It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

A Variation On “Where’s Nugget?”

While I was drafting yesterday’s post Jackie nipped into the garden for a matter of minutes to take photographic advantage of

the last rays of the setting sun. From this end of the Back Drive (take note of the larch beyond the compost bins on the right) she focussed on

the Virginia creeper and accompanying Japanese anemones.

She also caught a pink rose with which I hadn’t been successful earlier on.

 

The golden light in the background picked up the the tips of the cypress tree;

the weeping birch,

Japanese maples,

and more.

Today, while the Head Gardener continued with her bed clearance, taking occasional trips to make sure she was safe, Nugget kept the enemy from the gate.

He perched on a tree midway,

puffed himself up,

had a good shake,

and a preen;

until he decided he looked hard enough to take on

his rival who was switching between the hawthorn and the larch on the Back Drive.

So, for a little variety “Where’s Nugget’s Rival?”

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured liver and bacon casserole; crisp Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, and butternut squash; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts and green beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.

 

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

A Touch Of Havoc

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Regular readers will remember the British Gas saga which began on 1st August last year. Having opted for quarterly bills I should have received one by now. This morning I girded my loins in preparation for a call to find out why I had not. An hour later I was promised a new account with documentation dating from last August.

I had politely asked why I was not receiving bills. This was because there was no electricity being supplied to our address. I assured the representative that I was not sitting in the dark. She looked into the problem a little more and found that the contract had been cancelled two days after it was set up. She didn’t know why. She looked into it again. Each time she looked into it, I listened to music regularly interrupted by a voice asking me why I didn’t join the millions of other customers who managed their accounts on line, and notifying me of the various “smart” and “clever” facilities the company offered.

Finally I was transferred to another person who also looked into it. More recorded messages ensued while she did so. She informed me that the reason the contract had been cancelled was because someone had entered the wrong code. I had to go through all the setting up questions again, and eventually my informant undertook to send me a new contract from the correct date.

Given that my contract had been cancelled, yet we were still receiving electricity, I offered the suggestion that poor Dr. Greenwood, our predecessor at this address, may perhaps still be paying for the supply. I guess I can do no more about that.

After this I ventured into the garden to inspect the ravages of the 70 m.p.h. winds we had experienced throughout the night. Quite a few slender deciduous branches had been ripped from their sockets, and

our evergreen cypress had suffered a certain amount of breakage.

Later in the morning the winds summoned renewed vigour and wreaked havoc with the planting barrier at the end of the back drive.

Becky, Ian, and Flo returned home to Emsworth this afternoon.

This evening, Jackie and I dined on her exquisite chicken curry and parathas.

 

 

 

 

Dicing With Death

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What does Aaron have in common with a bee? You might be forgiven for imagining that it is that they both have very high work rates. That would be a good answer, but incorrect.

Aaron lopping cypress 1Aaron lopping cypress 2Aaron lopping cypress 3Aaron lopping cypress 3Watching our friend, unlit ciggy between lips, firing one-handed from the hip with his petrol-operated chain saw as he tackles the reshaping of our cypress tree, may provide a clue,

Aaron lopping cypress 5Aaron lopping cypress 6

especially when you see the height of his tripodal ladder.

Aaron tidying upAaron tidying up 2

Aaron always clears up along the way. Today he dragged branches to the Back Drive where he cut up a few logs for his client, Susan, leaving the rest for the ‘burn site’ of the dump.

Lopped branch on cypress

This branch demonstrates his clean cuts,

View from patio showing Aaron's completed work on cypress

while this view from the patio displays the finished shape.

Persicaria Red Dragon

The persicaria red dragon baring its bloody fangs in the Dragon Bed,

Crocosmia solfaterre

and the crocosmia solfaterre are among the plants that will now receive more light and air.

Fly on Winchester Cathedral 1Fly on Winchester Cathedral 2

In the Rose Garden, an intrepid fly scales the walls of Winchester Cathedral,

Geraniums and Summer Wine

and geraniums in the stone urn beside the potting shed enjoy a glimpse of Summer Wine.

Japanese anemones

 Japanese anemones appear to grow a foot each day.

Bee and spider's web 1Bee and spider's web 2Bee and spider's web 3

The bee skirting a hopeful spider’s web, in order to work on a verbena bonarensis, provides the answer to my opening  conundrum. Each in his own way is successfully dicing with death.

Later this afternoon we pulled up some brambles. As I walked along the Back Drive to deposit them in a bag for the dump, I almost stepped on twin juvenile collared doves sunning themselves on the gravel. Naturally I hurried indoors for my camera. When I returned they seemed to have disappeared. They were, however, simply playing hide and seek, foraging among the pebbles.

Collared doves juvenile 1Collared dove juvenile 2Collared doves juvenile 3Collared doves juvenile 4

Not yet old enough for timidity, almost in tandem, they carried on about their business and left me to mine.

Sweet pea

Here is a sweet pea for Bruce.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

 

 

Gnawing An Apple

This morning, I did a bit more lateral thinking about my computer problem. I did not really know whether my connection problem was a fault of WordPress or Apple. How could I be sure about this?

Well, with a stroke of genius, I determined that if I e-mailed a picture from the Mac to my Microsoft laptop I could attempt to load it from there. I did. It worked like a dream.

Aaron pruning cypress 2

Here is the result. It is Aaron up a ladder.

Somewhat strengthened by this I telephoned the Apple helpline. I really cannot bear to give a blow by blow account of the next four hours I spent on the telephone, resulting in my having to reload Sierra. This process occupied a further three hours after which I successfully uploaded one image, but it took ages.

That’s it. Enough gnawing for today.

There was only one thing to do. That was to return to The White Hart that we had discovered yesterday, for a meal. We did just that. I enjoyed such a plentiful steak meal that I couldn’t consider a dessert. I only regretted that I had not brought my camera with me. I had just about enough of dealing with pictures today, and I still have a lot to upload for yesterday’s post. Jackie’s choice was New Forest chicken followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. She drank Becks and I drank Otter.

No Resolution

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Aaron pruning cypress 2

This morning Aaron began taking dead branches out of the cypress tree. As can be seen, there is still much colour in the garden. I photographed him and made him an A4 print which I cannot upload, receiving the same message as yesterday. I tried several times and have come to the conclusion that the problem is a direct result of the loading of the new Sierra Mac operating system on Friday. I cannot phone Apple because the help line is not operating at the weekend.

My granddaughter, Emily has asked me for some of her baby pictures for a project at her workplace. I sent her a link to an earlier post, ‘Emily Goes Wandering’ which she had already seen, and is pleased with.

Sam and Emily 12.93

I then e-mailed several scans of earlier prints. First Sam holding his niece;

Louisa and Emily 12.93

then Louisa cradlng her;

Derrick and Emily 12.93

and finally me.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to the beach at the end of Tanners Lane. On a mild, sunny, day a number of families were enjoying wandering among the donkeys, or searching for crabs in the rock pools. Sunlight glinted on the water and provided the clouds with highlights.

The Spinnaker

Jackie played with sea shells as she sat on a wooden breakwater within reach of Portsmouth’s spinnaker.

Boats and buoys bobbed.

Child on swing

Just as I was about to photograph the shadows cast by a tyre swing suspended from a stunted, gnarled, tree, the facility became occupied by a young girl. I found her mother and asked if I could photograph the current scene. Once the mother had recovered from her initial thought that I might have wanted the child removed, she was more than happy to grant her permission.

A young man from East Boldre told me that, on just one day in the year, it is possible, at low tide, to walk across to a Spitfire normally under water. He had done it when he was twelve, ten years ago. That looks like a subject for tidal research.

Pheasant

Roast potatos and Yorkshire puddingAfter passing a pheasant-filled field on our way home we stopped for a drink at the The White Hart in Pennington. We received a very friendly welcome. It is not unusual in English pubs to have free nuts or crisps available on the bar counter. Here we were given roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding with mint sauce.

Knife grinder.jpg

The walls were decorated with photographs of the area in bygone days. One of a knife grinder from 1900 reminded us that our streets had been visited by one during our childhood: mine in Stanton Road, Raynes Park, South West London in the 1940s; Jackie’s in Penge, South East London in the 1950s.

The sky, on our departure from the pub, was so enticing that we nipped over to Lymington to have a look at the sunset.

Anyone who feels deprived of photographs is advised to follow the link above. Otherwise, we must pray that the Apple help line can get to the core of my problem tomorrow, and I can insert the photos I took today. (It was not until 25th that I managed to complete this task)

This evening, we dined on superb chilli con carne and savoury rice. I drank more of the Madiran.