Furnishing The Shed

Becky put this on my Facebook page early this morning:

11411850_10153170361428999_594653639751612138_oClever, isn’t she?

We began with a trip to the municipal dump, now upgraded to Efford Recycling Centre. Included in the rubbish we took there was a green plastic table we had bought from there in the first place. The Head Gardener, now she has a shed, has no further use for it. I got quite excited when I thought this might be the first time we would leave the tip without making a purchase. This was not to be, for Jackie spotted a hanging window box and just had to buy it.

Fergusson's van

Off we then drove to Highcliffe, and our old favourite, Fergusson’s, in search of a suitable chest of drawers to double as a work surface and storage for packets of seeds, tools, ties, plant labels, and almost anything else you can think of. Elsa and Boyce produced the very thing, that would probably have got the Bargain Hunt experts very excited. This addictive televised antiques programme involves two pairs of punters shopping in normal retail outlets in the hope of making a profit at auction. We have learned that G-plan, the iconic furniture of the ’50s and ’60s, is in at the moment. The Ercol piece that we found would definitely have been in the money. But we weren’t going to auction, and Dad, Dave Fergusson, accompanied by Elsa, delivered it for us and helped me place it in the shed.

This friendly family firm is to be recommended.

Dave Fergusson delivering chest of drawersErcol chest of drawersShed furnishings

Shed

Jackie had already begun to make herself at home.

Dave had first delivered furniture to us last May, when the garden was still a jungle. He and Elsa went on an amazed and delighted tour. He asked for a notification when we open to the public. Here is a selection from what he saw today:

Rose pink

From the bed by the wisteria, this small pink rose has a good view of the new acquisition.

View along kitchen window path

This is the view along the outside of the kitchen window. The rose above lies in the bed at the end.

Dragon's view

Obscured by the planting in the centre background, the dragon stands on a concrete plinth. This is his view through to the urn and beyond.

geraniums and maple

Near the start of the brick path, geraniums and Japanese maple form a pleasing swirl;

Geraniums and grasses

and a different variety of geranium hangs at one end of the Phantom Path.

Petunias on edge of brick path

A concrete building block lifts a pot of pink petunias taking us across another section of the Brick Path.

Pergola path view

We also walked along the Pergola Path. Like any of the others, this view changes daily.

Rose Kent

In the new rose garden, Kent is now in bloom.

Passion FlowerClematis Margaret Hunt

At the far south end of the garden, passion flowers cling to the support arches we erected last year, and clematis Margaret Hunt ascends those Jackie fixed in her new boxes at the start of the back drive.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, where we enjoyed the usual ambiance, service, food, and Kingfisher. I chose Purple Tiger and Jackie chose Navrattan Korma. We shared lemon rice and a naan, and both drank Kingfisher.

The Jackdaw

As I ambled along to the post box alongside Ivy Cottages, I realised that I had, in an earlier post, misinformed my readers about the visibility of Ashley Clinton Manor tower from Christchurch Road.Christchurch Road and Ashley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor tower zoomed

Such is the serpentine nature of the A337, that, although Angel Lane is on the left, looking across the fields to the right the tower is clearly visible from this point, although a little further along foliage, when clothing the now naked trees will obscure it.

All my life I have struggled to find an armchair high enough off the floor for comfort, but only comparatively recently have needed to use my hands to prise myself out of it.Flo, Ian, (Becky), Oddie and Scooby

My favourite Edwardian chair, when not occupied by the Emsworth family, has always suited me well.

Because of the nature of the majority of the shops in Highcliffe High Street, when I first visited this town I quipped that I was not ready for it. Now, realising that perhaps I am, we continued our chair search, and found just the job in Fergusson’s House Clearance. The chosen item is the second that can be seen in the shadows of the shop doorway.Fergusson's House Clearance Services

 

Jackdaw 1Jackdaw 2Perched high up under the eaves of Highcliffe Watchmakers in Waterford Road, a jackdaw fixed its beady eyes on us. It blended in so well with the woodwork that, had Jackie not spotted it and its mate in the guttering, I might have missed it. This shop also sells jewellery, and since jackdaws are noted jewel thieves, these birds were probably waiting to slip in behind another customer opening the door, so they could nip inside and snaffle something shiny. ( When posting daily you need a bit of luck, don’t you? )

Our evening meal didn’t quite go according to plan.

Our old friend Tony visited us this afternoon. He expected to leave after a couple of hours to return to Chelmsford via Petersfield. After this we thought we might go out somewhere. Unfortunately Tony couldn’t start his car and had to embark upon a series of telephone calls to initiate a recovery process. Whilst this was going on Jackie volunteered to go out to fetch a takeaway.

Then…………Ah……..

Tony’s immobilised vehicle was blocking her in.

He didn’t have the appropriate insurance cover for recovery, so he had to stay the night and hope Downton Service Station could resolve the problem in the morning.

So we enjoyed a superb omelette stuffed with peppers, mushrooms, and onions; chips; peas; baked beans; and rice pudding. Jackie drank a low alcohol rose and Tony and I finished the Bordeaux Superieur.

 

Finishing Touches

Chinese cabinet on chest of drawersWe have a long, but not tall, Chinese oak cabinet which has gone up and down stairs in our new home like a yo-yo. The library had seemed its most likely final resting place.  The almost completed project no longer offered space for it. So back upstairs we carted it. When I bought the chests of drawers from Fergusson’s, one was intended to stand beneath this piece of furniture. We had second thoughts. Now we have thought again.

I then emptied the last four boxes of books; Jackie got out the vacuum cleaner; and we set about transporting the games table into the library. Had we not covered the garage door this would have been quite a simple matter. But we had. So it wasn’t.

The table was surplus to requirements in the sitting room. We carried it into the hall, intending to take it through the kitchen into the library. We couldn’t get it into the kitchen. So we took the casters off. We got it into the kitchen cupboard known as the glory hole. We couldn’t get it out into the kitchen itself. So we shifted it back into the hall and had a think.

I then had the bright, albeit somewhat tardy, idea of taking it out through the front door, round the side of the house, and in through the back door which now leads straight into the library. This worked like a dream. When I suggested to Jackie that we may not have needed to remove the casters, she suggested that I should not ‘even go there’.

LibraryThe legs of the piece had taken a bit of scuffing in its various moves, so Jackie applied wood stain to the wounds and polish to both limbs and surface. A piece of string held the slightly loosened leg in place whilst the glue dried.

The carpet that Michael had given us had just one grease mark on it. To complete the creation of the room my lady got down and scrubbed this with an application of Vanish. She fixed a clock to the side of one of the bookcases.

Still visible in one corner of the library are a handful of Safestore boxes containing a selection of volumes for a charity stall our friend Heather is running in August.

PhotiniaPhotinia bloomsA wander round the garden followed. The bungalow next door has been unoccupied for many years and such fence as there ever was between this and our property has been swamped by shrubs, one of which is a photinia. We think it is not ours, but never mind it blooms in our garden.

Yellow flowered shrub - Version 2There are also a couple of yellow flowering shrubs we could not identify until Jackie’s research revealed them to be corokia cotoneasters which originate in New Zealand.

Yellow flowered shrub

The copper beech is now in full leaf.Copper beech

White was the dominant colour of the hedgerows in Downton Lane as I took an early evening walk into a fierce headwind coming off the Solent.StitchwortMay

Cow parsley, stitchwort and may blossom have replaced the yellow daffodils and dandelions.

Rooks struggled against the wind to keep their bearings as they winged to and fro to their now clamouring chicks.Rook in flight

It was an evening for kite surfing such as my friend John Smith would relish.

Kitesurfers descendingKite surfers setting upSeascapeSeascape with kite surferSeascape with kite surfersKite surfers & yachtKite surfer, shingle, Isle if Wight & The NeedlesKite surfer & The NeedlesAs I arrived at the coastline a lone surfer was about to be joined by others walking down the steps from Hordle Cliff top. They were still setting up by the time I left the beach on which the rollers were again piling up the shingle. An intrepid yachts person was seen in the distance, and the Isle of Wight and The Needles made a landmark backdrop to the scene. Kite surfer in seaThe surfer didn’t manage to keep out of the water.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided a spread for our evening meal. The Co-op’s cheesecake was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegarden and I finished the chianti.

Identification Required

Last night Jackie came up with an excellent idea for recycling some of the IKEA wardrobe sections in the creation of the garage library/laundry room. This was going to need the use of a saw, and we only possessed the hacking kind

A further trip to B & Q in Christchurch was therefore required, especially as we needed some more of their curtains and dowelling for the rails. We bought all these and stopped of at Fergusson’s in Highcliffe to collect a mirror that came with one of the chests of drawers we had bought.Fergusson's House Clearance While she was at it, Jackie added the hand-painted screen seen on the left of the photograph, to our purchases.

There were long mounting brackets attached to the mirror. I had travelled from B & Q in comparative comfort, with two eight foot dowelling poles over my left shoulder. The journey from the House Clearance shop was a little more complicated. The dowelling was now being kept company by one of the mounting brackets, whilst I held the screen close to my right cheek.

We also wanted to go to New Milton to visit the bank and buy some mounting card and Glu Dots for the photographs I featured yesterday, but thought it sensible to go home and unload first. Glu Dots are a Blu Tack product which hold the pictures in place and are removable when required. We found them in New Forest Stationers which is very well stocked with all art and writing materials.

Now, the IKEA sections have spent a week in the rain on the skip pile. IKEA wardrobe sectionsThey are also spiked with various bolts, screws, and fastenings. I therefore took a screwdriver to them, and undid what I could before we trundled the requisite number back into the garage where they had come from.

We have a number of containers packed with domestic items surplus to our requirements that may be useful for younger home makers. Before we could get the IKEA kit back in the garage we had to make room for it. This involved carting those other boxes to the shed at the bottom of the garden.

After this exercise Jackie put up two more pairs of curtains in the kitchen, and I flopped for a while before wandering around the garden realising exactly how little we know about its plants, many of which are clearly unusual specimens. Of those we think we have identified, we would welcome readers’ confirmation. Of those we can’t, all offers will be gratefully received.

There are many decorative trees, almost none of which we know. For example, this one in the front garden:Fir tree in front garden

or this in the back:

Tree in back gardenAquilegia Dianthus

The aquilegias and dianthus  we are confident of,

but this flower, on long tall stems, has us beaten:IMG_8472

as do both the pink and white ones here:IMG_8481

The very prolific white plants we think are scillas. Could the pink flowers be tierellas or heucherellas?Cactus

Perched on a table near a water butt is a potted cactus.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi (recipe) with savoury rice. I drank sparkling water.

P.S. 31st July 2014

Jackie has now identified the white flower that had us beaten. It is libertia, like so many of our plants, a native of New Zealand.

The Chicks Have Hatched

One of the consequences of moving house is the need to wonder where to put things. This is very helpful in encouraging one to complete unfinished organisational tasks begun years ago. In about 2008/9, when living in Sutherland Place, I discovered that some of my books and slide boxes had been damaged by damp. The colour slides themselves were sound, but the boxes were on the wet side, so new containers were essential. I bought some, and decanted the positive films from the worst of the moistened ones. Although I had enough new receptacles to take the contents of the last, least damaged, box, I didn’t finish the task until yesterday. All in the interests of reducing by one the number of containers needing a home.

This led me, this morning, to resuscitating the ‘posterity’ series. My first photo-shoot of Jackie was made on Wimbledon Common in April 1966.Jackie 4.66 Here is one of the pictures, with the War Memorial in the background top left.

Before this I walked the whole length of Shorefield Road and Sea Breeze Road, taking in the vast acreage of the Country Park. Highway MaintenanceThe high-pitched screeching of the gulls over the stubble field on Downton Lane gave way to the deafening racket of the rookery, at times indistinguishable from that of a reversing Highway Maintenance vehicle.

Rook over nestRooks and nestRooks and nestsThe lofty nests of the frenetically active rooks are now apparenty occupied by ravenous chicks. The parents flap to and fro keeping their offspring from starving. Each rounded cluster of sticks is guarded by one adult whilst its mate energetically forages.

Building at ShorefieldStudland Common Nature Reserve boardAt the far end of the Sea Breeze section of the park, where building continues unabated, is a meandering stream-crossed woodland walk leading to Studland Common Nature Reserve. Although partly gravelled, the paths tend towards the muddy. Cow and gorse

The ear tags of cattle grazing in Studland Meadow reflected the gorse around them.

On my return I met and conversed with two separate dog-walkers. I was quite relieved that the West Highland terrier poised for attack was on the end of a lead, and had probably already had his breakfast.

This afternoon, as promised, our chests of drawers were delivered by Fergusson’s House Clearance.

The House of the Seven Gables coverBefore dinner I finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel ‘The House of the Seven Gables’, in the Folio Society edition illustrated by Francis Mosley. First published in 1851 this is an intriguing story rich in characterisation. The author’s skill in story-telling surmounts the wordiness of some of his language commensurate with his time of writing. The reader’s interest is maintained throughout. There is a touch of mystery about both the house and the writer’s tale, and he ties it all up tidily in the end.

Mosley is a versatile illustrator who remains one of my favourite Folio Society artists.

Our evening meal was roast lamb in tasty gravy, served with crisp vegetables. I drank Cimarosa Chilean merlot from 2013.

 

Downton

We are running out of storage space, so Jackie and I visited David Fergusson’s House Clearance shop in Highcliffe, where we bought three chests of drawers which will be delivered next week. There we met the fascinating proprietor who has an impressive knowledge of art. He is still waiting for that miraculous find, but clearly appreciates and values some of the items he collects. They do not all find their way into his shop. His home must be a treasure trove.

It is not now quite so scary a prospect to accommodate the belongings we then collected from Shelly and Ron’s afterwards. At their home we also met Anthony, their son, Jane their daughter, and her boyfriend Chris. Ron is recovering from his operation on his broken heel. We had an enjoyable chat with welcome mugs of coffee.Garden

CamelliaBee in tree peonyWeeping birchOur garden becomes more resplendent as the month proceeds. Another Camellia is in bloom, as is a tree peony offering shelter to a bee. The elegant weeping birch flickers with dangling new leaves.

DowntonThe SolentBonfire & Isle of WightRook & seagullAfter lunch I walked down Downton Lane, taking the footpath off to the right. From the stubbled field alongside, I could see the original hamlet of Downton stretched out along Christchurch Road. Enlarging the picture offers a glimpse of our pale blue washed house centre right. To the left The Solent sparkled in the distance, and the cloudy smoke from a bonfire blended well with the bulky form of the Isle of Wight.

A solitary rook vied with the seagulls for pickings from a recently ploughed field.

BluebellsWood anemoneGorseBluebell bankLandscapeLandscape 2Landscape 3I took the left turn alongside the bluebell wood which also contained wood anemones among many other wild flowers. After crossing the stream I optimistically diverged from the marked path, turned left through an opening in the barbed wire fence and circumperabulated a steep grassy field with clumps of gorse at its summit, looking down on a splendid bluebell bank beside the road.

It soon became apparent that there was no other egress, so I retraced my steps and returned home.

This evening Jackie fed Flo and me (and herself) on Pizza and penne bolognese sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Strawberry jelly and Kelly’s Cornish clotted cream ice cream. I finished the Isla Negra and Jackie drank a little more of her Hoegaarden.

As I post this, I am listening to the ticking of two clocks. One, keeping perfect time, is a battery operated modern one bought by Jackie in one of Morden’s ‘cheapie places’. The other, a splendid reproduction station waiting room clock was given to Jessica and me by Michael when he was seventeen. It still needs a little adjustment to its new environment as it loses a few minutes a day. This is the clock that survived being stolen with the rosewood wine table that stands beneath it.