A Little Autumn Colour

For the last couple of days marauding rooks have raided Nugget’s robin feeder, ripped it off the Japanese maple, and robbed him of his food.

Jackie has baffled the thieves with a pair of hanging basket frames.

In contrast to yesterday’s dismal weather, today was clear, bright, and cold, taking every opportunity to display a little autumn colour.

Here is Margery’s Bed seen from the Cryptomeria Bed,

and sculpture Florence’s view of the house.

Weeping Birch leaves still linger

and the white solanum goes on forever.

 

Some Japanese maples have retained their leaves,

others have carpeted the lawn and paths with them.

The last scene above can be seen from the Fiveways end of the Phantom Path.

Jackie focussed on the grasses in the Palm Bed named for

the Cordeline Australis which is in fact evergreen.

Mrs Popple is one of the hardier fuchsias,

another of which, Delta’s Sarah, still attracts no doubt confused bees.

A number of pelargoniums still look down from hanging baskets, like this overlooking the Dragon bed in which

Ivy twines herself around one of the eponymous mythological figures.

Jackie spent much of the morning trying not to tread on Nugget while they were cobbling together a winter cold frame.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44a and 44b)

Wherever she moved to another location he was there first. Fortunately she took her camera.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44c and 44d)

Jackie also focussed on a sparrow with,

a pied wagtail,

and a white wagtail on the rooftop. I trust one of our birder readers will correct any errors in identification.

Late this afternoon Elizabeth visited to gather up bags of files that had remained in our single spare room since she moved out last year. She stayed for dinner which consisted of chicken marinaded in mango and chilli sauce; savoury rice topped with an omelette; and tender runner beans. My sister finished the Cotes du Rhone and I drank Chateau Berdillot Cotes de  Bourg 2018, while Jackie abstained.

 

 

 

 

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail 2018

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This afternoon Jackie and I followed:

Pokestop carries a Pokemon.

I just squeezed The Bisterne Royals into one frame.

Worzel is in trouble with Aunt Sally required a couple of shots, one from across the road.

We surmised he had been on the tiles with his next door neighbour who was Half Cut.

Head over Heels about Scarecrows also required a vantage point on the opposite side of the road.

Intergalactic Beastie Boys were suitably attired.

Rusty Diesel Engine is a reincarnation of other trains in previous years.

As happy as a Pig was made from a hay bale.

The stretch of Oh Look, there’s a Dragon required two frames,

and its recently hatched baby warranted her own.

Scary Crows lurked beside each other in the trees.

Baked Beans on Coast has to win any pun competition,

and the tins in the trees should not be missed.

2050 AD’s message seems to me to apply already. Don’t miss the crow in the fork.

History of Scarecrows is

most informative.

The Bells

features Quasimodo.

Opposite this one children are invited to play Giant Conkers.

Nearby we find Stickman and his Family Tree.

A rather ancient patriarch sits beside a painting of Noah’s Ark.

Tom & Jerry

and Unicorn Maneia share a patch of grass.

Poldark and Handsome looks to me as if he has had a sex change

or maybe too much of the scrumpy beside him.

It doesn’t look as if Peter Rabbit is welcome.

Would that be The Last Straw?

After this marathon posting, I think I have earned the Wallhampton Arms carvery that the three of us are off to enjoy. I’ll no doubt drink Razor Back.

PS Note the link provided in koolkosherkitchen’s reblog comment. It provides fascinating additional illustrated history.

Friends From Schooldays

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning and early afternoon we spent time sweeping paths, dead heading, weeding and watering in preparation for a visit by Frances and her friends Annie, Kay and Dave. The others stayed for dinner and a very pleasant evening’s conversation. Annie was unable to remain for the meal.

First we sat enjoying convivial conversation on the patio, then went on garden tour.

Frances (Dave, Kay, and Jackie)

Here Frances admires the dahlias beside the wisteria arbour.

Dragon

Jackie called me to photograph a Red Admiral splayed along a dragon’s neck. I wasn’t quick enough, but if you look carefully you can see the butterfly making its escape past the wing.

Dave and Kay

Dave and Kay here stand by Jackie’s shed.

Kay (Annie and Frances)

Kay leads the way along the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Annie (Frances)

Annie possibly took more photographs than I did.

Dave, Annie, Kay, Jackie

Jackie led the group down the back drive while Frances remembered how it had been when we first arrived here.

Frances and Annie

When Annie departed, she and Frances posed for a photograph reflecting that they had been friends from schooldays.

For the rest of us, Jackie produced a superb meal of beef in red wine, creamy mashed potato, and crisp carrots, broccoli and green beans. I drank Patrick Chadot’s Fleurie 2014, while Jackie and Frances drank Isla Negra sauvignon blanc 2016.

Taking The Plunge

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Whilst I am very happy with my Canon SX700 HS camera, I am becoming increasingly aware of its limitations. In particular I do miss my SLR film cameras with good quality zoom lenses. It was such a device that enabled me to fill the frames of the colour slides featured yesterday without poking a lens up the children’s noses and thus spoiling the spontaneity. This would also have captured our garden birds without their constantly taking flight. Who knows, I may also be able to catch them on the wing.

This morning I took the plunge, sought advice from my friend Alex Schneideman, and, following it, researched suppliers on the internet, and ordered on line a second-hand Canon EOS D5 Mark 2 DSLR with a couple of lenses from Camera Jungle. All I have to do upon its receipt is pluck up courage to try it out.

We have both been feeling a bit off colour for a few days. Jackie was able today to return to her weeding and planting

Sprinkler

and set the sprinkler operating.

I spent some time deadheading and weeding. It was a dull day, which made work a little easier.

Front garden trellis

Clematis 1

The front trellis now sports a couple of clematises, two pink roses, honeysuckle, solanum and nasturtiums;

Marguerits corner

while on the opposite corner of the entrance Marguerites blend with potentilla, hydrangea, and the rambling Félicité Perpétue rose. Nasturtiums and geraniums are also in the bed.

Lobelias, begonias, clematis

On the trellis covering the garage door, a clematis winds above lobelias and begonias in a hanging basket.

Clematis 3

Other clematises, such as these over The Head Gardener’s Walk

Clematis 2

and The Shady Path, now festoon the garden.

Margery's Bed

Star of India will soon wind around its obelisk in Margery’s Bed.

Dragon bed from kitchen bed urn

From the Kitchen Bed urn

Dragon Bed

there is a clear view of The Dragon Bed.

This evening we dined on pizza and salad. Jackie drank J.P.Muller Gewürztraminer 2014 and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

Portraits From 1982 – 1986

In recent days, I have been nominated for two more awards, the Leibster;  and the Real Neat Blog by Alex Raphael. Unfortunately I was very tired when I received the first one, and cannot remember who awarded it. I acknowledged it and said I would follow it up the next day. I didn’t get around to it. This is really bad. Having spent ages scrolling down ‘Blogs I follow’, I haven’t been able to track it, so, kind nominator, if you are reading this please accept my apologies. My difficulty was nominating others for this newcomers’ honour, which would have meant checking how long my favourites had been blogging. The questions are also time consuming.

I have reluctantly decided that I am too involved in composing my daily Ramblings to manage this, and will continue to point up blogs I admire in the way I normally do, above, for Alex, and below, for Rob McShane.

On a wet morning, Jackie drove off to replenish our larder, and I, raincoat clad, ambled round the garden,where

raindrops on fuchsia Army Nurse

Raindrops on prunus pissardi

Raindrops on honeysuckle

the Lady in Black climbing fuchsia, the prunus pissardi leaves , and the honeysuckle enjoyed a cooling shower. Keen observers will notice that my camera lens did too.

Bee and raindrops on rhododendron

Hardy, bedraggled, workers crept into this rhododendron.

Dragon

 The dragon’s armour plating affords him suitable protection.

This photograph is for The Wayward Warrior, an excellent poet.

In Lidl, Jackie found, a superb new Dosset Box that is unlikely to lose its lettering. On account of a slight tear it its packaging, this was sold for 89p.Dosset Box 1Dosset Box 2

Since I can’t read braille I was having to guess the different containers in the old one.

This afternoon I returned to the task of sorting, scanning, and returning to photograph albums the prints Elizabeth had borrowed.

Louisa 1982 6

Let’s begin with a laughing Louisa in Gracedale Road sometime in 1982. She has never stopped spreading delight.

The summer of 1985 comes next.

Sam 1985 02

Sam appears to be wondering where the contents of his ice cream cone have gone. Looking at his cheeks and chin we would be able to tell him where some was to be found.

Sam on donkey 1985

A little further on in the year he rides a donkey down the steep steps of the cobbled street in Mousehole, Cornwall’s famous tourist venue.

Jessica and Sam 1985

In the autumn Jessica and I rented a French gite. Here she is in its garden with our son.

Joseph 12.85 2

I have featured that year’s Christmas at my parents’ home in Morden before. Here is a shot of my youngest brother, Joseph.

Louisa 5.86 2

This picture of Louisa was taken in the garden of our Gracedale Road house on her fourth birthday in May 1986. Never content with her thumb, she always added her first finger to her mouth when tired.

Matthew, Sam & Louisa 12.86Matthew and Sam 12.86

London experienced  a pleasing amount of snow for children that December. Mind you, judging by the expressions on Sam and Louisa’s faces as Matthew pushed or dragged them over the snow, on Gracedale Road, or Tooting Bec Common, it was pretty cold.

Later this afternoon the rain stopped. Jackie continued pruning and weeding, and I did my best to cart the contents of one of the large bins, into which she chucked the cuttings, to the compost heap before she had filled the next one.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla.Jackie’s main dish was lamb dopiaza; mine was prawn vindaloo. It is many years since I ate a vindaloo I had not cooked myself. That is because, so often, it lacks complexity and seems mostly to consist of curry powder. I thought I would be safe here. I most certainly was. The meal was perfect.  We both drank Kingfisher.

Gordleton Mill Hotel

Little Bo Mouse

Another mouse has left the suffragette group. Having noticed that a flock of sheep had strayed from Lidl, she has become Little Bo Mouse and herded them onto the mantelpiece. Before you ask, we inherited the ghastly orange colour.Raindrops on feather

Yesterday evening Jackie heard an horrific screeching coming from the far end of the garden. This morning, after overnight rain, I discovered feathers scattered over the back drive, demonstrating that a bird of prey had swooped and stripped a pigeon of its gor tex raincoat.

Being a dull, overcast, day, it was not the best to explore the garden of The Mill at Gordleton, but we were very pleased to have been introduced to this establishment by Giles and Jean, and are encouraged to visit the garden in brighter weather. It is open to the general public under the National Gardens Scheme every Monday. As we were lunching in the hotel restaurant we could, of course, have a wander around.

The restaurant is excellent, offering friendly efficient service and superb food, home, or locally, produced. Jackie and I don’t normally eat a large lunch, so we confined ourselves to a ploughman’s lunch with which I drank Ringwood’s Best. A splendid variety of three course meals and good wines would have been available.

Inside and out, the hotel is an art gallery within the grounds of an idyllic garden that has the River Avon running through. There is, as would be expected, a mill race.Gents Loo

Even the gents loo is tastefully appointed.

Wooden horse

A wooden horse stands in the vestibule,

One last game painting

and original paintings, like ‘One Last Game’, adorn the walls.

Shelf arrangement

Shelves are filled with tasteful objects,

Fish table decoration

and the centrepieces of the dining tables are metal sculptures.

Female sculpture

After having been greeted by the rear end of a crouching female sculpture,

Jackie, Jean and Giles in gardenRiver Avon

the building is approached by crossing a bridge over the River Avon.

Ducks entering riverDucks in river

During our two very rainy years the banks were flooded, washing down sand which offered  three white ducks a route to the water.

Tree and gyroscope sculptures

The garden is scattered with sculptures, such as this blossom tree and gyroscope,

Woman and dragonfly sculpturesDragonfly sculpture       and the metal woman and dragonfly.

Millings chandelier

The Millings Chandelier, suspended over the river is viewed by humans from another bridge, and by a sculpted swan from the bank.

Dragon's head sculpture

Close by, a dragon’s head is fixed to a tree,

Wasp sculpture

and a whopping great wasp clings to another.

Secret garden gate

Through a sculpted secret garden gate,

Magnolia stellata

we are led to glorious seasonal shrubs like this Magnolia Stellata.

This evening, first Becky and Flo, then Mat and Tess arrived to stay over for Easter celebrations. We all dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, mushy peas, pickled onions, and wallies followed by Tess’s moist Chocolate Reese’s brownies. We shared a bottle of Valdepenas Senorio de Canova tempranillo 2013. It would be pointless of me to attempt to detail any of the fast-moving hilarious conversation, which would be a bit like trying to keep track of modern cinema advertisements.

Stranded On Bramble Bank

Jackie has been collecting little mice from a gallery in Milford on Sea. Each morning these charming little creatures, noses in the air, have been found in different locations. One of Flo’s Christmas Dragonology books contained a model which could be removed, assembled, and hung somewhere. Put these two facts together and you might be able to work out where the mice had moved to in their nocturnal flit.

Dragon and mice

This morning Jackie and I drove to Hythe on Southampton Water, and took a trip along the pier:Hythe Pier HistoryTrainPier headPeeliing paintWaiting roomPlankingPier supportJackieRailway on pierFerrySouthampton Water 1Southampton Water 2 Pier plank engraving 1 Pier plank engraving 2 Pier plank engravings sign

This antique structure, served by an ancient train, stretches across the sea where a ferry takes over the transport of passengers to Southampton. We took the train on our outward journey, and walked back to the High Street, seen from the pier, and back to our car.

Renovation work on Hythe Pier is a continuing process. Much of the planking has been replaced, although some is still in need of replacement. The waiting room exterior could do with a lick of paint, although the interior has a charm of its own. Older, rusting pier supports are visible from the modern stainless steel railings. One method of raising funds lies in the planking engraving which contains many messages, such as memorials to dead people, marking of visits, and at least one proposal of marriage.

The train from a bygone era, with views across Southampton Water, still carries travellers the length of the structure on its rust-coloured rails, and, of course planes that were not invented when it began its service, cross the skies to and from the airport.Plane

High Street from sea

When I overhead a comment in a conversation between two gentlemen walking along the footway, I realised they must be talking about the car transporter ship, Hoegh Osaka, which had run aground on Bramble Bank at 21.30 yesterday evening. The snippet was ‘all the press photographers are on Calshot Spit’. Naturally, we sped off to Calshot where the ship still lay stranded. The vessel had been on its way to Germany, when the grounding occurred and twenty five crew members were rescued.Hoegh OsakaHoegh Osaka zoomedSightseers 1PhotographersPhotographer pointing

The small beach at Calshot was swarming with sightseers. Anyone who has followed my ramblings across Westminster Bridge will know that I tend to be more interested in what is going on with the viewing crowds than in the attractions themselves. When, indicating the watchers assembled on the shingle, I offered my observation that ‘there’s the picture’, to one of the photographers, he simply smiled and kept his lens firmly aimed at the stricken vessel and its attending tugboats. This little village was packed with cars lining the roadside and the grassy banks alongside the beach huts, one of which, after Dylan Thomas’s ‘Llareggub’ from ‘Under Milk Wood’, was named ‘LLamedos’. (Read them backwards).

On our return journey, Jackie dropped me at Milford on Sea and I walked home by way of the Nature Reserve, Sharvells Road, Blackbush Road and the back of Shorefield.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s exquisite penne bolognese followed by a choice of syrup or raspberry jam sponges with custard or cream. Jackie’s beverage was Hoegaarden, Ian’s Peroni, and mine the last of the Margaux.