the second Ashes Test Match between England and Australia, before we dined on minty lamb burgers, new potatoes, cabbage and carrots with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Doom Bar.

Sunburst

I wandered around the garden late this afternoon, pointing the camera almost at random.

Here are the results. Don’t miss a couple of bees. The Puerto Rico dahlia provided a sympathetic sunburst. As usual, galleries will provide titles.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. We both enjoyed tempura prawns and fresh salad starters. My main meal was a superb rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato and peas; Jackie’s was the Wheel Inn Burger, salad, and chips with which she drank Kaltenberg, while I drank Ringwood’s best. Neither of us had room for dessert.

Spot the Bees

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL EXAMPLES OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Jackie continued watering the garden this morning. This afternoon we both carried out an extensive dead-heading session.

After this, I wandered among the flitting butterflies and the laden bees, occasionally sitting down, and photographing the still colourful range of flowers. The day lilies have been struggling, but some still survive. Look for the bees in some of the blooms. Captions to the gallery pictures offer identification.

This evening the three of us, including Elizabeth, dined on Jackie’s marinaded chicken fillets, pork rack of ribs, Plentiful vegetable rice, and ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.