Our Head Gardener this morning toured the garden making
a pictorial record of its current condition now the full force of the heatwave seems to have subsided somewhat. Some may consider that the task which fell to me – loading the pictures into the computer, making the tiled gallery and titling the individual images with some additional information – was rather easier.
This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and broccoli; tender runner beans, and flavoursome gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Bordeaux, and Flo and Dillon drank Ribena.
This morning Karen and Barry visited to see the photograph albums we have been preparing for them. All I have left to do is to stick almost 200 photos in place. Although, in order to tell the story of the day, the final selection will be placed in clicked order,
the couple are more than happy for this fairly random set to be posted tonight, so that all their friends will be able to see them and get a taste of the full story of the day. As usual, clicking on any image will access the gallery which bears a title for each picture.
Late this afternoon I watched the UEFA Women’s Cup Final between England and Germany, after which we all enjoyed dinner consisting of tender roast chicken and Jackie’s omelette-topped savoury rice with which she finished the Pinot Grigio the completion of which I had assisted by knocking her first glass over; Dillon held tight to his Ribena; and I finished the Shiraz Cabernet without mishap.
(THE TITLE IS THE RESULT OF AN ERROR ON MY PART. AS SEVERAL COMMENTERS HAVE POINTED OUT, MY ASPIDISTRA IS A PLUMBAGO. AH, WELL, IT GAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE GRACIE FIELDS. I WON’T CORRECT MY TEXT, BECAUSE THE JOKE IS NOW ON ME, BUT THANKS ARE DUE TO ALL MY EDITORS 🙂
Even though today was Easter Sunday, and the weather was blustery and showery with occasional sunshine, Aaron and Robin finished weeding the gravel paths in the garden.
This afternoon I scanned the penultimate batch of Barbados negatives from March 2004.
These were the last few from the Bridgetown walk and the first from around the Sugar Cane Club hotel to which we transferred when realised that our initial choice, at the southernmost tip of the island, was so far from Port St Charles where Sam would be ending his epic row.
I would be grateful if anyone could identify this rather magnificent tree with its root tentacles.
Here are some more roadside dwellings, both fixed and chattel examples, all with beautifully rusting corrugated iron roofs;
I also learned that Gracie Fields’s claim for her brother Joe was probably rather dubious.
Their aspidistra couldn’t have been as big as this one.
Our new hotel, near the shores of the Atlantic, was well equipped with sun loungers.
The Ocean itself bore out Homer’s description of the ‘wine-dark sea’.
This evening we dined on roast duck; roast potatoes; colourful and crunchy carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and gravy so full of goodies as to accommodate a standing spoon. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished one bottle of the madiran and poured a glass from the next, with which I will continue now.
It is now 9.30 p.m. I f I finish this post this evening it will be a miracle, because, so far, much of it has been spent having useless and frustrating conversations with someone in India about lack of BT Broadband connection.
This morning Jackie drove us to Helen’s home in Poulner where we decanted into Helen’s car, in which she drove us to Lavender Farm at Landford, just inside Wiltshire. Taking in lunch we spent the best part of the day enjoying another splendid late summer’s day, before reversing the process.
The farm is an outlet for many wonderful plants, seen at their best on such a beautiful day.
There was, of course, a plentiful supply of lavender, but also very much more.
From the moment we entered, it was clear that the displays for sale were all as attractive as this one for cacti.
The three of us wandered around the gardens. I photographed the two ladies.
Sometimes just the beds;
or other people, like these two admiring the vegetables;
and these taking tea.
A couple I noticed sitting among the flowers were Brian and Sandra. Having taken the first picture from some distance away, as is my wont when I have not asked for permission, I walked along the narrow path to their bench, and sought it in retrospect. A very pleasant conversation ensued and they happily posed for a second picture. Brian turned out to have a collection of some 3,000 colour slides, mostly of historic Southampton, and was wondering how to digitise them. I described my scanner and advised them how to go about the task.
The garden was clearly troubled by wasps in July.
There is no charge for enjoying this haven, but charitable donations are encouraged.
Of course we bought some plants. Apart from smaller ones like heucheras and salvias, three roses on Jackie’s collection list just had to be acquired.
The first was Gertrude Jekyll, named after the famous gardener.
This is from the website in her honour: Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), created some 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America; her influence on garden design has been pervasive to this day. She spent most of her life in Surrey, England, latterly at Munstead Wood, Godalming. She ran a garden centre there and bred many new plants. Some of her gardens have been faithfully restored, wholly or partly, and can be visited. Godalming Museum has many of her notebooks and copies of all her garden drawings, (compiled and sorted by members of the Surrey Gardens Trust); the original drawings are in the University of California, Berkeley.
Her own books about gardening are widely read in modern editions; much has been written about her by others. She contributed over 1,000 articles to Country Life, The Garden and other magazines. A complete list of every book and article written by her is in the Bookshop section of this site. A talented painter, photographer, designer and craftswoman; she was much influenced by Arts & Crafts principles.
William Nicholson painted this portrait of her in October 1920.
Next came Lady Emma Hamilton.
Wikipedia tells us that:
Emma, Lady Hamilton (26 April 1765; baptised 12 May 1765 – 15 January 1815) is best remembered as the mistressof Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney. She was born Amy Lyon in Ness near Neston, Cheshire, England, the daughter of Henry Lyon, a blacksmith who died when she was two months old. She was raised by her mother, the former Mary Kidd, at Hawarden, and received no formal education. She later changed her name to Emma Hart.
Finally, has the rose Mamma Mia anything to do with Abba?
Readers may be amused to learn the reason that my first attempts at photographing these last two roses produced very bleary images. This is because a very small insect had become ensnared in Helen’s chutney. Not being able to identify it with the naked eye, I thought that if I photographed it with the macro facility it would be possible to do so. The creature turned out to be a small wasp. But I had poked the lens into the chutney, with the obvious results. My handkerchief was not adequate for the task of cleaning the glass, so I had to use a lens cloth when we got home, and photograph the roses here.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, with chicken samosas. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.
It is many years since I visited the cinema during the daytime, possibly not since my teens. Emerging from the gloom of the colonnaded arbour that is Running Hill in leaf bearing a steady drip of rain from the now adequately dressed branches of the trees, the dazzle of the new road markings at Seamans Corner reminded me of the blinking reaction on leaving the darkness required for viewing the silver screen and encountering the sunshine of London streets. There must have been some bright days in the 1950s. Many of the cinemas in their heyday had doors near the gents marked ‘Push Bar To Open’. This was how you got out. It was also worth sussing out before you entered, because if someone had not closed it properly you were in in a flash. I’m not much of a cinemagoer now, and receive enough pocket money, so I wouldn’t know if this method of ingress and egress still exists.
As I returned up the hill, having, appropriately for today, walked ‘The Splash’ ford loop, I was reminded of the times there were problems with the film projectors in my youth. Sometimes the reel just snapped, sometimes it needed replacing. A grainy crackling would be heard and the screen go blank. It was just like the splattering of the rain on the canopy above my head.
When we lost the picture, there would be catcalls and we would all look up at the projectionist’s window. Through the fanned out beam from his equipment threaded wreaths of cigarette smoke, just like the swirling spray obscuring the vehicles in front of us on the M27 during today’s later drive to Hedge End to buy Jackie’s birthday present of bird-watching binoculars.
16th April 2009 was a very different day in Bergerac than it has been this year either in Hampshire or Aquitaine. This was the day I bought my French raincoat. It’s a pity it wasn’t a trench coat. Wouldn’t that have rolled off the tongue? The purchase was recorded on 24th. Elizabeth was there, with Chris and Frances, to witness the event. She can even prove it, for she took photograph number 19 in the ‘through the ages’ series, after the thunder storm that made it necessary. She had been there, moments earlier, in the glowing sunshine smiling down on Bergerac old town, as I walked away from the pigeons towards the glorious flower displays which she subsequently immortalised. Then, my maroon velvet jacket sufficed.
In order to do this post justice, Elizabeth sent me her photographs by e-mail. Nothing, of course goes smoothly on our broadband, so once again BT rejected my password and refused to deliver this evening’s illustrations. I had my routine conversation with the technician who took over my screen and solved the problem. Given that I was rather less than patient, his tolerance was greatly to be commended.
Jackie provided a liver, bacon, and sausage casserole with a plentiful variety of well-timed vegetables followed by rice pudding, for our dinner tonight. Lovely grub. I drank some Carta Roja gran reserva 2005. I’ll be sorry when Sainsbury’s stop selling that at half price.