The Holly And The Ivy


Our white sofa, being a sofa bed, is extremely heavy. In order to avoid damaging the new flooring, this morning Connor called upon

Mark to help him lift it into place.

Jackie ventured into the garden on this much brighter day than yesterday, announcing “I am going into the garden to photograph some loveliness.”  Her results included

raindrops on oak leaf pelargoniums,

on nasturtiums – only the red ones -,

on roses including Hot Chocolate,

Winchester Cathedral,

and pink carpet variety,

on vinca,


on cyclamen,


on camellia,

and on branches of Japanese maple,

weeping birch,

and the stems of Félicité Perpétue.

She also pictured primroses,




cyclamen leaves,

weeping birch bark,


 winter flowering cherry,

and generous pansies sharing their trough with next spring’s burgeoning tete-a-tetes.

Finally she thought her collection would not have been truly seasonal – not that much of it actually is – without

the holly

and the ivy.

The blackbirds have eaten all our berries.

Apart from working on this draft, I wrote out a batch of Christmas cards which Jackie posted later.

By the end of the afternoon, Connor was working on the final corner, which he soon finished.

One of the benefits of not being able to get into your kitchen for three days is that you can eat out in one of your favourite restaurants each day. This evening it was the turn of The Family House Chinese at Totton where we enjoyed our usual M3 set meal with Tsing Tao beer.

Misty Morning

Having slept much of yesterday, my head was much clearer today, although I was still rather wobbly.

However, I did manage couple of short walks in the garden. The first was before the sun emerged.

Cars drove with headlights on Christchurch Road; grey skies hung over the garden; yet I was still able to find reasonably lit flowers.

Later as the sun emerged, Jackie removed her protective covers from her more tender plants; more flowers were well lit; and the sun’s rays striated the clouds of mist.

This afternoon I settled down to watch the Six Nations rugby matches between France and Scotland, and between England and Wales.

This evening we dined on small supermarket chicken jalfezis – just what I could manage.

A Virtual Tour

There follows the missing post from

15th January 2019

We will be without internet until the faulty router is repaired. This is because the loaned device does not work. Now that I know that EE was bought by BT in 2016, I understand why their customer care is on a par with that of their new owner. Their equipment failed. They would repair it free of charge but not replace it without payment. Yet they still take my monthly subscription. I am stuck with them because they are the only feasible service to our location. And I don’t have the energy to waste on battling with them.

Elizabeth visited bearing flowers and chocolates. She stayed for lunch before setting off to West End to accompany Mum to an eye appointment at Southampton Hospital.

Whilst I slumped comfortably in my customary corner

Jackie took a trip round the garden

and brought me back a photographic record. Titles of the pictures in the gallery, which can be accessed by clicking on any image, will identify the plants on display. Many of these would not be expected in mid-January.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken curry with brown savoury rice and vegetable samosas.

The Earliest Corms


This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session with Claire. This was encouraging. She has no need to see me again.

On our return home we turned off the main road to investigate where a bridge over the River Avon would take us. We were intrigued by a castellated tower we saw in the distance. Was it a castle or a church? Naturally we needed to seek it out.

This was the Church of All Saints at Harbridge,

a village on low meadow land to the west of the river between Ringwood and Fordingbridge. ‘The name Harbridge probably means “Hearda’s bridge”.[3] In the Domesday Bookof 1086, Bernard the Chamberlain held Harbridge from the King. Before 1066 it had been held by Ulveva. Harbridge is a referred to as a manor by the early 15th century.[1] In the early 19th century the manor passed to the Earl of Normanton, and like nearby Ibsley and Ellingham became part of his estate of Somerley.[1]Harbridge was a civil parish until 1974, when the parish was amalgamated with the parishes of Ellingham and Ibsley.’  ‘The church of All Saints consisting of chancel, nave, and west tower, was rebuilt in 1838.[1] The tower retains its 15th-century masonry, but it was raised in the 19th century reconstruction.[4](Wikipedia)

I wandered among the older gravestones, most of which were weather-worn and lichen-coated, rendering them indecipherable. Robert Robinson’s was the only name I could discern.

Tiny natural cyclamen were scattered among the graves. How many lifetimes could it be that the earliest corms had occupied this consecrated soil?

Elizabeth stayed overnight with Mum. Jackie and I dined at Lal Quilla. She chose chicken sag as her main meal, which she enjoyed, while I savoured lamb Ceylon. We shared special fried rice and an onion bahji; and both drank Kingfisher. The restaurant was quite busy, but we still received friendly service and excellent food.





The Big Beast Barrier


Today, Jackie did a massive shop and I shifted a little more compost.

Orange streak on Honesty

Fluttering about the garden is what I think is, despite its yellow colouring, an Orange tip butterfly which stubbornly refuses to stop and pose. Instead this one held a mask of Honesty.


This dwarf azalea is one that I brought from Sutherland Place when I left there in 2009. It had been part of the contents of a filled pot given to me when I stopped working with Parents for Children a couple of years earlier.

Bluebells (Spanish) and heucheras

Most of our bluebells ring Spanish tunes. Here a clump separates a pair of heucheras.


These forget-me-nots have taken over one of the paths leading from the Rose Garden. We cannot bear to pull them up until they have flowered, so I guess we will continue to go the long way round to the orange shed.

Big Beast Barrier

Jackie’s new Big Beast Barrier has withstood the nocturnal marauder for at least one night. My original round peg has been staked in position and placed alongside one of the concrete blocks I dug out of this plot three years ago. The poles in the foreground are part of an obelisk which held up a clematis that appears to have died, having, according to Jackie, been subjected to the intruder’s urine. She is hoping to preserve the cyclamen from a similar fate.

Father Christmas left a bottle of Spice ‘n’ Easy fresh red chilli sauce in Jackie’s stocking. She found it a little too hot. She thought that sloshing a fair amount of it into tonight’s chilli con carne with savoury rice, might be a good way of eventually dispensing with it. I loved it. The Culinary Queen managed it. I drank Trivento Malbec reserva 2016. This could possibly have helped Jackie cool her meal, but she didn’t fancy it.


What’s Come Up


Today, I wandered around the garden contemplating spring clearing, and investigating what’s come up.

Primulas 1

There are many different primulas;

Borage 1


Borage 2



and hellebores galore;

daffodils such as February Gold and Têtes-à-Têtes;






and cyclamen.

Heligan and brick paths

Views across the garden reveal most of these plants, and what needs to be done. Here we stand on the Brick Path to the left of the Heligan one.

Margery's Bed

The Phantom Path runs alongside Margery’s Bed.

Palm Bed

This is the Palm Bed;

Cryptomeria Bed

and this the Heligan Path winding between the Cryptomeria and Weeping Birch Beds.

This afternoon Jackie lopped the branches off the Christmas tree and filled an orange bag with those and the campaniflora clematis cuttings.

Roast lamb served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, crunchy carrots, cauliflower and green beans was Jackie’s meal this evening. I had some, too. This was followed by lemon meringue pie and cream. I drank Vacqueras cru des Côtes du Rhône 2015.


It is not that unusual for readers seeking contacts or history to stumble across this blog and, through comments, to ask me for information. Yesterday there were two. One man sought a contact with Trinity (Battersea) now Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club. I, and two others responded. A second person, a woman, wondered whether Jackie’s sister, Helen, was someone she had trained with in the 1960s. I put them in touch with each other. Such is the power of WordPress.

Today, definitely presaging Spring, was even sunnier, and warmer, than yesterday.

Here are some of the garden flowers I did not pick yesterday:


We have pretty pansies,

Hellebores 1Hellebores 2Hellebore 1Hellebore 2Hellebore 3

a vast variety of head-hanging hellebores,


several flourishing viburnums,


precocious primulas, some a little nibbled,


different camellias,


and cerise cyclamens among others.

At midday we drove to Efford Recycling Centre to dump some of our rubbish, and

Charger and toysMats

as usual departed with purchases from the Sales Area, namely a charger, some toddler toys and rolls of mats for the garden shed.

We then came back to Otter Nurseries where we enjoyed mushroom soup and rolls with the discount vouchers. After this we went driveabout.

Isle of WightIsle of Wight 2

The Needles and Lighthouse

The light was so clear over the Solent that we had the sharpest view of the flanks of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse, a mile and a quarter away.

Walkers silhouette 1Walkers silhouette 2

Walkers were silhouetted on Hordle West Cliff Top.

Pheasant hens Pheasant hens 2

Driving along Angel Lane we gatecrashed a pheasant hen party.

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape and silhouettes

Back at home, shortly before sunset, sand-clouds gathered over Christchurch Road. This time buildings, shrubs, and trees provided the silhouettes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken tikka biriani; vegetable pakoras and samosas; salad; and delicious cauliflower bhaji that would have graced any Indian kitchen. The cook drank Hoegaarden and the satisfied customer drank Kingfisher.