Lovey Dovey

Last night I watched a recording of yesterday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and Fiji, and this afternoon that between Argentina and USA.

This morning we took a short drive into the forest.

The leaves of deciduous trees viewed before Sway Tower from South Sway Lane are just trying on autumnal tinges, and some of the field horses now wear their warming rugs in preparation for the colder nights which they have so far been spared.

Known as Peterson’s Folly this iconic edifice is situated on Flexford Lane, on the opposite side of which Judge Peterson built a trial of the building in order to demonstrate the construction capacity of concrete.

The prototype now appears to be a boarded up dovecote

visited by the odd pigeon,

one of which attracted the attention of its white cousin cruising up for

companionable canoodling.

Maybe the dove admiring itself in the conservatory window reflection was considering entering the fray.

While I watched the match Jackie helped Nugget to plant some bulbs.

“Where’s Nugget?” (35).

He allowed her to plant this row of festuca glauca in honour of Mick O’Neill and Bluegrass Parkway. 

This evening we dined on old gold smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy bright orange carrots; and tender green runner beans with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Malbec.

Rockford End

This morning I made my final cut of the Everton Festival Photographic Competition with the subject of The New Forest.

I am grateful to all those of you who contributed to the debate about my submissions. The ‘Happy Thatchers’ was a clear favourite. Although they were very popular I have reluctantly excluded those of sunbeams through the trees. This is because, in reality, they could have been photographed anywhere. For the same reason, the deer with the crow on its nose had to go. People may be surprised at the rank outsider which made it to the finish. I had removed ‘A Vantage Point’, namely the photographers on the hill, on the same grounds, and ultimately persuaded myself to reinstate this image because, after all, they were photographers, and there was a lot of gorse in the foreground.

I have made A4 prints of ‘Happy Thatchers’; ‘Drinking In The Gorse’; and ‘The Watersplash’.

‘A Huddle’; ‘Hedge Trimming’; and ‘A Vantage Point’, required in digital form, have been despatched in an e-mail.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove me to Everton Post Office where I delivered the prints, and on into the forest.

I disembarked at Wilverley in order to photograph the landscape. Jackie made the first photograph, then focussed on me after I had crossed the road for a closer vantage point.

She even captured me aiming at the

Ryanair plane flying overhead.

From this very narrow, winding, unnamed lane at Rockford End, I could look down on

a horse in a field surrounded by his entourage of crows and geese;

and a bevy of doves pinpointing a thatched roof.

Back at home this evening we dined on fillet steak – mine perfectly medium/rare and Jackie’s well done; creamy mashed potato; succulent ratatouille; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I, sadly, finished the Garnacha Syrah.

The Spanish Invasion


Strong winds and heavy rain rampaged through the morning, keeping me occupied with administration and ironing, while Jackie did the shopping.

Just two of the administrative events are worthy of note. It is rather more complicated than I would have thought to close a French bank account which is in credit with no unpaid cheques outstanding. This has been exacerbated by what turned out to be a standard letter contradicting what I had been advised on the telephone. Phone calls and letters have been involved. I was advised to ignore the latest letter. I should be receiving a statement and a transfer of funds soon. We’ll see.

A further telephone call related to the setting up of a funeral plan. Well, you never know.

Soon after lunch the rain ceased and an assertive sun shouldered the dismal clouds aside, sending us off in search of bluebells.

Opposite the shadowy woodland of Shirley Holms

Doves on roof

Jackie spotted a pair of white doves on a farmhouse roof.

Bluebells and hellebores

In 1588 the Spanish Armada failed in their attempt to conquer England. A peaceful invasion is, however under way in the form of their national bluebells. These in our garden are bigger, stronger, and lighter in colour than

the English ones that still line the hedgerows and stock the woodlands of Boldre and other parts of the forest.

Muddy tracks have been left by the recent rain, but it is now warm enough for horses in fields to discard their rugs.

As we drove through East End the leader of a trio of three cows fixed our Modus with a stare and bellowed instructions to get out of the way.

An egret occupied the beach at Tanners Lane against the backdrop of rape fields on the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. Jackie enjoyed an excellent beef burger in sourdough bread with French fries and salad. My equally good meal was superbly cooked haddock, chips and peas. My heap of chunky chips with skins was extremely daunting and Jackie couldn’t finish her fries. She drank Amstell and I drank Malbec.

 

The White Doves Of St James’s

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Before we set off for Emsworth yesterday afternoon, we watered every plant container in the garden. This took some time. Just as we passed Brockenhurst on the way to Becky’s birthday celebration, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Returning home for it added 45 minutes to our journey.

Matthew

Assembled at the North Road flat were Matthew;

Jackie and Tess

Tess, seen here with Jackie;

Naomi

Becky’s friend, Naomi

Louis and Ian

and her son, Louis;

Ian

Ian;

Becky 2

Becky, seen here expressing surprised pleasure at our present of a Jutta Manser wood engraving;

Poppy 1

and, of course, Poppy, here taking one of Flo’s teddies for a walk in her grown-up cousin’s toy pushchair;

Poppy 2

trying on a Princess crown she had made herself,

Poppy and Tess 2Poppy 3Poppy and Tess

changing into a suitable outfit to match that of another teddy;

Poppy 4Poppy 6

rolling around the floor;

Poppy 5

and bouncing a balloon.

Poppy 7

Across the road at Nicolino’s restaurant our granddaughter polished off two bowls of olives before the starters arrived,

Toast featuring Poppy, Matthew, Ian, etc.Toast featuring Becky, Poppy, and Ian

then enthusiastically joined in the toast.

Matthew, Ian, and Louis

I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen.

Naomi, Becky, Tess, and PoppyBecky, Tess, and PoppyBecky and Tess 2Naomi, Becky, TessBecky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 1Becky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 2

Jackie, opposite me, photographed the ladies. Matthew was also engrossed in the story Becky was relating. Poppy, twisting her noodles, seemed a little concerned that her Grannie had grown a flashing object on her face.

Becky, Tess, Poppy

Eventually the menu was studied for a choice of desserts.

Becky, Tess, Poppy, IanBecky, Tess, Poppy 2Matthew, Ian, Louis

Tess’s sunglasses were passed around.

Becky 3

Here is Becky looking none the worse towards the end of the evening,

Poppy and Tess

and Poppy as lively as ever.

Derrick 19.8.17

This could hardly be said of me when Tess came over to photograph my rather daunting Eton Mess, before which I had consumed a fine minestrone soup with chunks of white bread, followed by an appetising fish risotto. Naomi and I shared the best part of a bottle of Bardolino. As you can see, I was past caring what anyone else had enjoyed.

We stayed the night at Becky and Ian’s and returned home soon after 8 a.m.

Rooftops 1Balustrade with sparrowRooftops 2

Before this I photographed some rooftops from the balcony. Visible in this third picture are

Doves and belfry 1Doves and belfry 2

the white doves that live in and around the belfry of St James’s church.

Doves flying round belfry 1Doves flying round belfry 2Doves flying round belfry 3

Periodically the birds would take off,

Doves in flight

wings glinting, fly over the houses,

Doves flying round belfry 4Doves flying round belfry 5

and return home to roost.

This evening we dined on flaky smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and carrots, with bright green spinach. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf du Paps 2015.

 

 

 

 

The Birds And The Bees

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I spent some time in the garden today observing avian activity.

Although some wood pigeons waited hopefully in the beech and in the weeping birch,

where one pair thought about it,

a loving pair petted each other in the as yet naked beech.

Fly on hellebore

Flies were attracted to the hellebores;

Flies on pottery doves

two of them joined a dove threesome on the decking.

Bees plundered the pulmonaria,

and another insect I cannot name sunk its lengthy proboscis into a daffodil.

A cheerful robin trilled encouragement high up in the birch.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. Before the meal we made a brief list to the quayside where

Motorboat and dinghy

a young man manoeuvred a motor boat and dinghy around

Yachts

the moored yachts, avoiding disturbing

Reflections of boats

reflections on the water.

Mallard and black headed gulls

Mallards mingled with black headed gulls,

both of which engaged in preening activities.

My choice of meal was Goan lamb with special fried rice. Jackie chose chicken biriani, and we shared onion bahjis. We both drank Kingfisher.

Today’s title was inspired by a recent comment from Mary Tang.

Responding To Comments

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Today’s photographic projects were prompted by responses to recent posts.

Pony Round-up 17

Yesterday’s offering included 35 photographs, and of those who favoured the very last one, Laurie Graves, herself an excellent blogger, suggested a large print. I made one of A3+ with a white margin.

Various comments focussed on potential views from the seats portrayed in ‘Seating Arrangements’, the day before. In contrast to the last two days, this one was very dull, but I thought I would oblige, on my perambulation around the garden.

View from aluminium dump bench

Here is the view to the left of the aluminium dump bench, and through the gazebo to the Palm Bed. The Florence statue appears on the right hand edge of the image;

View from Ace Reclaim bench

a are direct sight of her is gained from the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Florence at Fiveways

She has gathered a few more baskets around her. I cropped the close-up because a blue bucket and a hose reel would have been more than The Head Gardener could tolerate.

View from chairs in gravelled patio

From one of the chairs in the gravelled patio we look towards the Oval Bed

Rudbeckia

containing one our clumps of rudbeckia.

Phantom Path

A strategically placed chair faces east along the Phantom Path.

Decking

This time I have included the decking seating arrangement, on which the signs of impending autumn are beginning to fall. (That one is for my friends over the pond)

Dahlia

It is, of course, the time for dahlias;

Bees on ice plant

and for ice plants to attract working bees.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, parathas, and onion bahjis. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Heritage de Calvet Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014.

Bread And Cards

Grass

My contribution to garden maintenance this morning was to mow the patch of grass and to assist in the edge-trimming.

Doves and camellias

Later, Jackie continued with general planting and weeding. She chose not to disturb the trio of white doves nesting among glorious fallen camellia blooms.

Bread owl

Margery and Paul paid a visit, joined us for lunch, and produced payment for the cards sold at the exhibition. We also received an owl which reminded me of the first Margery Clarke Original we had been given. Margery is an excellent baker. The bird was a perfectly textured appropriately brown loaf, the feathers having been added by Paul.

Don’t we all, when cutting slices of an iced cake, avoid removing the decorations such as Santa on his sleigh? So it was when Jackie reached the beak. Sadly there was no way round it.

Our guests made the tour of the garden, being appreciative of the evolving developments. I was most impressed by Paul’s seemingly comprehensive knowledge of bird calls, especially of those we could not see.

This evening Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled onions, and pickled gherkins. We both drank Broadwood’s Folly English white wine.