The Garden Of Delights

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Derrick

Here is a photograph of yesterday’s Barnet (Cockney rhyming slang – Barnet fair – hair. Geddit?)

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session with the excellent Claire who expressed surprise and pleasure at my progress. After she had strong-armed my leg she had taken the straightened knee to just one degree short of perfect, and the bent position to 105 degrees, already acceptable, but aiming for the 120 target.

There had been a nasty motoring accident on the Salisbury road, causing major delays and lateness for my appointment. We therefore took a diversion on our way home. Once we noticed that the signposts in all the tiny villages we wound our way through were pointing to Shaftesbury we realised that something was awry.

Never mind, on the road to Nunton we passed the patterned fields of Longford Farms Ltd,

and the neighbouring rolling landscape.

On the corner of Whitlock rise and the road through Bishopstone, climbing up to the bungalows above, Jackie spotted a sight to behold. She turned the car round and parked in the street beside a garden. I just had to disembark with my camera. At that moment a friendly woman with a small dog carrying out guard duties also left another car. She was the creator of what had attracted us.

She was thrilled that I wanted to photograph this Garden of Delights. She said most people simply take a shot in passing, whilst waving at the figures on the bench, imagining them to be living humans. She asked me to be sure to feature the boy on the donkey. A neighbour had given her the doll to complete the look. The wheels turn in the wind, and at Christmastime the lights are all lit. Local children love it. Having given me the information she entered her house saying she would “leave [me] to it”.

We struck lucky with The Talbot Inn in Berwick St John where we lunched. My pork Madras curry was the best I have ever tasted in a pub, and Jackie found her Italian chicken with spaghetti equally to her liking. She drank Diet Coke and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

The Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant Badges

Soon after this we found the A30 to Salisbury and set off home. At Fovant we found a good view of the remaining Badges,

The Fovant Badges plaque

which are explained in this plaque. This final image will need the double enlargement to read the detail.

This evening I watched the football World Cup semi-final match between France and Belgium. Following the lunch we enjoyed earlier, we had no further need for sustenance.

P.S. For a short video of the badges see the comment of efge63 below.

 

 

I Was Set Up

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Somewhat encouraged by the lack of adverse effects on my knackered knees after the long, flat, walk round Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve, I decided to take the somewhat shorter, yet undulating, route through Honeylake Wood. At about halfway I ventured into the undergrowth, after which I turned back.

A pedestrian gate breaking a hedge serves as an entrance to the field leading to the wood.

Reflection of hedge

The hedge was reflected in the muddy verge beside Christchurch Road.

Oak tree

A bent and aged oak on one edge of the field bowed beneath the prevailing wind,

which even around mid-day bit into me as I crossed to the wood.

Honeylake Wood entrance

On my way in the leafy path offered welcoming shelter,

Honeylake Wood exit

while a sight of Downton’s cottages as I left it gave notice that home was near, if not in sight.

Forest floor

Often springy underfoot, the forest floor,

Squirrel

over which squirrels scampered,

Stream

was, especially near the stream, occasionally waterlogged.

The wind roared overhead. There was much evidence of broken trees,

Autumn leaf

and, although some autumn leaves had not yet reached the ground,

others glowed in the sunlight

which played among the trees.

The bridge had been so severely damaged as to deter anyone from leaning on the rickety rail; a sapling had been converted to an entrance arch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Basson Shiraz 2014. The others didn’t drink their Kronenbourg 1664 until afterwards so that didn’t count.

A minute particle of my casserole splashed up from my plate and onto my grandfather shirt. Jackie and Ian swooped on me to supplement the stains and Becky grabbed the camera. I was set up, I swear it.

A Garden Of Delights

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Japanese anemone suspended petal 1Japanese anemone suspended petal 2Japanese anemone suspended petal 3

Watching the suspended petal of a Japanese anemone this morning set me musing. First I considered the strength of the thread that grasped it. As the flower part spun and twisted in the breeze, its captor clung on, just as it would with a fly’s frantically thrashing death throes.

On a more musical note, my head recalled the rhythmic tones of chirpy Chubby Checker from 1960:

This afternoon we went on an outing to Stratford Tony Manor House garden which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. It was my idea of a delightful garden.

Lakeside

There was space for large lawned areas, many trees, a stream, and a lake.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

The large borders, especially those planted against walls, were really rather splendid,

Couple admiring border

and admired by many,

Jackie admiring festooned wall

including Jackie.

Sculpture 1

There were a number of interesting sculptures.

Three girls sculptures

Three girls sculpture 2

The story behind those of three girls sheltering among cyclamen under a weeping willow is  rather endearing. Made some twenty years ago, they are the daughters of the family. The eldest, now brings her own child to visit the family home. This scene, reminiscent of Enid Blyton characters from an earlier time, has been brought into the 21st century with the subtle placement of a mobile phone. The standing child once had a tennis ball placed with  equal whimsy, but the dog kept taking it.

Fossilised stump

Two apparent sculptures were in fact fossilised stumps with polished tops.

Photographer photographed 1

A more modern garden ornament features in this photograph of a photographer and her subjects. We had a delightful conversation about this, and I gave them details of this blog.

Photographer photographed 2

The next picture I made of them will be a surprise to them. (I hope you like it, folks).

Visitors to garden 1

Some quite large groups of visitors wandered around, negotiating the sometimes steep slopes,

Tea Terrace

leading to the tea terrace where a very busy team of helpers kept us all supplied.

Flower arrangement

On each table was placed one or two very tastefully arranged vases of flowers.

Bridge

There were suitably placed bridges over the still lake;

Crossing the bridge

visitors enjoyed crossing them,

Lake 1

or just contemplating the tranquil scene,

Reflection

the tempting water,

Swan 1Swans 1

and the swans.

Gate

The nicely rusting iron gate to the kitchen garden contrasted with the green grass behind it, revealed by suitable excised symbols.

Field 1

At a short distance from Stratford Tony, an army helicopter chugged over crows in a recently harvested field

Field 2

now draped with striped curtains.

Back at home, Mr Chatty Man Chan of Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our evening meal with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the Kekfrankos.

Gooseberry

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This morning Jackie drove us around the east of the forest.

Pony on road

At East End we passed some ponies chomping by the roadside.

Lane

It was a narrow lane, so Jackie drove on and parked in a passing spot for me to walk back to photograph the scene.

Field and hedgerow 1Field and hedgerow 2

This is a small farming area with fields enclosed by hedgerows.

Ponies on road 1

Back up the hill and round the bend, I observed a novel method of clearing ponies from the road.

Ponies on road 2

What this driver did was to give the rear end of the white pony a gentle nudge with the vehicle’s nose and keep creeping forward.

Ponies and foals 1

In the field alongside stood, in awe, a little foal with a thought bubble above its head bearing the caption ‘Will I be like you when I grow up?’ I am not sure, however, that this was not a Falabella (named after its Argentine breeder, Julio) such as we encountered at St Leonard’s, further down the road.

Ponies 1

Falabella 1Falafella 2

This adult horse, lost in a group of larger ponies, rarely exceeds 75 cm. in height.

Ponies 2

Ponies 4

Two pairs in this group were indulging in heavy petting,

Ponies 5

which extended to love bites,

Ponies 3

Ponies 1

which was all rather difficult for the unfortunate, mournful-looking, gooseberry.

Lavender Farm 4

We visited the Lavender Farm at Plaitford where we enjoyed coffee and plants along with many other visitors.

Lavender Farm 1

Even before entering we could see that lupins and foxgloves were in abundance.

Lavender Farm 5

Many more plants at their peak were also on sale;

Lavender Farm 2

Lavender Farm 3

and, of course, numerous types of lavender,

Lavender Farm 8

Lavender Farm 7

also growing in the gardens. I am not sure which bird is represented by the avian topiary in the centre distance of this shot,

Lavender Farm 6

but this is surely an elegant swan.

Plough, Lavender Farm

Since our last visit a blue painted plough has been added to the interesting artefacts enhancing the beds.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. My choice of main meal was Ayre (fish) jalfrezi with special fried rice. We shared onion bahji, tarka dhal, and egg paratha. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Sheila drank sparkling water.

Footpaths

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Phonebox and postbox

This morning I walked around the perimeter of the field by the disused phonebox and in service postbox, through Honeylake Wood,

Footpath 3

and back across the slender ribbon footpath that will soon be obscured by the farmer’s crops.

Landscape

Oak trees are among the latest to bear leaves, but those beyond the field are beginning to burgeon.

The occasional light aircraft droned overhead; my feet rustled the driest surface that I have experienced through the wood; and harsh squawks of pheasants lent dissonance to the sweeter notes of smaller birds. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Moss-covered trunk

Water in the downward sloping ditch often reaches this moss-covered trunk.

CelandinesDitch

Celandines carpet its somewhat dehydrated banks,

Footpath 2

and the normally sodden undulating footpath leading up to the bridge over the stream had no inclination to inhale my shoes.

Fallen birch

Smaller trees, like this birch, have been left straddling the path

Footpath 1Private Keep Out

from which ramblers are not encouraged to stray.

Tree bent by wind

As readers will know, we are not far from the sea. Many unsheltered trees are bent into shape by the force of the prevailing winds.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, although it was very busy, we received the usual warm welcome and excellent food. My choice was lamb Taba Shashlik Jalfrezi with pilau rice and a share of onion bhaji and egg paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

High Street night sky

The sun was just thinking about setting as we emerged into the High Street.

 

The Weather

Those of my readers currently enjoying warm, or tolerating hot, summers in other parts of the world may not be aware of the weather we can normally expect in England less than a month away from our shortest day; and therefore be unable to appreciate the pleasant surprise we are now experiencing.

It was a springlike day as I took my Hordle Cliff top walk this morning. Ragged autumn Autumn leaves and rose hipsBlackberriesMushroomleaves and the more seasonal rose hips betrayed the true season, while fresh blackberry fruit belied it, as they each brightened the hedgerows; and mushrooms continued to flourish.Field

A magpie strutted about one of Roger’s fields. Like all avian predators, these birds normally Magpietake off at the approach of a human being, so I was lucky to obtain this shot, especially as it had its beady eye on me.

GrassNew grass, which will not grow at less than 10 degrees centigrade, was pushing its way up through fresh soil heaped around the posts of the recently replaced street lighting.

Camellia budsWe fear for our pink camellias, cajoled into producing unseasonal buds, for when the freezing frosts arrive, as they surely will, these must all perish.

Dog walkersGroup on shingleOn the cliff footpath and the shingle below, numerous dog walkers and family groups have been encouraged to emerge into the sunlight; and the charity books for sale outside a house on Booksthe way up to Shorefield, having recently given away to plants, are once more placed against the wall.

August 2014, normally the height of our summer, was one of the coldest on record, with some temperatures the lowest for 100 years. Perhaps all this goes some way to explaining why we Brits find the weather such a talking point.

Last night the air was so mild, and the Veranda so packed, that Jackie asked the waiting staff to open the windows beside our table. One of our favourite Hampshire Indian restaurants,the establishment coped brilliantly with the influx of customers flowing from the town’s Christmas shopping evening. The food was as good as ever. It was delivered promptly with efficiency and humour. This splendid eating place could not, however, have bettered the Old Post House chicken jalfrezi and delicious egg fried rice that Jackie produced this evening. This is not grovelling flannel, it is a genuine fact. The meal was completed with New York cheesecake. Jackie drank Peroni and I chose Saint Vigni Cotes du Rhone 2012.

The Clearances

It was too dark when I arrived home yesterday to see what had happened in the front garden next door. A team had spent the day clearing the jungle, including shaping the lonicera hedge that was invading the narrow pedestrian footpath at the front. Jackie made the acquaintance of the owners, whose story is theirs to tell. Front garden next doorThis photograph should be compared with that taken on the 8th. Mike, the postman, will no longer have to take care of his be-shorted legs when negotiating brambles.

This morning, continuing the work on the future rose garden, I cleared away the furthermost box hedge. Since it was bordered by bricks, which are easier to remove than Box hedgeconcrete slabs, this task was less back-breaking than the one I carried out two days ago. It was, however, slightly complicated by the fact that the posts of a pergola stood amongst it. Another unproductive shallow-rooted apple tree also had to be removed. Apple tree prunedThis afternoon, together, we reduced to a manageable level the one apple tree that stands a chance.

I printed up some pictures of Scooby, who had reminded our friend Sheila of her own, Maize field clearedlate, Jack Russell, Cressie, and walked down to the Shorefield post box and back to send them to her. Roger Cobb and his team had finished harvesting the forage maize crop.

Late this afternoon I received confirmation from Mark Vick who has supervised the process on my behalf, that almost everything belonging to the people who were living in my house has been removed today. Exceptions are the contents of the cellar and an additional freezer that is in the kitchen. This is not mine, and I was unaware that it had been connected and filled with food. It was lined up against a wall with other white goods, and couldn’t be accessed without moving the table. It is now crawling with maggots because I turned off the electricity and dumped the huge amount of food that filled my own large fridge freezer. Mark has turned the power back on to freeze down the contents. All these items will be removed next week.

Particularly in the minds of our friends in Ireland and Scotland, ‘The Clearances’, have an historical meaning over which resentment is still felt today. They represent sorry periods in the history of the United Kingdom which, depending on the outcome of the impending Scottish referendum, may or may not soon suffer an irrevocable rift. It was people who were being cleared from their homes, for similar and different purposes in each case.

In 1649, Oliver Cromwell set sail for Ireland from Milford Haven, determined to bring that country firmly under English rule. Having defeated the Irish armies, he forcibly transported almost three quarters of the population of Ulster, Leinster, and Munster to the fourth and poorest province of Connaught in the west. All classes of society were victims of this ‘ethnic cleansing’. Many thousands who resisted were sent to Virginia and the West Indies.

The Highland Clearances in Scotland, of the mid-18th and early 19th centuries was an attempt to eradicate the Clan and Highland way of life, escalated after the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, by the infamous, brutal, Duke of Cumberland. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children were evicted from their homes to make way for large-scale sheep farming. One difference in this case was that, although mass emigration resulted, it was not forced transportation. New towns sprang up, but many resorted to the cities, and in 1792, known as the ‘Year of the Sheep’, thousands took ship to make new homes in America, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of sublime sausage casserole, swede and potato mash, mange tout, broccoli and cauliflower, followed by ace apple and blackberry crumble. Jackie drank more of the lambrusco. My choice was Via di Cavallo chianti 2013.