Thorns And Scratches

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Jackie is making good headway on her Spring planting

Sarcococca

Two sarcococcas, small shrubs which already dispense amazing scents, have been tried out with temporary plonking in their pots;

Other seeds, bulbs, and corms to come, are marked with packet labels;

Daffodil

Our first daffodil needed a helping hand to hold up its head.

Camellia

Camellias are now proliferating,

Cryptomeria

and the cryptomeria is sporting fresh needles.

Snowdrops

Most beds are blanketed with snowdrops;

Hellebore

more varieties of hellebore are blooming.

Many cyclamens have survived the winter, the white one here offering a fly a perch.

On this fine morning we took a trip into the forest.

At North Gorley a murder of crows were taking a very cold bath in the temporary pools. In order to park safely for a photograph we had to drive on and tun round, by which time most had flown away, a few engaged in aeronautics, and one remained  alone in contemplation.

One of the countryside crafts much in evidence in this area is that of hedge laying. A fine example lines a section of Hungerford Hill at Hyde. Water from the fields is fed into the ditch from pipes sunk into the banks.

This seven minute video demonstrates the skill required to maintain such a living boundary:

Donkeys largely eschew the grass they leave for the ponies that they perhaps regard as wimps whilst, occasionally pausing for a good scratch, they tear away at brambles and anything else prickly enough to test their mettle. These creatures were seen, as usual, at Hyde and Frogham. Could it be that the calloused craters between the nostrils of the young white one trimming the hedge at Frogham, have been caused by its chosen nutriment?

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. Service was very friendly and efficient; the food was as superb as ever. We shared special fried rice, egg paratha, and onion bahjis. My main choice was Davedush; Jackie’s was Noorjehani. We both drank Kingfisher.

A selection of three photographs have been made from those I submitted. The size chosen is A3+. Raj, manager, wasn’t there, and the others want to check once more with him before I go ahead and produce them.

 

 

 

 

The Kitchen Garden

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Here is another look  at our existing kitchen.

The section alongside the hobs is effectively the Culinary Queen’s current work surface. As shown in ‘Before The Makeover 1’ the oven, microwave, and fan occupy the other side of the small area at the back. The shelves to the right of the picture occupy a former fireplace. So encrusted with caked on grime were these hobs that, when we moved in, we did not know they were induction. Neither did we know how to use them, nor that we would need new saucepans.

This is how lunch is prepared on this surface.

When the hobs are in use, as for cooking tonight’s jalfrezi, life becomes somewhat more complicated, chopping room being rather limited.

For Your Eyes Only pruned

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning had been to prune some of the roses, like the prolific For Your Eyes Only.

This afternoon I took a walk among the flora. The winter flowering cherry, the bergenia, the pansies, the cyclamens, the iris, and the vincas have been in evidence for a while. The little yellow bidens have continued to self seed since they first occupied the garden last Spring. The camellias are covered in buds, their first blooms having appeared in recent days. Jackie is particularly excited about the prospect of the Daphne odorata’s scents bursting from their expanding cases. One solitary Winchester Cathedral bloom stands tall in the Rose Garden.

With the aforementioned chicken jalfrezi, Jackie served her special savoury rice and Tesco’s pakoras and onion bahjis. As can be seen, she drank Hoegaarden. I drank more of the Malbec.

Waste Not……..

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Although I didn’t have to grapple with the mortgage issue until late this afternoon, I’ll deal with it first to get it out of the way. The latest nonsense is that, after almost a month of procrastination and prevarication on behalf of the solicitors in the case, we learned two days ago that one of our documents must be signed in face to face contact with a solicitor acceptable to the lender. The firm that the building society originally approved is in Manchester. We were not prepared to travel up there for a ten minute encounter. Our independent adviser found one in Southampton who withdrew today on the grounds of sickness. Jackie and I will have to trail around tomorrow to find another prepared to witness our signatures.

Happily ignorant of this, we began the wet and rainy day taking the bags of garden refuse to the dump, then drove on to MacPenny’s garden centre in Bransgore, where I wandered around the garden while Jackie plundered the plant sales and waited for me in The Robin’s Nest cafe.

Plants for sale

Autumn has applied its rosy tints to many of the potted shrubs on offer.

Hosta

Being the only person daft enough to enter their garden on such a day, I had it to myself. This giant hosta gave me a gleaming greeting.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

Shrubbery 3

The dismal weather could not deter the shrubbery from doing its cheery best to brighten the day.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen,

Fuchsia

fuchsia,

Unidentified flower

and this flower I cannot identify, splashed colour around. Susan Rushton, in her comment below, has suggested this: ‘The mystery flower looks like hesperantha coccinea.’.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas were a little more muted.

Mossy root

Almost fluorescent green moss coated tree roots;

Chrysanthemums and stepsChrysanthemums and grass

small ferns punctuated log steps beside which asters, or Michaelmas daisies, clustered; splendid Pampas grass perched on a terraced bank.

Steps 1

Other logged steps were deep in shade;

Dog's headstone

where William was laid to rest.

Autumn leaves 3

A few trees were in the process of shedding their leaves; some clinging stubbornly on;

Autumn leaves 1Autumn leaves 2Autumn leaves 6Autumn leaves 4Autumn leaves 5

others decorated damp sward.

Autumn leaves on path 2Autumn leaves on path 1Autumn leaves on path 3

Winding paths are already being carpeted.

Hosepipe

A loosely coiled hosepipe lay dormant.

Eventually the rain increased and drove me inside where we enjoyed good quality brunches before returning home.

Regular readers will know that it is rare for us to leave the recycling centre ( the dump), without making a purchase from the sales area. Today, Jackie bought a child’s multi story car park for the use of grandchildren and great nephews.

Apples and bag of bulbs

Someone had tossed apples along with branches into the green refuse container. They were rescued and brought home with bags of bulbs from MacPenny’s. As the saying goes, ‘waste not, want not’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s exquisite beef and mushroom pie; tasty gravy; new potatoes; and crisp carrots and cabbage; followed, of course, by stewed apples and vanilla ice-cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

A Beautiful Memorial

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This morning Jackie drove us around the forest.

Housing development 1Housing development 2Housing development 3

A new residential development is being constructed almost opposite the Parish Church in Hordle Lane.

The builders are Considerate Constructors

and, as such post aMonthly site update

Cyclamen

On the way to Tiptoe, cyclamen emerge from the verge of Mead End Road;

Gates Cottage

Gates Cottage lies on a bend;

Couple in horse and trap

and we exchanged greetings with a couple riding in a trap.

Wobbly Cottage 1Wobbly Cottage

Wobbly Cottage, built on a hill,

Wobbly Cottage 2Boundary 1Boundary 2

enjoys splendid woodland opposite

Boundary 3

and alongside.

Landscape 1Landscape 3

 

Landscape 2

A little further along the road, Boundary car park offers splendid views of moorland

Horse led into landscape

to which this horse is being led.

Pony trekking

Cyclists were out in force, and outside Burley, pony trekkers adopted their two abreast defensive technique.

Pony crossing road

Wild ponies, knowing they have the right of way, don’t bother.

Please close these gates

Driving through Thorney Hill, Jackie spotted a rather beautiful little church. As we searched for a suitable parking spot, one of two gentlemen clearing a ditch in front of it beckoned to us and opened the gate

All Saints Church 1All Saints Church 2

leading to the Renaissance style building. We were to learn who was represented by the angles over the circular window and the bell tower.

Jackie outside All Saints ChurchGraveyard and landscape 1Gravestones 1Gravestones and pony

First, we wandered around the graveyard with its New Forest backdrop.

Inside we received a warm welcome by a couple greeting visitors. We had had the good fortune to discover the church on the day it was taking part in the Historic Churches open day. Normally, apart from regular Sunday services at 9.20 a.m. it is only open on Saturday afternoons from May to September between 2.00 and 4.00. The information that follows is gleaned from the leaflet ‘All Saints’ Church, Thorney Hill’.

The church was built for ‘Lord John and Lady Constance Manners. Lady Constance was born Hamlyn-Fane, a family with connections to the Earls of Westmorland.’ ‘The family also owned Clovelly Estate, and it was in All Saints’ Church Clovelly that she married John Masters, 3rd Lord Manners of Foston in 1885.’

‘John and Constance Manners had five children: Mary Christine, twins Betty and Agnes, John and Francis. During a visit to India Mary Christine contracted cholera and died. She was buried in Clovelly, but the family near [their home at] Avon Tyrell [house] and built All Saints’ Church in 1906.’

Shadows on pillar and steps

‘Detmar Blow, believed to be John Ruskin’s last protégé, was commissioned to design All Saints’ Church.’ ‘A sense of space is created by use of both square and round pillars, made from fine Caen stone.’

Church door 1Mary Christine Manners carvingMary Christine Manners carving and spider

‘On the two sets of wooden doors are carvings of a cherub face, believed to be that of Mary Christine. On our visit a small spider was engaged in spinning a shroud.

Inscription to Mary Christine Manners

‘A commemoration plaque to her is situated on the back left hand wall. It is carved by Eric Gill and listed by the Tate as among his finest work.

Inscription to and effigy of John Manners


John Manners effigy

‘Sadness again struck the family when their son John was killed in the first days of the First World War in the retreat from Mons. His body was never found. Constance Manners chose Bertram MacKennal, an Australian sculptor, to make the bronze effigy of John, now placed in the Church. He uses a soldier’s belongings to great effect in the sculpture. The inscription and distraught angels above are carved by Eric Gill.’

Mary Christine Manners photograph

A photograph of the young lady stands on the wall above her brother’s monument.

Altar and mural 1

‘The most striking feature in the church is the mural. It was painted in memory of Constance, who died in 1920, by Phoebe Traquair, an Irish lady by birth who lived in Scotland. It is one of only two of her murals in England; all the others are in Scotland. Phoebe was a leading member of the Arts and Crafts movement and worked in many media, including enamelling, jewellery and book-binding. She completed the mural in 1922 aged seventy. The theme is Te Deum – Praise the Lord. As in others of her murals Phoebe Traquair has used the faces of real persons, living and historical, when painting the characters…..quite a few have been identified with varying degree[s] of certainty’ These are available on consulting a key kept in the church.

Cupola above altar

‘The dome top is painted gold which reflects and gathers the light around a portrayal of Christ in Glory. At his feet are children from Thorney Hill School possibly taken from a photograph of 1922.’

Pulpit

A floral display behind the splendidly original pulpit is perfectly colour coordinated.

Wooden steps

I ascended the wooden spiral staircase

Derrick in Organ Loft 2Derrick in Organ Loft 4

to the organ loft

Mural and chandelier

in order to secure an aerial view of the sanctuary through a chandelier.

Window in Organ Loft

The circular window behind me focussed on the forest.

Door furniture

The need for the Thieves Beware notice on the front door is made clear in the leaflet. ‘In the last fifty years All Saints’ church has suffered several disastrous events. The lead on the roof was first stolen in 1966. The aluminium which replaced it was found to be perforated with pin sized holes resulting in damage by damp. With the help of English Heritage a lead roof was again fitted in 2005 only to be partly stolen in 2013. Fire has struck several times, fortunately there was time for anything removable to be taken outside. The storm in January 1990 brought down all the trees in front of the church, snapping some of them in half and leaving the church inaccessible for weeks.’

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb pork paprika, wild rice, green beans, and broccoli. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.

P.S. My friend Barrie Haynes posted this on Facebook: Barrie Haynes Thanks for that Derrick, truly one of the wonders of the New Forest. When I was a boy the children of Thorney Hill had a special class at school, as they were a rough lot and smelled! I’m not making this up. There was also a myth that the lady in question was in fact entombed there and because of an expert make over by the embalmer, looked just the same as the day she died. I had lots of friends in Bransgore, but we were warned that the church was haunted and we never went up there after dark! If she was brought back from India to Clovelly it would be very interesting to see the logistics of this operation, the cost must have been enormous but the Manners were never short of a few bob! Hope this is of interest to your readers.

 

A Little Bit O’ Bloomin’ Luck

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Today began dark, wet, and windy. Thinking we would be unable to do much more in the garden we transported the results of yesterday’s crab apple pruning to Efford Recycling Centre.

Plant pots

As is the Head Gardener’s wont, she bought two more fibreglass faux terra cotta plant pots from the sales area.

The sun did put in brief appearance this afternoon, so I was able to present a snapshot of the first official day of Spring.

Jackie has also started buying plants, like these violas,

Snakes head fritillaries

and these snake’s head fritillaries just plonked in an urn for the moment.

Kitchen bed 1

Both are visible in this shot of the kitchen bed.

Camellias 1

These camellias shed their confetti-like petals on the Dead End Path.

Garden view from Margery's Bed

Others are visible on either side of the decking in this view beyond Margery’s Bed;

Dragon Bed 1

more in the Palm Bed;

Head Gardener's Walk 1

and beside the Head Gardener’s walk which also displays cyclamens.

These two were buried in darkness when we arrived three years ago. Now they are able to flower,

Dragon Bed 1

being visible from across the Dragon Bed.

Head Gardener's Walk 2

Figures lining the walk include dragons and a cherub.

There are, of course, hellebores and daffodils everywhere;

Pulmonaria

and pulmonaria, such as these clambering over a brick boundary.

Mahonia

A small mahonia planted last year is thriving along the back drive,

Vinca and hellebores

where a periwinkle has been stencilled on our neighbours’ wall.

A little bit of luck is essential to a successful photoshoot. As I was focussing on the garden it was appropriate that mine today should be blooming.

Epimedium 1

I was unhappy with my first shot at the epimediums, so I went back out to make some more efforts.

Then came my first ‘little bit o’ bloomin’ luck’. A bee had decided it was now warm and dry enough to flit from bloom to bloom.

As I clicked away at this insect, I received a second stroke. More clicking above my head alerted me to the fact that a pair of long-tailed tits were using the weeping birch branches as trapezes.

This warranted a tribute to Stanley Holloway:

This evening we dined on our second helpings of yesterday’s Chinese takeaway with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Callia magna Malbec 2014.

Current State Of Play

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It is perhaps no bad thing that the sun went AWOL today. This is because we spent the morning on spring clearance, and in the afternoon there wasn’t much light shone on what still needs to be done. Nevertheless I wandered around to capture images of the current state of play.

Here we have the result of Aaron’s work on the back drive. In the second picture daffodils and vincas are thriving.

Garden view from Florence

Daffodils and camellias appear in most of the views, like this one that sculptured Florence looks upon,

and these from different sides of the Palm Bed.

Hellebores, such as these in the Kitchen Bed are also ubiquitous.

Head Gardener's Walk

The Head Gardener’s Walk adds cyclamens to the mix.

We’ll get around to the Cryptomeria

and Weeping Birch Beds soon.

Alongside Kitchen Bed

Jackie has spent some time clearing out the hanging baskets and pots

Alongside patio doors

and tidying the patio.

The previously scarcely-existent front garden has bedded in well, euphorbias standing sentinel,

and daffodils, primulas, and hellebores adding colour.

The Monday Pie of our childhoods followed the Sunday roast meal. This  was the left-over beef or lamb minced up in a Spong and turned into cottage or shepherd’s pie. Jackie has her own version. I know it isn’t Monday, but then her roast dinners are not confined to Sundays, and we enjoyed roast lamb yesterday. Her pie, on which we dined this evening, consists of the meat coated in gravy, wrapped in tin foil, and heated through very slowly in the oven. This renders it superbly succulent. The dish is topped with roast potatoes and mushrooms. Today it was served with sage and onion stuffing, carrots, cabbage, and green beans. With this, Jackie drank Hoegaarden. My choice was Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014.

Flaunting Longevity

This morning, before the afternoon wind got up and rain came down, Jackie and I weeded and removed more leaves from the rose garden, in readiness for the application of compost.

Snapdragon

We still have flowering snapdragons

Geranium

and geraniums,

Cyclamen

whilst winter cyclamens emerge from hibernation.

Rose pink

The pink rose stands sentinel on the Oval Bed,

Rose Margaret Merrill

and, showing signs of age, Margaret Merrill still blooms.

Honeysuckle and beech

The honeysuckle rising from the blue arch flaunts its longevity before the falling beech leaves.

This afternoon I inserted the last of the pictures into the garden album.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jafrezi and choice chicken tikka with mushroom and onion rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I quaffed Old Crafty Hen.