Becky’s Biology Lesson

Despite the dreary drizzle-day and thanks to Martin’s weeks of clearance work in the beds there is now no corner of the garden not

brightened by snowdrops and more.

As usual clicking on any image will access the gallery, each item of which can be enlarged and bears a title; some also bearing bumble bees which yesterday had sped freely around the garden. Today, motionless, they cling to a number of plants from which they had sought sustenance then. When I mentioned this to Becky she explained that these insects, not having skeletons, contain fluid beneath their flesh which in cold weather coagulates causing a state of somnolence until liquifying once more on warming up.

Ian returned from Southbourne last night, in time to shop with Becky today for our dinner this this evening. They returned with 6 rib eye steaks; chips, and peas, which Becky cooked to perfection, according to individual choices; with M & S rice and bread and butter puddings to follow. I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône Villages

Equine Stand Off

This morning I upgraded the following two posts from Classic to Block edit, changing the category of the first to Garden:

On a breezy, largely overcast, afternoon with glimpses of peeking sun, I wandered around the garden with a camera, pulling up the occasional weed. Each image, including daffodils, tulips, wallflowers, primroses, cowslips, and fritillaries, bears a title in the gallery.

Late this afternoon we were able to collect the repaired Modus and celebrate with a short forest drive in light rain.

At the top of Holmsley Passage a bunch of ponies appeared to be settling down for the night.

One persistent mare had made it rather difficult for me to disembark as she persisted in trying to replace me in the passenger seat. She then stalked me closely, until I managed to escape,

when she turned her attention to scratching on the wing mirror,

and expressing her feelings about being photographed at this activity.

Still stubborn, she planted herself in front of our car until Jackie managed to get round her and drive off up the road, returning for me when the coast was clear.

This evening we all dined on a KFC Bargain Bucket, sweetcorn, coleslaw, and baked beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

Running Round The Haystack

After lunch Jackie and I took a drive out to Pilley and back.

We took the route where we knew there was a sheep field, hoping there might be lambs, and were rewarded by the usual inquisitive sheep bringing their offspring up to the wire beside my usual vantage point.

Around the corner into Burnt House Lane the creatures were far enough away for them not to be interested in me, the youngsters being far more engaged in chasing each other around the haystack and playing king of the castle; the dams getting on with the business of renewing their strength by cropping the grass.

While I was doing my best to photograph frolics, Jackie was studying a log with a peephole, and its accompanying daffodils.

Afterwards I watched BBC’s transmission of the Women’s Six Nations rugby match between England and Italy.

This evening we all dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Ready For Spring

In bright, warm, sunshine this morning Martin cleared more of last year’s dead garden material.

Here he works around the patio and Dead End Path;

The Pond Bed is now ready for new growth,

such as the tree peony in the Palm Bed, to emerge.

Daffodils, for example the tête-à-têtes, are really proliferating.

Summer and Autumn seasonal statues continue to gather lichen,

while Florence casts her shadow across the Shady Path.

Hellebores are beginning to hold up their heads; berberis, sometimes somewhat nibbled lingers on; and a hyacinth which began life in a gift pot returns year after year.

This afternoon, I facilitated enlargement and provided header pictures for the following posts:

Essentially what I am doing with these Classic Edits is converting them to Blocks.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon toting a large bag of very good clothes for Ellie which had once served Ella or Jack. She stayed for cups of tea and conversation including swapping recommendations of TV programmes.

Later the rest of us dined on flavoursome pork bangers and creamy mash with tender cabbage, crunchy carrots, fried onions, and meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

A Frantic Baaing

The day began in fairly bright sunshine and gradually deteriorated in afternoon rain which didn’t bother me because I was watching the BBC transmission of the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and Ireland.

Before then Jackie and I took a forest drive.

Suggesting that they may have heard the weather forecast, most ponies appeared to be staying safely hidden until we arrived at

Charles’s Lane and its accompanying woodland, where, accompanied by sweet birdsong sometimes competing with the clanking roar of cars crossing a cattle grid; the graunching of gear changes when suddenly encountering animals on the road; the whirring of bicycle wheels; the thudding of hooves on the turf or their clanking on the tarmac, a small group foraged until, as we left the vicinity, they decided to meander off ahead of us.

When Jackie parked the Modus against the entrance to a farm field so that I could photograph

daffodils on the verge of Beckley Common Road

the air was rent by a frantic baaing as a flock of sheep dashed from the far side of their pasture towards the restraining wire, no doubt in the disappointed expectation of feeding time.

After the match, I recovered the pictures and provided headers for the following posts featuring our arrival at Old Post House in April 2014:

It has been long on my mind to add a category entitled Garden. This will involve renaming some Uncategorised posts, this being the first.

The garden is mentioned in this one, yet it is far more about the practicalities of the move, so its category remains unchanged.

Although the header picture is from the garden, the main thrust of the post is the same as the one above, so there is no change of category.

This evening we all dined on oven fish and chips, onion rings, garden peas, pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie and I both drank Poggio Civitelle Orvieto 2021.

More Attractive Than Triffids

Bright sunshine casting shadows beneath a clear blue sky shortly before midday when I took a chilly walk around the garden belied the temperatures skirting freezing which, during a current further cold spell below 0 centigrade sending rivulets of condensation from our bedtime breath dripping down walls and misting tightly closed windows until we were able to fling them open and dash shivering downstairs to our electric portable radiators timed to ignite at their lowest heat level an hour before Jackie but perhaps a couple after I expected to emerge.

Snowdrops and hellebores share the limelight with, at a higher level, a

variety of camellias;

daffodils are following up fast;

fern filigrees and honesty seed bud traceries are picked out by the clear light, as are

new shoots from our recently pruned roses.

When we first arrived here the garden of the then abandoned next door house, North Breeze, rampaged through our land, as demonstrated by

Now we have the benefit of attractive, sweet scented, acacia,

currently in bloom, hanging over the Back Drive fence.

This afternoon I watched the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and France – probably the most impressive contest I have ever seen.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced her omelette-topped egg fried rice on which to bed hot and spicy, and tempura prawn preparations, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Garden Walk

This warm and sunny afternoon I took a walk around the garden with my camera.

Two days ago Martin had returned to work in the garden after a three week Covid isolation period following a positive test. He began work on the west side of the Back Drive, then

cut the long overdue grass.

I also photographed the still blooming winter flowering cherry; a golden euphorbia; glowing hellebores and daffodils; an upright hyacinth and muscari; two of our many camellias; clumps of tulips and primroses, and

the Brick and Gazebo Paths.

This evening, after snacking on pasties, Becky, Ian, and I will set off to Christchurch’s Regent Theatre to watch https://www.themanfreds.com

Should anyone wish to follow this link, my old friend Tom is in the centre of the header picture.

I will report on the event tomorrow.

Blooming Today

On another bright, cold, morning I nipped upstairs to photograph from above

Florence continuing her general clearing of the garden beds.

After lunch I focussed on a few flowers, including Amanogawa cherry; varieties of cyclamen, of daffodils, of camellias, of tulips; smiling pansies; a sunlit hellebore; a hanging fritillary; and a sweetly scented Daphne Odorata Marginata.

A number of seemingly drowsy bumble bees seem to need a rest on leaves between blooms.

Ian had returned home last night because he had work to do today, so he was unable to join us for this evening’s dinner which consisted of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and meaty gravy, with which The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Mavrodaphni of Patra Kourtaki, and I drank Bold Vine Zinfandel 2019.

Definitely Spring

On this warm and sunny day Jackie unwrapped the wooden patio chairs and

we set them in place;

Flo continued her work in the garden, clearing twigs and leaves of cordyline

Australis and setting about burning them;

I wandered around with a camera.

Jackie and I took a forest drive after lunch while the others dealt with banking.

I photographed wild woodland daffodils along the banks of the rippling, reflecting Lin Brook, where bent a broken tree trunk.

We continued along Highwood Road, with shadows

falling across last autumn’s fallen leaves and the trunks of trees.

A field horse churned up a mud bath and splashed around in it before joining

its companions in a run,

while others grazed in a field opposite.

A drift of daffodils enhanced a neighbouring piece of land.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp, with which she, Becky, and Ian drank Portuguese Rosé, while I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

Avian Antipodeans

Ian joined us after lunch when Jackie and I bought provisions from Ferndene Farm Shop, where I

photographed their displays of bedding plants and cut flowers.

We then took a drive into the forest where daffodils enhance many verges.

Jackie caught me in her wing mirror returning from photographing a bank of them off Ringwood Road.

She also photographed a pheasant inspecting a log, while I focussed upon a group of fidgety rheas.

Flo has spent some time during the last two days raking up branches felled by recent storms and

piling them up at the end of the back drive.

This evening we dined on Becky’s succulent roast chicken; technicolour carrots; firm broccoli and tasty gravy; with Jackie’s crisp roast potatoes. Mrs Knight and Mr Steele both drank Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020; Becky and I both drank La Orphic Monastrell 2020.