A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Helen Eales’s Artwork

This morning I was engaged in several telephone conversations concerning my second knee replacement operation scheduled for two days time. Ten days or so ago I had been experiencing symptoms of what could have been a urinary tract infection soon after my satisfactory flexible cystoscopy. I understood that the operation could not be undertaken if I had an infection. I had therefore begun taking a series of antibiotics whilst awaiting the testing of a urine sample. Two days ago the result came informing that I had no infection. I stopped taking the tablets. Although the symptoms are still evident they have desisted somewhat. I have now been advised that it should be possible to go ahead with the surgery. Oh, joy.

Another session on ‘A Knight’s Tale’ involved extracting material from ‘Six Leg Byes’ and, including an illustration, from “I’ve Got To Go And Do It for Grandpa”.

In Milford on Sea this afternoon we visited our GP to order a repeat prescription; Sears Barbers for me to have a haircut; and the Community Centre to admire Helen’s pictures on display. The work has only been on the walls for few days, yet we were too late to see one which had already been sold.

Here are ‘Winter Willows Dreams of Warmer Days’ (Pen & Ink and Watercolor) and ‘Humming Bird’ (Watercolour);

‘Humming Bird’ alone;

‘Ferdinand The Frog’ (Watercolour);

‘Dragonfly on Willow’ (Watercolour);

and ‘Cottage Retreat’ (Pen & Ink).

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak where my choice of meal was a perfectly cooked, piled high, mixed grill; Jackie’s was a beef burger in a brioche bun with French fries, equally well cooked. I drank Merlot and Jackie drank Amstell. The pub is only four doors away, but we could have done with being carried home.

 

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.

The Dragonfly

This afternoon we visited Elizabeth at The Firs.  I delivered the prints for the summer exhibition and we telephoned her framer to discuss framing my pictures. We had hoped to get down to gardening, but all felt pretty lethargic because it was still rather hot and humid.  We did get some watering and treating of diseased heuchera done; some pruning of wisteria; and some pondering.  After the several weeks’ heat-wave everything was looking rather autumnal. Dragonfly 1 Dragonfly 2Dragonfly 3Dragonfly 4

I have written several times about Oddie’s penchant for snaffling my chair.  A dog is one thing, but a dragonfly is something else.  Our visitor calmy took up its position, mandibles munching away, refusing to budge until it was ready. Adam’s GCSE dragon kept a watchful eye on its enormous living relative. Dragon - Adam's GCSE I have never seen such a large specimen before.  What I’ve always thought of as a dragonfly has simply been a small blue damselfly. Robin juvenile

The plan was for Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy to join us for an Eastern Nights meal in Thornhill.  There was some delay as my niece and her boyfriend were delayed by a traffic accident and a heath fire.  While the rest of us sat in the garden waiting for them, a member of the next generation of The Firs robins hopped around us, following in the clawsteps of our companion of last summer.

The curries were of the usual high standard at our favourite Hampshire Indian restaurant.  Bangla, Cobra, and Coke were drunk. Elizabeth, Derrick & Jackie Danni took a photograph of what she termed the three wise monkeys.