Preparing For Ophelia

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(Gwen and Yvonne, divert your eyes when it comes to the culinary coda)

Compared with what has been inflicted on Wales and Ireland by the albeit waning hurricane Ophelia, we have got off lightly.

Chairs lain down

This morning we made our usual preparations for protection from strong winds, notably laying down chairs, pedestals,

Pelargoniums and marigolds

and hanging baskets.

Towards midday a fleeting glimpse of a bright red version of yesterday’s solar discs was seen peering from behind the billowing smoke

Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 6Clouds 7Clouds 8Clouds 9

 that was dark slate-coloured clouds. By the time I had gathered up the camera the sun had disappeared. The temperature was so unseasonably warm as to give the impression that there was, indeed, a fire somewhere.

Birds flying against clouds

I suspect that the birds thought they must be having a sleepless night;

Clouds and weeping birch

but the weeping birch still hung unmolested.

By early afternoon the sky had lightened and the sun played upon the garden.

Pansies

These pansies still brightened

Patio planting

the pots outside the kitchen door.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsias etc

Fuchsias are among the flowers still blooming beside the greenhouse.

Pelargoniums 1Pelargoniums 2Pelargoniums 4

Various pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums 3

including this sweetly scented one;

Begonias

and begonias still defy the coming of the first frost.

Petunias

Delicate striped petunias thrive in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Dahlias

and white dahlias in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose Just Joey 2

Among the rejuvenated roses are Just Joey,

Rose Aloha

Aloha,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia,

Rose Peach Abundance

and, photographed later, when the wind was getting up and making this spray elusive to the lens, Pink Abundance.

Weeping birch in wind 1

The weeping birch was now waving about,

Cordyline Australis

as was the Cordyline Australis.

Weeping birch 2

I wondered how many of these leaves would be in place in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine liver and bacon, new potatoes, cabbage and mange touts, with which I drank Chateau Bonhomme minervois 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking Out The Venue

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Canna lily

Late this morning sunlight burst onto the canna lily given to us by Helen Keenan.

Bee on dahlia

The garden beyond was alive with the buzzing of bees

Small White butterfly on hanging basket

and fluttering butterflies like this Small White three quarters of the way up the lines of a hanging basket

Comma butterfly 1Comma butterfly 2

or this Comma hiding in the shadows.

Dahlia 1

The dahlia in the first picture is one of those

Patio plants

supported by the white pedestal in the patio.

Dappled stable door

Dappled starlight seemed to brighten the Stable Door.

Marguerites, petunias, bidens

Marguerites, petunias, and bidens continue to bloom on the edge of the Dragon Bed;

Petunias

deep violet petunias spill from the Iron Urn;

Geraniums and petunias

while pale pink striped ones accompany similar hued geraniums on the

Cryptomeria Bed

Cryptomeria Bed also sporting Hot Lips salvias.

Dahlia 2

More dahlias continue to bloom alongside the Dead End Path,

New Bed

and in the New Bed.

Ginger lily

A Canna lily lifts its flaming torch over the Palm Bed;

Rose Garden

Blue Ming Marvellous campanula once more lives up to its punning name in the Rose Garden;

Rudbeckia, New Zealand flax, grass

New Zealand flax, rudbeckia, and the remains of a crocosmia Lucifer still provide a sinuous sweep in the Palm Bed;

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

and clematis Comtesse de Bouchard flounces once more over the gazebo.

Sedum and fuchsia

Sedum, fuchsias

Herbaceous Border 1Herbaceous Border 2

and asters parade along the herbaceous border.

Weeping Birch

An orange begonia hangs before the Weeping Birch, the leaves of which appear to confirm that summer really is thinking about departing.

This afternoon we drove out to the other Downton, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, in order to checkout the route to the venues for Rachel and Gareth’s wedding on Saturday. The service is to be held at Timberley Lane, Redlynch, which was our first stop. From there we travelled to Barford Park Farm, where the reception is booked.

Cattle

Cattle grazed in the field

Cattle, Barford Park Farm entrance

on one side of the entrance drive.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

The fields on the opposite side of Barford Lane basked in the warm sunshine. What a shame that the forecast for this area on the wedding day is continual rain.

Driving through:

Lover sign

Telephone Box Book Box

on our way home, we noticed that the village public telephone box has now been converted to a book exchange.

Books 1Books 2

Naturally we rummaged for romantic novels.

Jackie's choice of book

Jackie all but made off with her favourite find.

Ponies

The cricket season has ended, but ponies still carry out groundsmen’s duties on the outfield at Nomansland.

The Green Dragon 1The Green Dragon 2The Green Dragon pub sign

We stopped for a drink at The Green Dragon, Brook, then continued on home.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, crunchy carrots, new potatoes, and runner beans. I drank more of the malbec.

My New Haircut

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Today the temperature was unseasonably warm, and the skies overcast. Although we have a great number of flowers still blooming beyond their normal time, I chose this morning figuratively to pick

Dahlia 1Dahlia 2Dahlias 1Dahlias 2Dahlias 6Dahlias 4Dahlias 2Dahlias 3Dahlias 5

a bunch of dahlias from the garden.

Spider and leaf

On my way round my attention was drawn to a fallen leaf, twisting frantically in an attempt to free itself from the spider’s web from which it was suspended. This brought the arachnid scampering down its central line, only to be disappointed in what it had trapped.

Bench in West Bed

I have recently featured developments in the West Bed, cleared of shrubs and an old rose by Aaron, and having two new roses set to climb the arch by Jackie. There is now a new bench ready for positioning on reconstituted stone paving.

Elizabeth came for lunch and dinner. This afternoon we all travelled to Friar’s Cliff Beach and visited the Beach Hut Café for refreshments.

Yacht and couple on beach

A heavy haze restricted rendered the Isle of Wight invisible beyond a passing yacht.

Couple and dog on beach

From Steamer Point nature reserve I watched the couple seen in the above picture  continuing along the beach in the direction of Mudeford.

Man and dog on beach 1Man and dog on beach 2

Other dogs were frolicking on the beach;

Retriever on beach 1Couple and retriever on beachMan and retriever on beach 1Man and retriever on beach 2

one retriever in particular swimming like a seal,

Woman filming man and retrieverWoman filming man and retriever 2

its antics being filmed from the breakwater.

Red seaweed and group of peopleRed seaweed on beach 1Red seaweed en masse

Red seaweed on beach Friar's Cliff Beach

Even as far away as the clifftop car park we could smell the red seaweed that coated the sand

Gull and red seaweed 1

where a solitary gull wandered.

Gulls

This bird was joined by another and quickly took off,

Gull flying

flying out to sea,

Gull on beach

leaving the visitor all forlorn.

Seawater

Bubbling eddies swirled around

Rocks and seaweedFriar's Cliff BeachFriar's Cliff Beach

the rocks swathed in green and red weed.

Seaweed tinged wavesSeaweed on beach and tinging waves

As the waves rolled in they were tinged with red.

Gull leaping waves

The gull bobbing on the wave above leapt to avoid the next one,

Wader flying

and a wader flew off as I approached in an attempt to identify it.

Elizabeth photographing

I photographed my sister focussing on the water,

Derrick Photographing

and she got her own back.

Derrick photographing 2Derrick photographing 3Derrick photographing 4Derrick photographing 5

This served a dual purpose in that we could satisfy the request of LordBeariofBow to feature my new haircut so that he could pass judgement on it.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb sausages in red wine, creamy mashed potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

Aaron Knows The Score

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We have experienced an intermittently leaky kitchen extension roof since we arrived here. The amount of infiltration has depended upon the wind direction rather than the quantity of precipitation. One person has already allegedly repaired it – not very effectively.

Sid mending roof 1Sid mending roof 2

Sid, a very personable extra pair of hands, has joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today he mixed up cement and mended the roof properly.

Aaron removing stump 1Aaron with chainsaw

Aaron pruned a straggly climbing rose, and cleared more of the West Bed including stripping dead and intrusive growth from another palm, and sawing off an exposed tree stump we hadn’t known was there. When I told him that Sid had spotted a cracked tile and asked if we had any more, and I had replied that we had, but I would need to ask Jackie where they were, Aaron gave her yet another title. “The Maintenance Department”, said our friend, who knows the score.

Just to show willing, I assisted The Head Gardener in her general maintenance tasks this afternoon by occupying myself dead-heading.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

This is, of course, the season for showy dahlias

Chrysanthemums

bright, bushy, chrysanthemums,

Nasturtiums

and snaking nasturtiums;

Honeysuckle

but I am surprised to see honeysuckle rising again in both back and front gardens.

Geraniums

Geraniums

Begonia 1Begonia 2

and begonias cling on to life;

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

and fuchsias like Mrs Popple dangle away.

Rudbeckia

We have some multicoloured Rudbeckia;

Salvia Hot Lips

the aptly named salvia Hot Lips;

Cosmos

and long-lived cosmoses.

Rose For Your Eyes Only

The apparently everlasting For Your Eyes Only keeps company in the Rose Garden with

Rose Just Joey

fresh flushes of Love Knot,

Rose Laura Ford

Laura Ford,

Rose Mamma Mia

and Mamma Mia.

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis

The Small White butterflies are still enjoying the verbena bonarensis,

Bee on clematis

and bees still gather pollen provided by such as this clematis.

Turfcutter's Arms (Jackie)

This evening we returned to the Turfcutter’s Arms

Roast belly of pork meals

for a roast pork dinner. Jackie drank Peroni and enjoyed a chocolate sponge dessert with ice cream; my choices were Ringwood’s Best and fruit crumble with custard.

 

 

“Just Like Daddy’s”

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This morning I became a veritable barber in a dead-heading spree.

Front garden from my window

I began with the prolific Japanese anemones in the front garden.

Japanese anemones 1

As I look out of my sitting room window each morning, I think of that excellent blogging poet Pleasant Street, who commented recently that she preferred to see older blooms alongside the fresh ones, “like life”. Although our reason for dead-heading is not vicariously to deny the effects of ageing, but rather to promote new growth, Pleasant certainly has a point. In deference to that I have left the blooms immediately in view to nature.

I also gathered up some of the branches broken by the winds. As the day continued the winds gradually returned to approach the 60 m.p.h. expected this evening.

Palm Bed

Remarkably little damage has so far been incurred. Here are the Palm Bed;

View from circular brickworkKitchen Bed corner

the corners at the house end of the Brick Path;

Gazebo Path

the Gazebo Path;

Elizabeth's Bed

Elizabeth’s Bed;

Solanum and clematis

the solanum and clematis draped on the dead tree;

Dahlias 1

perked-up dahlias;

Petunias and begonias

petunias and begonias in large pots;

Chrysanthemums

chrysanthemums;

Rose Gloriana

and rose Gloriana.

Small white butterfly on verbena bonarensis 2

The Small White butterflies flitted around everywhere.

Molly's Den display 1Molly's Den display 3Molly's Den display 4Molly's Den display 5Party dresses

This afternoon Elizabeth visited and we took a trip to Molly’s Den, where I photographed a few random displays.

Molly's Den display 2

Not quite so random was this scene, taking me back to one Christmas in the 1980s.

Ironing board

Louisa would have been about six or seven when Jessica and I bought her an ironing board. “Just like Daddy’s”, was her delighted cry.

This evening, before Elizabeth returned home, we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika and wild rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank more of the Fleurie.

One That Didn’t Get Away

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In anticipation of the expected 45 m.p.h. winds we were out early this morning battening down the hatches.

Chairs and plinth grounded

Chairs

Hanging basket on ground 1Hanging basket on ground 2Hanging basket on ground by eucalyptusHanging baskets on ground 1

and hanging baskets were grounded;

Phantom Path

trugs, like this blue one on the chair at the west end of the Phantom Path were upended;

Gladiolus

I lifted this flowering gladiolus’s broken stem and wedged it between another and the bamboo support. It was rather ragged but deserved a lift.

Small white butterfly on Japanese anemone

This Small White butterfly hadn’t heard the weather forecast.

Dahlias Coup de soleilDahlias, poppy etc

Iron urn

Dahlias, of course, are in season;

Verbena bonarensis

verbena bonarensis goes on for ever;

Salvia

salvias and snapdragons still thrive,

Begonias etc

as do some begonias.

Rosa glauca hips

Hips, like those of Rosa Glauca, glow, glistening.

kniphofia 1

Kniphofias are having a second flush,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2Rose Crown Princess Margareta

as are roses, including Crown Princess Margareta, although most are showing signs of age.

Kitchen BedElizabeth's BedSouth end of gardenGazebo Path 2Gazebo Path 1Cryptomeria Bed

Most of the beds are still vibrant.

Ferns

We have many ferns. A Japanese Painted Lady sits in the centre of these.

Jackie planting bulbs 1Jackie planting bulbs 2

Jackie spent some time planting bulbs,

Jackie digging up bramble 1

and dived into the Kitchen Bed

Jackie with bramble

to emerge like a triumphant angler with a lengthy bramble.

Sid has now joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today they switched to the afternoon. By then the wind had really got up and the rain began to fall, leaving its mark on Jackie’s lens when she took some of ,these photographs. In less than two hours

Sid mowing lawn

Sid mowed the grass;

Aaron pruning eucalyptus 1Aaron pruning eucalyptus 2

 Aaron transformed the eucalyptus, seen here blowing in the wind,

Aaron and Sid checking eucalyptus pruningEucalyptus

to this;

Cordyline Australis

the pair removed an extraneous buddleia, thus revealing the trunk of a Cordyline Australis which they stripped of dead lower foliage;

Cypress clippings

smoothed out the gravel on the back drive, and took away all their cuttings and the contents of one of our orange bags.

Weeping birch 2Weeping birch 1

The boughs of the trees, for example the weeping birch, were whipped by the wind, and, by the time the maintenance crew had left, the rain was hammering down.

Shelly and Ron visited this afternoon. Ron investigated our drainage system; I printed the pictures from Ron’s party for them; and Shelly brought some of her own freshly picked runner beans which Jackie and I ate for dinner, along with chicken marinaded in Nando’s tasty mango and lime sauce, mashed potato, and carrot and swede mash. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

 

 

 

The Angel And Blue Pig Inn

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North Breeze garden work

Work starts early in the morning in the razed North Breeze garden. In preparation for the rear extension, soil has been dug out from the area behind the house. Presumably the digger is levelling off the heap. The fire is now concentrating on rubbish from indoors. We have a view across the pub car park to the fields beyond that the jungle has previously hidden from sight.

Garden view from Safari Suite

This is our garden from the same viewpoint. The blurred effects are from sunspots, not smoke.

Pedestal with dahlias

Mark, who has bought the house, has given Jackie this pedestal from the lounge. He thought she might be able to put something nice on it. He wasn’t far wrong.

Having taken two more orange bags of garden refuse to the dump we drove on to Lymington to the Register Office seeking an appointment for a marriage. This, the website informed us, was situated at

Lymington Library

Lymington Library.

What the website did not inform us was that appointments could only be made on line or on the telephone. There was nothing outside the library to confirm the location, but we found this at the back of the building. A very helpful librarian peered through the registrar’s office window and encouraged us to wait outside the room and nab her when she had finished with the people she was interviewing. This didn’t seem a particularly hopeful possibility, so we sat outside the small chamber and when I had managed to obtain a signal, I made a call to the general office.  Naturally all the staff were busy and I had to listen to repeated messages telling me I could do this on line. Eventually another very cooperative young lady took me through what we had to do to progress to the next stage, which would probably take two months. Then we would be given an appointment time. I’m sure the whole business was much more straightforward in 1968 when we enjoyed our first wedding.

Did I mention that Jackie’s ancient laptop died this morning? I thought not. This meant that our next visit was to Peacock Computers where Max, the sales person, was not available until 2.00 p.m. This left an hour and a half to kill.

We wandered down the High Street,

Ice creams, keys, mobile phone

passing visitors clutching car keys, ice creams, and mobile phones;

Family crossing road 1Family crossing road 2

and watching groups with pushchairs eagerly awaiting their chance to cross the busy road that mostly became clear when vehicles held each other up.

Our goal was

The Angel and Blue Pig 3The Angel and Blue Pig 4

The Angel & Blue Pig Inn, where we enjoyed excellent lunches.

The i New Forest website informs us that ‘Since the 13th century the Angel Inn has welcomed weary travellers. It is notorious with tales of smuggling and in the 18th Century Lymington like much of the south coast was rife with the ‘Free Trade’. There was a tunnel running under Lymington High Street to a smaller inn opposite and from there it proceed down the hill to the water. Smugglers could then haul their brandy, silk and spices without catching the eye of the customs men.

The Angel also has a spooky reputation. Allegedly one of the most haunted hotels in Britain. Up to 6 ghosts including a coach driver, naval officer and a phantom blonde have been seen on the premises.’

The building was refurbished in 2013.

Woman with dog on lap

We ate outside, where we attempted to converse with the archetypal lapdog which took vociferous exception to me when it turned around.

Pigs in metal

A pair of iron pigs kept us company

Cherubs

while a couple of cherubs, one coy, and the other sleeping, watched over us. At least, they would have done had they opened their eyes. Whoever modelled the sleeper certainly knows how baby boys are wont to crouch in their slumbers.

Pig dangling

Another pig was suspended from a makeshift gibbet.

The Angel and Blue PigThe Angel and Blue Pig 2

Most customers preferred the small garden area, but a few found the dimmer inside more comfortable.

My main meal consisted of wonderfully fresh fish and triple cooked chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce; Jackie chose salmon and haddock fish cakes and salad. We both enjoyed treacle tart with orange-flecked ice cream for dessert. I drank Ringwood bitter while Jackie drank Amstel.

That takes care of my customary culinary coda, so I will sign off after reporting that a satisfactory meeting with Max resulted in our ordering a new laptop for Jackie.