Maybe Next Year


It was very crowded this afternoon in Milford Church Hall. Flowers and Produce were on display at the annual show. For £1 each we were admitted to the seething throng surrounding the tables where the fruits of people’s labours were laid out in serried rows.

For a while I persisted in emulating a punter trying to get a drink in a crowded bar. It was difficult to find the space to function with a camera without sticking my elbows into other visitors, or backing into the rear of some inspecting the contents of the table behind me. In fact I wasn’t totally successful in this latter avoidance. The ladies were very good about it. I managed to photograph a few flowers; and vegetables; some modelled in clay or something like it; and examples of the seamstresses craft.

All this was, of course, quite heavy on the knees. I was therefore most relieved when I found a chair to collapse into and focussed more on the people around me.

As we left the hall we speculated that maybe next year Jackie might be in the running for a prize or two.

Back home, after a lengthy application of frozen peas to my operated knee I watered all the plant containers around the patio and along the kitchen wall. Jackie, of course, had done a lot more this morning, and was by now metamorphosing from Head Gardener into Culinary Queen.

What Mrs Knight produced this evening was her classic sausage casserole in a rich gravy, crunchy orange carrots, dark green curly kale, creamy mashed potato, and crisp white cauliflower. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie. Elizabeth was out with friends.




Should I Be Concerned?

The garden was refreshed by early morning rain.

Passion flowers and honeysuckle

This failed to dampen the ardour of the passion flowers eyeing the red hot honeysuckle,

Sweet peas

and gave sweet peas a welcome drink.

Rose Aloha

The climbing rose Aloha,

Rose Margaret Merrill

and the bush Margaret Merrill are both in full bloom.

A comment on Houzz GardenWeb forum, posted in July 2007 states that  ‘the Margaret Merrill rose was named [in 1977] after a fictitious character in British advertising, but Harkness had to track down various Margaret Merrills for permission to complete naming the rose’. Margaret Merrill was the nom de plume of a beauty advisor who helped Oil of Ulay (now Olay) sell its beauty products. If you wanted cosmetic advice you wrote to this woman.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Chandlers Ford for her physiotherapy. I settled down to an hour with Primo Levi’s ‘The Periodic Table’, but I didn’t get very far in my hoped-for completion of this, my current book. Jackie soon emerged with a happy face. She had been told she was doing brilliantly and didn’t need to go again.

Patrick's Patch

On our return we stopped for a visit to Patrick’s Patch in Beaulieu.

Marigold pathFlower beds

LavenderScarecrows and bedsThis is the community garden’s peak time. Marigolds, dahlias, gladioli, sunflowers and lavender are just a few of the flowers we observed as we wandered along the paths, where various imaginative scarecrows were drafted into service.

Annual borderJackie smelling annual border

The Annual Border, with its Painted Lady runner beans, was particularly stunning and, as Jackie discovered, sweet pea scented. We didn’t see a weed anywhere.


Produce like apples and courgettes looked ripe and plump.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne, egg fried rice, and green beans, followed by chocolate eclairs. I finished the bordeaux, whilst Jackie drank Hoegaarden, this last of which, whilst I completed my post, she took up to the rose garden for what has become a nightly drink with Alan Titchmarsh. Like many women of a certain age she is in love with the man. Should I be concerned?

It’s only a rose.