None Of That Nonsense

Late this afternoon rain had brought abandonment to the first day of the fourth Ashes Test match, but here it was reasonably warm and sunny.

Jackie, hindered by Nugget, continued planting, while I wandered around the garden.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, in her third flush, has now toned down her blue rinse.

Other clematises, such as Polish Spirit,

and the tiny white campaniflora, have weathered the storm.

A Lidl pink one still climbs the arch spanning the Brick Path beyond the pelargoniums flanking the Nottingham Castle bench.

Here are some of those pelargoniums.

Begonias are in their prime.

Fuchsias, like these two chequerboards, continue to thrive.

Mama Mia, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Festive Jewel, Crown Princess Margatera, and Hot Chocolate are all examples of roses still holding up their heads.

Long shadows streak across the tiny lawn.

Honesty and Hollyhocks are displaying seed pods.

Earlier in the summer Aaron moved the miscanthus from the edge to the centre of the Palm Bed. It has survived.

Pelargoniums drape many of the hanging baskets.

Petunias and bidens are equally prolific.

The New Bed and Elizabeth’s Bed still offer much colour.

The first of this set of pictures show cosmos and echinacea alongside Elizabeth’s Bed, the second is of the Weeping Birch Bed, and the last two lead us towards the house.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (14)

Jackie can’t settle to drinks on the patio without taking a trowel to stir the pudding for her little friend.

This evening he looked askance at her first effort and

took up a stance on a stone above some slate chips as if, like a stroppy toddler, to say “I don’t like that dinner. Get me something else”. I can assure you that the Head Gardener had none of that nonsense from her own children.

I certainly didn’t turn up my nose at our delicious dinner of spicy pork paprika, mushroom rice, and runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

The Watchers On The Shore

Today’s weather was once more clear, bright, sunny, and cooler.

Bees continued collecting nectar throughout the garden. On my walk around I captured them on bidens, and on the more mature blooms of Festive Jewel.

Crisp young examples of the latter await their turn at contributing to the queen’s larder.

Tomatoes continue to ripen in readiness for ours.

It is a good thing I was not using film in my attempts to catch the myriad of fluttering snowflakes in the form of Small White butterflies while they swirled through the air. I settled for those landing on a poppy head and on a verbena bonarensis. Another took pity on me and perched on a petunia.

Orange crocosmia Emily Mckenzie brightens the Dead End Path and pink sweet peas dance in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Our Bishop of Llandaff in the New Bed was eaten by a vole a couple of years ago. Its deeper red companion has survived.

Another plant that has proved impossible to grow in the various beds tried by the Head Gardener is the gaura. This one is thriving in a pot.

Lady Emma Hamilton produces multiple flushes.

Rows of small begonias sparkle on the borders of beds like these alongside the Heligan Path.

Nugget darted in and out nearby. I am beginning to wonder whether he associates the click of the camera with the clink of a trowel.

One of the pictures above should provide a clue to today’s “Where’s Nugget?” (9)

Late this afternoon we took drive into the forest.

The only sign of life on Hatchet Pond was this pair of swans.

The others must have heard that members of an excited family were feeding the birds beside the nearby Beaulieu River.

Kite surfers and sailboarders struggled on the Solent at the end of Tanners Lane, where they were watched by a young man on the shore. I suppose I made it two watchers so I could legitimately borrow the title of Stan Barstow’s novel.

This evening we dined on Lidl’s rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce; the Culinary Queen’s flavoursome mushroom rice; and the Head Gardener’s tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Belgium’s Hoegaarden and I finished Tesco’s finest Chilean Malbec.

The Best Cricket Of The Day

Jackie photographed nicotiana and petunias on her way to the Rose Garden, where

she attempted to don the Festive Jewel.

Nugget is beginning to fly into the trees and shout his warning message to what we think is a distant emerging territorial rival.

“Where’s Nugget?” (7a) in this picture, taken when he dropped down to join the Head Gardener in her weeding.

The rest of the photographs are Jackie’s. Swooping on every available prey he kept her close company,

as she cleared weeds from the beds

and the stepping stones.

Having given a clue above, Jackie offers her own “Where’s Nugget?” (7)

The Assistant Photographer achieved the impossible early this morning by watching the best cricket of the day. Can you join her?

I, on the other hand, listened to BBC’s broadcast of the second day of the third Ashes Test match.

Becky and Ian returned home to Southbourne this afternoon.

This evening Jackie and I dined on succulent pork chops in mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potatoes: tangy ratatouille; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans. I drank Saint-Chinian 2016. The Culinary Queen had finished her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

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.

Raindrops On Roses

Having been informed by Bob on https://lovewillbringustogether.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/blue-skies-smilin-at-me/ that Australia’s Perth is having its driest spell on record I thought that today’s overnight visitors from that city might not be too sorry that our day has been overcast and wet.

Nevertheless, our cordeline Australis, eucalyptus, and yellow bottle brush plant, all beginning to bloom, may give them more of a sense of home.

Before the rain set in I photographed this unknown peach rose nodding to Compassion, at bit further back.

When I stayed with Mick and Gay at Christmas 2007 on the occasion of Sam’s wedding to their daughter, Holly, the sun was so hot that it burnt all Gay’s roses. It seemed appropriate on this occasion to photograph raindrops on some of ours, bringing us full circle with the pair that began the day dry. They are, of course, https://youtu.be/33o32C0ogVM

Late this afternoon these Australian friends arrived to spend time with us. We all dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; with flavoursome gravy, followed by strawberries, meringues, and ice cream. Hoegaarden; water; and The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018 was imbibed. Afterwards we enjoyed convivial conversation including cultural exchanges and reminiscing before departing to our respective beds.

The Moscow Show Trials

There was not much sun breaking through the clouds today.

This is quite useful when photographing white flowers like clematis Marie Boisselot as I did on my way to open the back gate for Aaron.

Geranium Palmatums and their attendant red fuchsias caught a touch of it as I walked along the Shady Path.

Bees were out early. This one still visited the ageing Festive Jewel in the Rose Garden into which I had been enticed by the magical scents that permeated the air.

A spider preferred to walk on the Blue Moon.

White beauties enjoying their time out of the limelight included Margaret Merril and Madame Alfred Carriere, sharing the entrance arch with Summer Wine.

Special Anniversary, Zéphirini Drouin, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mum in a Million all contributed their intriguing essences to the perfumed blend.

Despite its name the Sicilian Honey Garlic makes no apparent contribution to the mix.

Oriental poppies; libertia welcoming visiting bees; yellow irises; and red peonies enliven the borders of the Back Drive.

From a gentle amble through the garden I turn to the terrifying Moscow Show trials of the 1930s.

According to Wikipedia ‘The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against so-called Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There were three Moscow Trials: the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center (ZinovievKamenev Trial, aka “Trial of the Sixteen,” 1936), the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center (PyatakovRadek Trial, 1937), and the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” (BukharinRykov Trial, aka “Trial of the Twenty-One,” 1938). 

The defendants of these were Old Bolshevik party leaders and top officials of the Soviet secret police. Most defendants were charged under Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code with conspiring with the western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union, and restore capitalism

The Moscow Trials led to the execution of many of the defendants. They are generally seen as part of Stalin’s Great Purge, an attempt to rid the party of current or prior oppositionists, especially but not exclusively Trotskyists, and any leading Bolshevik cadre from the time of the Russian Revolution or earlier, who might even potentially become a figurehead for the growing discontent in the Soviet populace resulting from Stalin’s mismanagement of the economy.[citation needed] Stalin’s hasty industrialisation during the period of the First Five Year Plan and the brutality of the forced collectivisation of agriculture had led to an acute economic and political crisis in 1928-33, a part of the global problem known as the Great Depression, and to enormous suffering on the part of the Soviet workers and peasants. Stalin was acutely conscious of this fact and took steps to prevent it taking the form of an opposition inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to his increasingly autocratic rule.[1]

Several of the victims of these judicial farces were personally known to Arthur Koestler, the Hungarian born British novelist who penned ‘Darkness at Noon’ in their memory decades before Mikhail Gorbatchev, in the late 1980s, introduced Glasnost, thus beginning the democratisation of the Soviet Union.

I finished reading this important book for the second time today. Without naming either Stalin or the USSR the work describes the energy-sapping destruction of the will of previous leaders who were now out of favour and forced by torture to contribute to their own finding of guilt and subsequent execution. Koestler’s prose is simply elegant but he describes an atmosphere of destructive, erosive, terror in an incongruously readable manner. I don’t often knowingly read a book twice, but since Louis had been reading his copy on his recent stay with us, I was prompted to do so.

Daphne Hardy’s translation renders the book most accessible, and Vladimir Bukovsky’s introduction is eloquently informative.

George Buday’s belligerent, brooding, wood engravings brilliantly supplement the attritional ambience of Koestler’s work.

The boards are blocked with a suitably spare design by Sue Bradbury.

We are now driving over to Emsworth for a curry outing with Becky and Ian. I will report on that tomorrow.

Fireworks

The sun today made fleeting, peeping, appearances in the garden.

These elegant, slender, gladioli are proliferating outside the kitchen door;

as does clematis Marie Boisselot in-urned in the Kitchen Bed alongside a deep red peony,

single petalled examples of which stand in the Dragon Bed.

Other clematises include Niobe on the corner of the kitchen wall, and on the wisteria arbour,

also home to Paul’s Scarlet;

and flamboyant Doctor Ruppel climbing the arch spanning the Brick Path beside the West Bed.

Delicate pink rose Penny Lane shares the arch.

One view from the Kitchen Bed leads to the distant entrance to

the Rose Garden, where

Festive Jewel, For Your Eyes Only, Love Knot, and Gloriana are among the parade.

Splendid Fireworks alliums burst forth in the Weeping Birch Bed,

while gentler pink stars mingle with Erigeron and euphorbia in the Kitchen Bed.

From the Weeping Birch Bed we are led through the Cryptomeria Bed to the eastern fence.

Pink campion and a bright red rhododendron stand sentinel on the south west and south eastern corners of the grass patch.

The red rhododendron emblazons these views down the Gazebo Path.

Elizabeth popped in this afternoon for a cup of tea.

This evening Jackie and I dined on pork spare rib chops on a bed of her mushroom rice fried in sesame oil. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Long Way Round Reserve Carmenere 2018.