This is the footpath to the centre of the Palm Bed that we cleared yesterday.

On another scorching hot day we began the gardening early. My contribution was a dead heading tour, a certain amount of weeding, and a little clearing up.

After lunch I scanned the next five of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to David Copperfield.

‘She drew the harp to her, and played and sang’

‘Mr Peggotty smoothed her rich hair with his great hard hand’ displays such tender emotion’

‘Mr, Peggotty, with his vest torn open, his hair wild, and blood trickling down his bosom, looked fixedly at me’ depicts horror and despair.

‘Miss Dartle gently touched her, and bent down her head to whisper’

‘I drank in every note of her dear voice, and she sang to me who loved her’

After this, I wandered around with my camera, picturing

various scenes, each of which is titled in the gallery;

a. bee clambering onto an eryngium;

planters that currently need watering twice daily;

the water fountain that Jackie cleaned;

and the brick pillar in Elizabeth’s Bed that the Head Gardener removed from further back in this plot and rebuilt with a refurbished sign. Other refreshed signage includes the Old Post House and Aaron’s Garden labels placed on the arch taking us into the garden from the Back Drive. The kitchen table is a makeshift studio.

This evening we dined on Thai prawn and pollock fish cakes; smoked haddock; oven chips; and toothsome cauliflower, runner beans, and peas, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Shiraz.

The Garden Wept

Hanging its head, the garden wept early this morning;

to brighten later;

albeit with less than entirely dry cheeks. Bees basked on sunlit blooms;

as did butterflies like this Red Admiral on the lobelia.

Jackie’s planting

of phlox in the West Bed

brought her little robin, Nugget, out in search of goodies. “Where’s Nugget?” (6)

Here we lost internet connection, so I am sending this from The Royal Oak.

Becky’s Research

After lunch I retouched two more of the scans of from 1926.

Here we have Mum and Uncles Ben and Roy on the beach at Conwy. It seems to have been essential to wear one’s best clothes, which, in some instances meant school uniform complete with cap.

Considering that this comes from a 5 x 10cm print the best part of 100 years old, I found the clarity of the water and the pebbles beneath it in this image of Mum and Grandma Hunter a tribute to my grandfather’s skill.

Becky has done more research on this portrait of her great grandfather from about 1919, which I also retouched today. Marcus Guttenberg came to the UK in 1851 from Poland via Russia and Germany. He moved to Manchester in 1878. Already a photographer he set up 24 different studios throughout the north of England including Whitby, Harrogate and Bridlington, eventually moving to Bristol where he died in 1891. This postcard portrait bearing the name Guttenberg would not be his work, although it is an example of such.

It may, however, be the work of his son, Percy, who took over the business and became a renowned photographer of theatrical personalities, having fourteen of his portraits in the National Portrait Gallery. On 20th October 1938 he changed his name to Percy Alexander.

My grandfather’s portrait above is certainly of an excellent professional quality.

Elizabeth Hunter, née Franks, his grandmother, could, however have been photographed at one of Marcus’s studios, aged about18 in 1885. Her parents ran a trawler fleet in Grimsby at the time, so the location could be right. She married Benjamin Hunter when she was 23.

Becky and I removed the back of the portrait featured in, seeking confirmation of what Mum had told me. There wasn’t much to contradict her information.

This morning Jackie began planting up her new stumpery, The white powder evident on the stumps is an ant killer. When the Head Gardener exposed the nest she was ordered to stand back by her robin, Nugget, while he had his fill before she could apply the insecticide.

While making these photographs I was led to this blue eryngium setting well against the

white everlasting sweet peas.

This afternoon Jackie and I drove to Barton on Sea to catch up with Becky and Ian. Because we had missed them we drove to Old Milton and bought a new landline telephone. When we returned home an apparently displeased Becky rasped: “Where did you get that?” She then produced the one that she and Ian had bought us.

Back we went to the electrical store, obtained a refund, and, following Becky’s advice, bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

This evening the four of us dined on second helpings of yesterday’s Indian Takeaway with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Parents Must Allow Children To Be Adventurous

On another dull, overcast, morning, Jackie drove to a follow-up appointment with her knee surgeon whilst I stayed at home for a visit from Paul, the Double Glazing Doctor, who arrived on time and gave the promised, reasonable, estimate later on. The work will be done next Wednesday when the new television is to be installed.

I amused myself by sorting and scanning a few more of the photographic prints returned by Elizabeth.

In 1986 Jessica, Sam, Louisa, and I spent some time house sitting for the Drapers in Meldreth, and in the process, enjoying a holiday.

Sam 1986

This shot of Sam shows that a gentle, kind, boy nevertheless has a penchant for playing soldiers. Give him a cricket bat and his grandfather’s military cap and what does he do with the bat? My son is living proof that children who play in this way are not necessarily destined to grow up with killer instincts.

Joseph & Louisa 1986

Later that year, on an outing with Elizabeth, Rob, Adam, and Danni, Louisa enjoys a ride on the back of my brother, her uncle Joseph.

Louisa 5.89 001Louisa 5.89 002

Louisa, of course, will have a go at anything. Here she is rolling around in a galvanised tub on the lawn at Lindum House in May 1989. I know it has a jagged hole and she has bare feet, but she was very careful, and parents must allow children to be adventurous.  Had Jessica and I  been more timorous ourselves would this little girl have grown up to complete the Three Peaks Challenge? I know I couldn’t have done it, even when fit.

This much brighter afternoon, I heaved the rest of the rocks out of the recovered bed, laid a few more stepping stones, and built up borders with them.

Later I took a stroll down to Roger’s farm gate and back.

Grasses veiling dahlia

A freshly blooming dahlia in The Shady Bed is veiled by small ornamental grasses,


and alongside The Brick Path eryngium is nicely framed by the red Japanese maple.

Garden gate

On Downton Lane the secret garden gate looked particularly inviting,

Blackberry blossom

and blackberry blossom is developing into as yet green fruit.

This last quartet of un-enhanced photographs were shot on the setting that replicates film.

This evening Jackie produced her classic sausage casserole which we enjoyed with crisp carrots, cabbage, and new potatoes. She drank her customary Hoegaarden whilst I drank Parra Alta malbec 2014.