A Rose For Retirement

HaircutBeach stones in pathEarly this morning Jackie resumed a task she had first undertaken more than forty years ago. She cut my hair, thus putting Donna-Marie out of business. Its colour was rather different first time round. The dark bit must be a trick of the light.

After this I placed the beach stones between the slabs in yesterday’s path. There were still not quite enough, and they put those found in the garden somewhat into the shade, so we will probably need a few more, even after I picked up some interesting pieces of flint on my later walk, and inserted them in place on my return.

During a break, Jackie has managed to identify two of the plants that had us beaten. The first is the white flower, libertia, depicted on 28th April; the second had been identified by Tess, but we couldn’t remember the name of the hebe salicifolia koromiko. Like our daughter in law, and so many of our garden treasures, these are both natives of New Zealand.

Dug up pathPaving from kitchen gardenWall round compost stage 1The day’s major joint task was to start on clearing the kitchen garden in preparation for its transformation into a rose bower. Largely hidden beneath the greenery lie treacherously uneven criss-crossing paths in all sorts of material, mostly brick, stone, and concrete, covering ancient layers of gravel. Any speculation about the evolution of this ankle-twisting surface would be fruitless. This, we have decided, will be the one area where we abandon what we find previously laid down, level it all off, and start from scratch with a sheet of squared paper.

I have begun piling up the paving, apart from the concrete slabs Jackie has snaffled to build a wall with which to restrain the compost.

Shady bedRetirement roseJackie has planted up what was the rather barren shady bed opposite the pale blue Ace Reclaim bench. The red rose in the container beneath the Gardman arch was given to her by her work colleagues when she retired from Merton Social Services Department two years ago. It has survived several moves, including overwintering at Shelly and Ron’s.

Mare's tailsLater this afternoon, I walked down to Shorefield stream and back.New Forest Tour bus The field opposite the entrance to the Country Park has a fine crop of mare’s tails. The New Forest Tour bus stops at the zebra crossing leading down to the chalets beyond the stream.

Pigeon on cableI had been hoping to photograph some coots today, but there were none in evidence.Small tortoiseshell male butterfly I did, however, watch a pigeon doing a high-wire act, and a male small tortoiseshell butterfly sunning itself on a buddleia.Red Admiral male butterfly Our butterflies, like this male Red Admiral prefer basking on our paving stones to perching on our version of that plant.

We dined on refreshing salad again this evening, followed by strawberries and evap (for the uninitiated this is a family term for evaporated milk) on a bed of Tesco’s raspberry twirl cheesecake. The cheesecake was reduced in price because it was pushing its sell-by date; the evap was reduced in fat content, because it is less likely to fatten the consumer. I drank more of the French cotes du Rhone and Jackie her Belgian beer (Hoegaarden in case you’ve forgotten).