Anna Lane

Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between Wales and Australia.

Later, wishing to keep our new car cleaner than our Modus workhorse when transporting garden refuse to Efford recycling centre, we bought a polythene dust sheet from Milford Supplies, then took a forest drive.

Anna is one of those ageless Lanes that, on our wandering, seems to have a characterful identity of its own. So narrow that should any vehicles encounter another head-on, unless they were prepared to

leave tracks on a slightly wider section of verge, one would be required to reverse quite some distance.

As I walked I idly wondered what I would do if I met a moving car. Maybe I would be lucky like the pheasants above and do so on the one spot where I could tuck myself in.

There is just about room for a slender motor to span the central lawn running down the middle, which is why the grass is such that many gardeners would me proud to mow it.

It is hoped that no-one would be suicidal enough to reach the permitted speed limit, albeit obscured by healthy sward, emblazoned on the pock-marked tarmac.

Jackie parked at the Sopley end of the road enabling me to walk along to photograph samples of the contents of the narrow, banked, verges.

Does anyone ever use this public footpath, I wondered?

I refrained from showing any other example of the food and drink containers lobbed from car windows, but MacDonald’s gets everywhere, doesn’t it?

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, with its usual excellent food, and friendly, efficient, service. My main choice was Lamb Taba Shaslick Jalfrezi; Jackie’s a tasty chicken dish; we shared pilau rice and peshwari naan, and both drank Kingfisher.

Careful Preparation

This morning I published https://derrickjknight.com/2023/07/12/livia/ which I finished reading yesterday.

The stiff breeze that sped through the plot on this sunny day was such that I was pleased that Nick Hayter, who, with his customary care, spent several hours preparing the crumbly pebbledash west wall for painting, was working on the lower levels of the scaffolding.

First he removed the old drainpipe that, at an angle, spanned the centre of the wall;

next he scraped off the crumbliest material

and coated the rest with a liquid fungicidal solution.

Jackie had spent the morning completing her clearance of a footpath through the Palm Bed. She had filled two compost bags with debris. After lunch I bagged up more and transported all to the collection on the Back Drive. I had taken my camera in order to photograph the footpath, and was diverted by

a variety of day lilies en route.

This evening we all dined on pork barbecue spare ribs; rice by Jackie and Becky; and Becky’s salad with her own dressing. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden; Ian and Dillon, Peroni; and I, All Out 21 Merlot.

To The Lawn Bed

Yesterday Jackie cleared the bank outside the Back Drive gate, leaving brushwood on the gravel path for attention today;

this morning she worked on removing the stump of a scentless and rarely flowering philadelphus, while

I cleared the Back Drive debris;

and further strengthened the arch spanning the Phantom Path by inserting supporting angle irons that she had recently begun. On this day of sunny intervals it was difficult to walk through the garden without admiring the

Brick Path looking towards the house,

or through the Gothic arch now festooned

with mina lobata.

Later, the Head Gardener completed the task of extracting the philadelphus stump, and that of

a leycesteria in the wrong place;

filling in the holes and covering the gaps with broken pieces of marble which once bore the much abused wood burning stove that we inherited from our vendors, thus completing the

opening of the view from the West Fence to the Lawn Bed. The last nine photographs are Jackie’s.

This afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/28/a-knights-tale-23-corporal-punishment/

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata; crisp broccoli, and tender green beans, with which she drank Dolomiti Pinot Grigio Blush 2020, and I drank more of the Faugeres.

Robin Visits Woodpeckers

The sunniest, coolest, part of another day of developing humidity was before we left this morning to visit Mum at Woodpeckers. Jackie took advantage of this to carry out an early spell of gardening.

I nipped out to photograph her Head Gardener’s Walk clearance, which she had completed yesterday evening, and she showed me the solid lump of hellebore root which had never produced flowers during our time here, that she had prised out of the soil and was too heavy for her to lift.

Mum was on very good form, conversing with wit and humour, especially when we commented on the haircut she had received just before we arrived;

and when she instructed Jackie to quarter a serviette offered because she had forgotten to bring her tissues. After each use the sections were neatly folded, possibly for further application later when they had dried out.

My mother can see very little now, but did struggle to catch sight of a fearless baby robin that darted overhead, paused in a small tree, perched temporarily on a rail in her eye-line, dived on an ants’ nest beneath, returned to the rail to digest its prey, then swooped across Mum’s shoulder, to repeat the process at will. Jean could see the flash of action. She could also hear the building work across the road and ask what was being erected.

More gardening was undertaken this afternoon. My contribution was extensive dead heading, and breaking up the hellebore roots pictured earlier. They were indeed too heavy to be carried in one dump bag, so I distributed them among several.

This evening we dined on roast beef, horseradish sauce, boiled potatoes, crisp Yorkshire pudding, crunchy carrots and broccoli, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Safe Distance Enjoyment

When a dull day began to brighten up we drove into the forest for a while.

Constantly changing skies,

reflected in pothole pools,

swept over the moorland bounding Holmsley Passage and its footpaths.

Sun-tipped ponies pastured on grass, bracken and holly on the borders of Burley golf course.

The forest car parks were all full to bursting. Overflow vehicles lined streets, lanes, and lay-bys. Nevertheless, visitors largely kept to their own discrete clusters.

Nowhere was this more apparent than at Rockford Sand Pit where family groups enjoying scaling the sandy hillside largely maintained social distance from each other.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank MV Reserve Malbec 2019 – a present from Shelly and Ron.

Reflective Collars

Late this morning Barry, our chimney sweep and roofer, visited to look at our leaking kitchen roof. He is very busy but, a good friend, will fit us in as soon as he can.

After lunch, with violent winds still blowing, we moved the now covered patio chairs to a more sheltered position beside the house.

This afternoon we enjoyed longer bouts of sunshine between the heavy showers.

Jackie parked beside Holmsley Passage up which I wandered for a while, photographing

the autumnal landscapes.

Jackie made two contributions. The second is “Where’s Derrick” (3).

As it is half-term for schools we have been visited by a number of cyclists, some of whom, with walkers

made use of the footpaths which are all that remains of the railway line axed by Dr Beeching

We continued to Bisterne Close where again Jackie parked and I wandered.

It was the dead birch against the deep indigo sky that tempted me out of the car to photograph additional trees and shadows; bright beech leaves; and old gold bracken.

From her car the Assistant Photographer watched a squirrel, its head drilling rapidly as it gripped the snack it was enjoying.

On our return through Holmsley Passage I communed with ponies in the woodland where

the low sunlight piercing the shadows demonstrated the efficacy of the reflective collars some of these creatures wear to increase their night-time visibility. Notice which of these do not have them fitted. In this age of Covid 19 we rarely see an infant wearing a mask. So it appears to be with foals and collars.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stoup, toast, and spicy pizza, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Trigales.

A Splendid Oak

On this hot, humid, and overcast morning our friend Giles visited for a tour of the garden he had not been able to enter since before the lockdown.

We enjoyed a pleasant catching up, continued over coffee inside.

This afternoon, after filling up with petrol, Jackie drove me to the north of the forest.

The ponies again gathered on Ringwood Road outside Burley, but largely stuck to the verges where they nibbled hedges and left deposits in driveways.

I disembarked at the Smugglers Road car park and climbed a well-trodden pony trail

so dry that it had partially turned to sand.

Various similar tracks wound across the arid moorland hillsides among the banks of purpling heather.

We drove along the lanes around Linwood where woodsmoke filled the air;

and along the cup de sac to Highwood where I aroused the curiosity of a pair of heavy field horses.

Just outside Ibsley a splendid oak stretched wide its arms.

This evening we dined on lean, slow roasted, brisket of beef; roast garlic potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender sweetheart cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.

A Clutch Of Clematis

Today was once more hot, humid, and overcast.

This morning I printed a copy of my recent photograph of Aaron for his parents. His A.P. Maintenance tasks included the repair of

the door of the Orange Shed which had managed to beat the shed itself to collapsing;

and to level the uneven, sagging, brick footpath which had kept tripping me up in the

Rose Garden, from the south west corner of which can be viewed

this hydrangea and fuchsia Magellanica.

Chequerboard is another fuchsia hanging beside clematis Niobe which scales the Gothic Arch;

clematis Madame Julia Correvon forms a serpentine diagonal with her neighbour sidalcea;

another clematis tops the arch spanning the Phantom Path in this view from the Cryptomeria Bed to the greenhouse;

today’s final scene contains two more clematis climbing the kitchen wall, among petunias, pelargoniums, fuchsia Delta’s Sara, Erigeron and more.

After lunch I spent some time clearing up clippings from Jackie’s morning maintenance and carrying trug-loads to the compost bins. Reading occupied the rest of my afternoon.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes including ipomoea batatas; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

“Where’s Derrick?”

Knowing that the temperature would drop and the leaden canopy overhead become a leaky colander throughout the day, we held back Jackie’s sunlit images from yesterday afternoon.

She had transformed this second footpath across the Rose Garden from a few days ago

to this, having also re-fixed the windblown mirror to the back fence. The poppies in the first picture have all been relocated.

Elsewhere backlit borage;

sunlit azalea;

and shadowy lily of the valley also caught her eye.

After lunch today I took advantage of a minor lull in the precipitation from above and photographed raindrops

pendant from solanum;

pearling  libertia;

pooling pelargoniums;

douching heuchera leaves;

bejewelling rosebuds;

caressing Queen of the Night;

refreshing rhododendrons;

purifying pale pink pieris;

cleansing clematis;

and slithering down Viulcan magnolia.

Some flowers, such as hellebores,

pansies,

and diurnal poppies, bowed their heads against the weight of the crown jewels.

While I was wandering around the garden Jackie, from the dry warmth of the kitchen,

photographed me in action.

She even managed “Where’s Derrick?” (1)

and (2)

This evening we dined on prawns: tempura prawns; prawns in hot, spicy batter; seeded prawn toasts; and Jackie’s savoury prawn, egg, and vegetable rice, followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard, with which she drank Heineken and I drank Piemonte Barbera 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fan Of Harry Potter

On another fine spring morning I took a walk to Shorefield Country Park and back.

Before arriving at the end of the back drive I photographed

a few tulips

and bunches of daffodils.

A cerulean Christchurch Bay could be seen from the entrance to Roger Cobb’s top field on Downton Lane.

Further down the road, what looked like a transparent bouquet wrapper added sparkle to the blackthorn.

I saw this because I had turned down the steeper slope from which I had reversed my steps on my last trip. This time I carried Elizabeth’s stick which helped my balance.

I had intended to continue to the end of Downton Lane, but the raucous cawing of rooks emanating from the otherwise deserted Shorefield Country Park became siren calls to the rookery that I knew would be

down a footpath from Shorefield Road to a collection of wooden holiday homes.

The red railed bridge at the far end of the picture I produced on the downward slope traverses the same stream as that crossed by the little road bridge in the image preceding that one.

The damp nature of the terrain is evidenced by the flora flanking the footpath.

It looks as if the corvine colony is at the nest building stage.

Whoever has reduced the 10 m.p.h. limit on Shorefield Road is a fan of Harry Potter.

Jackie’s savoury rice, stuffed as it is with red and yellow peppers and peas for colour; and onions, mushrooms, egg, and garlic for flavour, is a meal in itself. This evening she served it with spicy hot chilli con carne with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Valréas.