Jackie Frost

Although it wasn’t to last long, we awoke to our first proper frost of the season

Jackie photographed the panoramic views from the dressing room and from the garden bedroom upstairs.

She then toured the garden and brought back this gallery of images. As usual titles are given on accessing the gallery with a click on any of the pictures. The sun soon brought the temperature up and each one of the wilted plants on display had returned to its full glory by midday.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendidly matured succulent sausage casserole; creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender curly kale; and red cabbage imbued with the piquancy of vinegar and soy sauce.

Helen Eales’s Artwork

This morning I was engaged in several telephone conversations concerning my second knee replacement operation scheduled for two days time. Ten days or so ago I had been experiencing symptoms of what could have been a urinary tract infection soon after my satisfactory flexible cystoscopy. I understood that the operation could not be undertaken if I had an infection. I had therefore begun taking a series of antibiotics whilst awaiting the testing of a urine sample. Two days ago the result came informing that I had no infection. I stopped taking the tablets. Although the symptoms are still evident they have desisted somewhat. I have now been advised that it should be possible to go ahead with the surgery. Oh, joy.

Another session on ‘A Knight’s Tale’ involved extracting material from ‘Six Leg Byes’ and, including an illustration, from “I’ve Got To Go And Do It for Grandpa”.

In Milford on Sea this afternoon we visited our GP to order a repeat prescription; Sears Barbers for me to have a haircut; and the Community Centre to admire Helen’s pictures on display. The work has only been on the walls for few days, yet we were too late to see one which had already been sold.

Here are ‘Winter Willows Dreams of Warmer Days’ (Pen & Ink and Watercolor) and ‘Humming Bird’ (Watercolour);

‘Humming Bird’ alone;

‘Ferdinand The Frog’¬†(Watercolour);

‘Dragonfly on Willow’¬†(Watercolour);

and ‘Cottage Retreat’ (Pen & Ink).

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak where my choice of meal was a perfectly cooked, piled high, mixed grill; Jackie’s was a beef burger in a brioche bun with French fries, equally well cooked. I drank Merlot and Jackie drank Amstell. The pub is only four doors away, but we could have done with being carried home.


In Lindum House Garden


When conversing with Flo about a set of photographs made at Lindum House in Newark some years ago, she told me that they were taken when she was a little older than I had thought. I then realised that I should have been looking for colour slides, not the negatives I had presumed lost. I scanned the pictures produced in May 2005.

Those I had particularly remembered were of our granddaughter playing with a frog from the pond, which aroused the interest of Matthew’s dog, Oddie.


Mat had also come up for a visit.


Louisa and Errol enjoyed a game of tennis. Oddie tried hard to join in.

Drinks were taken on the picnic bench.

Flo joined in the tennis, then,

no longer needing a push, enjoyed a swing. By now she had changed her attire,

as did Louisa and Errol, for an evening out.

This afternoon the four of us went shopping at Castle Point, near Bournemouth. We drove round and round the packed car park for ages before managing to leave the cars and do battle with other sales shoppers. New clothes for Flo, and a new handbag for Jackie were purchased.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s delicious beef in red wine; mashed potato and swede, new potatoes, carrots, and runner beans. Ian drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.


Ever-Changing Skies


Fence and compost bins

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance has recently completed the last section of fencing, and reorganised the compost bins. Today, he and his nephew Rory took away some of the resultant rubbish. This photograph is one of the few that I was able to take today in sunshine and with a dry camera.

During the rest of the day I was in and out to the garden attempting a few photographs of plants enjoying the sunshine and the showers. Perhaps only the duck and the frog were really in their element. The rain bejewelled primulas, daffodils, camellias, clematis cirrhosa, hellebores, iris, pulmonaria, and faux poppy sat for me quite nicely.

By mid-afternoon I conceded victory to the wind which enforced such rapid changes in the skies that all this last batch of pictures were produced within minutes during which rain fell continuously. Clouds rolled rapidly across the Heavens, sometimes concealing, sometimes revealing the sun

Holly trunk

throwing its glowing light on this holly trunk against a sludgy bank of cloud.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie, creamy mashed potato and swede, red cabbage, crunchy carrots, leeks, and onions. I finished the merlot.

Flo’s Frog

Soon after midday Jackie and I drove to New Milton to collect our friend Sheila who has joined the family group. After lunch, Jackie, Flo, Sheila, and I went on a hunt for Becky, Ian, and Scooby, who had gone ‘to the beach’. They were not at Milford on Sea. They were not at Barton on Sea. We left them various mobile messages which they eventually picked up when they got home, and we were at Barton on Sea. Inevitable, I suppose. We joined them at home, where they told us the story of the Scotch egg. Whilst on the beach they watched a family having a picnic. A seagull swooped on the food and made off with a whole Scotch egg. This was clearly too heavy for it. It dropped it. Right under their dog, Scooby’s, nose. Manna from Heaven. He didn’t stop to question his luck. He devoured it immediately.
Our conversations ranged through cricket, crosswords, community projects like Commonside in Mitcham, and local politics. Commonside, where Becky worked for ten years, is in the London Borough of Merton; Jackie worked for Merton Social Services Department for more that thirty years; Sheila, Director of Merton Mind until the funding ran out earlier in the year, and a Merton Councillor for more than fifty years, had trained as a Social Worker with me at Croydon in the class of 1969/70. We had not known it before, but in our teens Sheila and I both frequented the Oval, Surrey County Cricket ground, and Sheila had worked opposite Mitcham Cricket Club’s ground which prompted the story of ‘Six Leg Byes’ told on 17th June 2012. The main cricket focus today came from this the third day of the Old Trafford Test match between England and India. England won the game in very quick time, two days early.Jackie and Sheila 2
I accompanied Jackie giving Sheila a tour of the garden. Japanese anemonePenstemonWe have an even darker pink variety of Japanese anemone now in bloom, and the penstemons are flourishing.
In addition to the jewellery Flo is spending her time making, she has started to produce wire animals, bringing all her natural skill in reproducing a wide range of creatures, perfectly proportioned and with life-like stances, in a variety of art forms. Flo's frog 2She used my camera to photograph a frog and e-mail it to a friend. She was very patient as I stumbled my way through explaining the the process on my iMac.
This evening we all dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole (recipe), mashed potato, and crisp vegetables, followed by jelly and ice cream. Lambrusco, Marquis de St.Vincent Medoc 2012, and Hoegaarden were the drinks on offer.