Decidedly Not Smart

A number of terra cotta and yellow kniphofias have self-seeded at various places in the garden and have recently chosen to bloom rather late. These are in the Kitchen Bed, accompanied by hibiscus, petunias, Japanese anemones and fennel.

This begonia and the pelargonium are recovering from near death with the benefit of Jackie’s tender care.

Like the white Marie Boisselot glimpsed in the bottom of the Kitchen Bed picture, this pink and blue clematis and the wisteria are producing their third flushes of the year.

I paused, this morning, to photograph this happy planting of pelargoniums, fuchsias, and Japanese anemones in the front garden before embarking into the car for a trip to Woodpeckers to visit

Mum, now well enough settled into her room to have hung her favourite pictures, one of which is a drawing I made in about 1958 when my sister would have been four and I would have been sixteen years of age.

It portrays Elizabeth watching the family’s first decidedly not smart dodgy black and white TV set.

Leaving Mum to her lunch we took a diversion around Burley on our way home for ours. On Bisterne Close we trailed a young woman riding a white horse.

Although dull, it was another warm day, which brought out flies again prompting ponies to cluster under the trees.

Jackie spent the afternoon in the company of her avian under-gardener who continually converses in the sweetest, almost imperceptible gentle whisper. We can just watch his throat pulsating. He spent some time in the cryptomeria above her head, dropping down to a terra cotta lantern beside her.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (21)

This evening we dined at The Wheel in Bowling Green. The food and service were as good as ever. We both chose tempura prawns as starters, with salad so fresh as to have possibly been immediately picked from the garden. Jackie’s main course was thick meaty burger with chunky chips, salad, and onion rings; mine was an excellently cooked rib eye steak with chips, mushroom, tomato, peas, and onion rings. Jackie drank a guest lager which we can’t remember and I drank a good Malbec.

When we arrived a robin greeted us from a hedge in the car park. For a moment we wondered whether Nugget had arrived before us.

Back at home I watched the recorded highlights of the first day of the final Ashes Test match.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

Doing The Hokey Cokey

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

We continued with the garden clearing after the storm today. It was so hot that it was a case of ‘In, Out, In, Out’ from the cooler indoors to the stifling outside as we continued with the tasks begun yesterday. Hopefully, we are back to normal now.

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

Here is a view of the Dragon Bed and Shady Path;

Gazebo

one of the Gazebo;

Brick Path

and another of the Brick Path. (the tall plant on the left is fennel)

With minor editing on my part, Wikipedia tells us that ‘The hokey cokey (United Kingdom), hokey tokey (New Zealand) , or hokey pokey (United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico) is a participation dance with a distinctive accompanying tune and lyric structure. Originating as a British folk dance, with variants attested as early as 1826, the song and accompanying dance peaked in popularity as a music hall song and novelty dance in the mid-1940s in Britain and Ireland. The song was a chart hit twice in the 1980s – first by The Snowmen which peaked at UK #18 in 1981, and then Black Lace who reached #31 in 1985.’ It remains today a popular feature of cross-generational knees-ups.

The Snowmen, otherwise known as Ian Drury and the Blockheads, had a surprise hit with their Christmas single in 1981. They, and a bunch of assorted children, entertaining an elderly neighbour at her window, danced their hokey cokey in a blizzard. We, lacking an audience, performed ours in a heatwave.

Mr Chatty Man Chan, of Hordle Chinese Take Away, provided our dinner this evening. I drank Doom Bar beer and Jackie drank fruit juice.

What Happened To My Finger?

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT AS REQUIRED.

A myriad of flying creatures feasted on fennel this morning.

Hoverflies on fennel

This splendid hoverfly dwarfed its relative just above. Perhaps unusual in the insect world this harmless creature’s scary camouflage serves the purpose of drawing attention in order to instil fear. It has a long, slender, tongue which it inserts into each little yellow ball.

Mum, Dad, Gwen Joe, Derrick, Matthew

Later, I received this print from Frances. It is from hers and Chris’s wedding album from 1st August 1970 at Windsor. From left to right we have Dad, Auntie Gwen, Joseph, Mum, and Matthew, on my lap. I appear to have an injured finger on my right hand. Although Alan Warren did break that very same digit some years later, I’ve no idea what was wrong at this time.

Giles and Jean came to lunch. Jackie laid on a splendid spread. Starting with her watercress soup with crusty bread, we progressed to pork pie, cold meats, and salads. Cream cakes were to follow, with cheeses and grapes after that. We all drank Stajerska Slovenia dry white wine, 2014. We then spent a very pleasant couple of hours conversing in the garden.

I watched the Team GB v. South Africa semi-final of the Olympics rugby sevens this evening, after which another bowl of soup sufficed for our meal.

Up Close And Personal

On a largely overcast and humid morning I took an amble down to Roger’s footpath and back.

Parsley and fennel

Parsley and fennel are now flowering in the bed opposite the kitchen window.

Nicotiana

White nicotiana spreads its scent across the patio.

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

The Absolutely Fabulous rose now bears numerous fresh flowers.

Violas

Violas suspended from the entrance arch to the back drive soak up the sun’s fleeting rays.

Owl and petunias

I found that a snowy owl has been sneaked in.

Convolvulus

Small, ground-hugging, convolvulus now straggles the verges of Downton Lane.

For the purposes of rearranging the furniture I was permitted to enter the shed this morning. If truth be told, I was probably more hindrance than help, although the Head Gardener was too kind to say so. I was taken back, however, to my very early childhood when, asking my mother if I could help with the housework, I would receive the response: ‘Yes. Sit on a chair and keep out of my way’.

We now have a reasonably tame thrush. Whether this is the result of imprinting during its fearless infancy, or because, when she discovers a nest of snails or slugs she lays them out on the path for the grateful bird, is not clear.

Thrush

However, once our little friend has had its fill, it will often stand, looking hopeful, awaiting a further feed.

On TV, I watched the first, thrilling, women’s Wimbledon semi-final, in which Garbine Muguruza defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 2-1. Afterwards, Jackie drove us to Pocock’s Rose Centre in Romsey, where we bought six more scented roses. These were the white climber, Madame Alfred Carrière, shrubs purple Roseraie de l’Haye, and white Jacqueline du Pré. Two in bloom were:

Rose Creme de la Creme

pale yellow Creme de la Creme

Rose Chris Beardshaw

and delicately muted pink Chris Beardshaw.

Along Romsey Road at Copythorne stands the only building to have been granted the honour of membership of the P.G. Wodehouse Society. This is the Empress of Blandings public house named after the great comic author’s porcine character.

Empress of Blandings pub signEmpress of Blandings mural

It seemed only right and proper to photograph the pub sign and the mural quotation for Ashokbhatia, an erudite and amusing blogger who is a great Wodehouse fan. His writing on the master’s oeuvre alone are insightful and enlightening. And he has more to say besides.

We chose a different route home, and dawdled through the forest around Bolderwood. There the late afternoon sun filtered through the trees, dappling some scenes and throwing the spotlight on others.

Woodland 4Woodland 6Woodland 7

Woodland 5Woodland 8PoniesPonies up closeNew Forest ponies are not known for speed. In fact they often hardly move at all, preferring to stand and sleep or graze. When half a dozen of them rushed towards me at a trot, I was a little perturbed, and retreated to the car. So near came these creatures that I didn’t have room to open the door. This was a bit close and personal for my liking. Eventually they got the message that I wasn’t going to feed them, and cantered off along the road to find someone else to molest.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided our evening meal, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden Belgian beer, and I drank English Master Brewers IPA

Then There Was One

I don’t always remember to take my painkillers. All they do anyway is reduce the acute pain in my knee. It doesn’t take long, however for me to realise my omission. So it was this afternoon when Jackie drove us to New Milton to catch up on some banking. On the way back we stopped off at Redcliffe Nurseries to buy a hoe and various other items. I very soon had to give up and return to the car, leaving the head gardener loose in the store. Afterwards she dropped me off at home to take my pills and continued alone to raid Otter Nurseries.

Garden 1Garden 2JPG

We are in for a spell of dull weather, which began today. It failed to dim the colours of the garden, especially as the red and yellow Japanese maples are now in leaf. Against a post on the far left of the broader picture the splash of orange is our first poppy. Very soon, in different sizes, and of varying hues, the plot will be peppered with them until late in the autumn. These pictures will repay maximum enlargement. Fennel, tulips, daffodils, and pansies are among the plants on display.

On 22nd February, an ailing baby bird we had thought to be a pigeon, perished after a frosty night. We then realised that a pair of young collared doves, seeming to be searching where the chick had succumbed, were probably its parents. They have seldom since been seen apart. FeathersOvernight a predator has struck, leaving the feathers of one of these birds beneath our largest bay tree. Now its mate waits its turn beneath the bird feeder alone. Nature can sometimes be so cruel.

Yesterday’s nicely matured chilli con carne and savoury rice with a side of haloumi, followed by syrup sponge pudding and custard provided our evening sustenance. Jackie drank sparkling water whilst I quaffed a little more of the chianti.