Planning A Garden

Richard from Kitchen Makers visited this morning to check measurements and discuss the work he will be doing for us in other rooms after mid-October. As always we spent quite a lot of time putting the world to rights.

Later, I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/09/24/a-knights-tale-39-down-the-drain-to-the-dome/

This afternoon we visited Elizabeth to discuss more of the arrangements for our mother’s funeral. We added to the information and opinions to be given to the vicar to help him with his address. Jackie summed up the changes Mum experienced from a childhood of taking a lighted candle upstairs to bed when there was no light on the stairs to six weeks ago conversing with her great granddaughter on a smart phone in our garden.

Later, the ladies walked around Elizabeth’s garden planning its development.

Naturally I hovered with a camera.

Afterwards Elizabeth produced a meal of well-filled and tasty chicken and leek pie with short crust pastry; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans from her own garden.

Our journey home was hindered by a chaotic traffic hold-up on the A337, forcing an emergency ambulance to cross a roundabout on the wrong side of the road, which was being caused by an extensive queue for petrol by drivers fearful of an impending shortage – despite being advised that this was not necessary.

“He’s Escaped Pannage”

On another wet and gloomy morning we drove to Setley Ridge Garden Centre to buy a present for Helen, whose birthday it is today.

Is there anything more dismal than a popular garden centre, normally thriving at weekends, to have hidden this sign beneath an empty display unit? Having done their best to beat Covid-19 and continuous rain the staff have succumbed

to closure, although they are hoping to reopen on 1st March.

Keeping to the safe side of the alarmed rope barrier, I recorded the bedraggled outlet while Jackie bought some replacement provisions in the farm shop. She then dropped me at home and toured other garden centres with a little more success.

This drier, warmer, still gloomy, afternoon we drove to Helen and Bill’s intending to leave presents and a card and run away. Happily, we were spotted and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with them and Rachel from over the front garden wall.

On our return journey, Jackie parked the Modus beside Roger Penny Way in order for me to commune with

sustenance-seeking donkeys and ponies.

At one point we were all distracted by thudding hooves as an equestrienne galloped across the somewhat sodden sward.

The pannage season which starts in the autumn and was this year extended to December is the period when ring-nosed pigs are freed to wallow in the mud in search of acorns and other mast which are poisonous to ponies. This little porker was seen and heard sploshing and snorting with glee, prompting Jackie to pronounce: “He’s escaped pannage”.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Dao.

A Significant Birthday

Today was far wetter and more windy that yesterday.

Jackie drove us to Setley Ridge Garden Centre to find a birthday present for Elizabeth. The paths were so pock marked and filled with water that it seemed sensible for my wife to recce the joint before I left the car.

I waited for a reasonable length of time watching rain streaming down the windows, until I though she had been in there long enough to think that we would be able to find something suitable.

I didn’t linger over the outside displays

before entering the internal arrangements of ornaments old and new laid out with the various plants for sale.

We settled on a nicely rusted cast iron garden snail, and also bought a card which we carried off to Elizabeth’s.

Ella had also been informed that this was her grandmother’s special day, because she had brought her mother, Danni, over for lunch.

At one point, Ella, sleeping on the sofa, briefly woke with a start and let out a distressed cry. Danni, simultaneously, on the other side of the room, had banged her head on the sharp corner of a shelf. She herself made no sound but rubbed her head in pain. Had there been some symbiotic communication?

While we were there Elizabeth’s friend Franz phoned her to wish her Happy Birthday from Manchester. She was, of course, able to see him on her mobile device.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice cottage pie, crisp carrots and cauliflower, and tender spring greens.

Well Camouflaged

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More snow fell overnight and earlier this morning, so off we went for a forest drive.

Before this we had to listen to the chattering of the residents of the garden who were beginning to feel the cold.

We headed for Crow, where we lunched at the Farm Café. Jackie parked beside Leybrooke Bridge on Dragon Lane, and I took a few photographs of lanes

and stream.

Scattering of snow on the moors, like these around Burley blended with pools, gorse, grass, bracken, and trees to produce sweeping throws of natural wool yarn.

The hardy ponies clung to the shelter of wooded areas where they fed on holly and gorse. Normally the greys stand out well against the greenery around them. Today, however, they were very well camouflaged.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime sausage casserole, mashed potatoes and swede, crisp carrots and piquant cauliflower swede. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015.

The Rat Catcher

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Barn owl sculpture

This is the owl our offspring gave Jackie for her birthday.

Pedestal etc

Clearly this splendid sculpture needed a plinth on which to perch. Fortunately I had noticed one in the very dealership from which we had purchased yesterday’s troughs. So back we went to Molly’s Den and bought it.

Chairs etc

Much more can be found in this emporium: chairs, table and settings;

Recordings

recordings old and new;

Figurines

figurines to every taste;

Bears

bears, of course;

Wooden boxes

boxes of possibly dubious provenance;

Headscarfs

headscarfs on mannequins;

Fairground signs 1Fairground signs 2

fairly optimistically priced peeling and faded fairground signs;

Copper jug

and bright copper artefacts, to select a few.

ponies outside The Rising Sun

On our return home, a cluster of ponies gathered outside The Rising Sun at Wootton. Were they perhaps waiting for lunch to be served?

Barn Owl sculpture on plinth

Rats continue to enter our garden from the empty and unkempt North Breeze next door. Perhaps that is the reason that Jackie wasted no time in allocating a place for the barn owl’s plinth beside the patio. I expect that benign looking predator appears rather different to a rodent.

Later, Jackie continued weeding and planting, while I fed this year’s compost pile and emptied the last of the matured one onto the Palm Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s bountiful beef casserole served with abundant boiled potatoes. She drank Peroni while I finished the madiran.

 

Happy Hunting

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Those who have read posts from April 2014 onwards will know that we moved into a house that had suffered from much bodged D.I.Y. We are only putting this right at a very slow pace.

Here is our badly painted crooked mantelpiece made from a bit of wood trimmed with beading. Note the gaps behind the tiles stuck onto the walls, and that between the shelf and the wall.

Fireplace surround

We can’t stand it any more, so we travelled to Ace Reclamation in West Parley to investigate surrounds created from reclaimed timber. We are now to submit a measured drawing to have one made for us.

Ace Reclamation entrance

Our morning was spent in heavy rain. Here is the entrance to the architectural salvage outlet. The staff member waving in the distance is acknowledging the postwoman who has just delivered the mail to

Ace Reclaim letter box through wet windscreen

an old postbox which serves as Ace Reclamation’s letterbox. This is what that looked like through our car windscreen.

Readers can already imagine that I wasn’t about to make a complete inventory in the rain, however I did what I could. This yard is a wonderful repository of artefacts and materials. There are garden ornaments and furniture galore, some of which, on past visits, has found its way to Downton. Figures in stone and bronze, a giant cockerel, carriage lamps, urns, tiles, timber, rust, telephone boxes, a suit of armour, a mangle, a garden roller, gargoyles, can all be found therein. You could enjoy happy hunting in reality, or, if you’d prefer to stay dry, virtually, through searching through these photographs.

Flooded woods 1

The wooded areas on either side of the long, unmade, road, the potholes in which give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘off the beaten track’, are waterlogged.

Ripples in ditch

The ditches are filling up fast,

Waterlogged trees 2

and flooding a paddock,

in which stood three damp horses, two of which were a sandy colour I have not seen before.

Gorse

Mind you, the gorse glowed a grateful golden yellow.

On our way home we visited Friar’s Cliff Café for brunch. There was just one other customer couple who had braved the blustery seafront to reach the comfort always available there.

Sea through café window 1

This was the sea through the rain-splashed window.

Anyone who has seen a photograph of a Friar’s Cliff Café breakfast will not be surprised to learn that a selection of small Asian snacks, such as samosas and spring rolls, more than satisfied us for our evening meal with which jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cahors.

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.