Rather More Than I Did

This morning a made some headway in loading inks for the Epson SureColor P600 printer

These are the instructions;

here is the box of the nine inks and the slots for positioning them;

this is the row of inserted inks.


When setting up yesterday I was asked to select my language, namely English. I did. Everything in the lit up information panel is now in another tongue. While the automatic 10 minute process was continuing, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand this. When I got to loading the paper I needed to follow instructions I couldn’t read.

I then tried to download the software. This was meant to be done by Wi Fi. This required the identity of my router and its password key. I entered those. I was then told the printer could not be found. There was an option to download with a USB. None was supplied.

Fortunately at this point I had to give up to receive Margery and Paul who visited for coffee. After this pleasant interlude, I enjoyed my lunch and watched the recorded World Cup rugby match between Scotland and Russia.

Jackie, in the meantime, had been happily planting with the usual interference from Nugget.

He eyes up every hole Jackie digs,

and pounces on it,

sometimes using the trowel as a springboard. This procedure usually means that Jackie sits with a plant in her hand for a good ten minutes until her little hindrance has stepped aside.

Now “Where’s Nugget?” (34).

Later this afternoon I had another attempt at downloading the printer software. It is no good. I need help.

After a heavy shower I walked around the garden to cool myself down and cheer myself up.

Raindrops were in evidence,

and the various beds sparkled – rather more than I did.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips and Garner’s pickled onions with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casilllero del Diablo reserva Malbec 2018.


The Last Day Of Summer

I’m told that this is the last day of our summer. So I took a walk round the garden.

Here is a random set of views which are, as usual, entitled in the galleries;

and here, literally on the Heligan Path, is the hardest “Where’s Nugget?” (11) yet. With a sense of fairness I have given you that clue and placed him in the centre of the Header Picture.

This afternoon and evening we attended a family barbecue at Shelly and Ron’s to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, Here the happy couple toast each other. Neil, and Jackie can also be glimpsed.

Ron provided a range of kebabs, sausages, and chicken on the barbecue, while Shelly produced salads and puddings. Various beers and wines were consumed. We sat in the garden until dark, discussing politics, religion, and putting the world to rights.

A Touch Of Snow

Jackie needed to be as nippy as the air outside to photograph her aerial garden views in the rapidly melting snow this morning.

Her next subject was the snowcapped owl first captured in the patio through the sitting room window. Having wrapped herself up he became her first subject as she continued outside in the garden.

Yesterday’s frost-touched frogs were now also capped with snow.

Another view across the Kitchen Bed towards the Rose Garden reveals the protective shrouds placed as preservation over the more vulnerable plants.

The Rose Garden can be seen beyond Sculpture Florence, standing with dry feet on gravel. The Winter Season figure has collected an appropriate amount of precipitation.

From the Oval Bed beside the Rose Garden our eyes take us across the Weeping Birch Bed down the Back Drive.

Another snowy owl perched on the low wall surrounding the Palm Bed.

The owl could have been contemplating the wheels on the opposite side of the path.

This evening we dined on grilled gammon steaks; roasted butternut squash; potato and swede mash; sautéed peppers, onions, and red cabbage; tangy broccoli and cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans.

Soon I will be settling down to watch BBC’s coverage of the first match of this year’s Six Nations rugby tournament – that between France and Wales.

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.

Apple Or Ice Cream?


Knowing that today would be the hottest May bank holiday on record prompted a trip to Lyndhurst for a spell of people watching.

On our way, Jackie parked opposite The White Hart in Milford Road on the outskirts of Lymington so that I could walk back to the roundabout and photograph the bluebells and other wild flowers on the banked verges. As I returned to the car along the footpath, a couple of cyclists approaching me from behind asked me to “excuse” them. I was unable to move out of the way, even if I had been so inclined. They were forced to pop up onto the grass, but thanked me anyway.

Eventually Lyndhurst High Street and its traffic became so crowded that it was impossible to focus on anything from my perch on one of the benches beside the pillar boxes, so we went home.

The High Street is approached down the hill beside the parish church of St Michael and All Angels. The Antiques Centre stands next to Down to the Wood where Romsey Road forms a T junction. On this corner people tend to stand to make up their minds which way to go next.

Often, like this couple pausing at Paws in the Forest, they will wander up the hill and return with an ice cream purchased at

the outlet advertising its wares with its outsize cone. One little girl chose an ice cream to match her blue sandals.

Cornets were definitely the treat of choice, although one gentleman preferred an apple.

Judging by the number of mobile homes, some carrying bicycles, in the perpetual stream of traffic, many travellers were making their way back to London or to Southampton.

Woman with mobile phone

At least one mobile phone was in evidence.

Man carrying toddler

One gentleman was in need of liquid fuel as he carried his toddler.

Family groups

and others, walked aided or unaided, with or without dogs, occasionally pushing bikes, thronged the pavement, crossing the road when there was a gap in the traffic.

This afternoon, I joined Jackie for her gardening break in the Westbrook Arbour, facing the Phantom Path. These views met our eyes.

With this evening’s meal of pepperoni pizza and plentiful salad, I finished the pinot noir since I had preserved some from our drinks on the patio. Jackie had consumed all her Hoegaarden.



The Elements Intervened


Jackie made serious inroads into the winter clearance of dead growth yesterday, the first time she has been able to get at it for some weeks. She continued today, and after I had taken bird’s eye views containing dancing sunbeams, I managed a little clearing up. In one of these pictures, the Head Gardener stands on the Brick Path inspecting the West Bed; in another she bewails a weevil infested potted heuchera which she will painstakingly clear of the little; beasties; in another I have managed an unwitting selfie.

My house in France has been on the market ever since I was forced personally to evict squatters in August 2014. The story of the process unfolds in my posts ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night‘, ‘On The Road‘, and ‘The Departure‘.

A little over six months ago a buyer was found. I have not mentioned this before because I couldn’t be sure a sale would really happen, and I didn’t want to bore either myself or my readers with all the negotiations. I won’t go into the delays and repeated errors that held up the process. I wasn’t even confident that the completion date of 31st March would be met. This turns out to have been sensible, because it didn’t happen.

The elements intervened. France has experienced even more rain than we have. Such weather makes the house a little vulnerable to an underground stream. For that reason an electric pump is installed in the cellar.

On 12th March the estate agent and buyer discovered that the cellar was flooded up to the fourth step, and that there was no electricity in the house.

The agent’s husband undertook to pump out the water. He used his own generator. The electricity company couldn’t investigate until after Easter. They established that there was a fault on the line outside the property.

Cellar flood 3

There had been more rain. The fuses kept tripping. The power points in the cellar needed drying out. This was done with a hair dryer. Yesterday evening I received the information that all was well and that completion would take place at 7 p.m. today.

I received a call afterwards to say that  the completion had been carried out.

Roast pork meal

This evening we dined on roast pork with perfect crunchy crackling, sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce, sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions, boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans, with tasty gravy. Jacki drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Lirac.



Once more, today was scorchingly hot. Apart from gentle tidying up, watering was the order of the day.

Garden view towards Rose Garden

The hose in this garden view was trained on the Rose Garden, where

Rose Garden 1

pink foxgloves, golden heucheras, and blue clematises romp among roses like the yellow Laura Ford, and deep red roseraie De L’Hay;

Rose Garden 2

where pink Summer wine, and white Madame Alfred Cariere cover the blue wooden entrance arch;

Rose Garden 3

where Summer’s sculpted image just manages to peep through For Your Eyes Only;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and where Jacqueline du Pré has been fortunate to find shade.

Poppies 1Poppies 2Poppy 1

Giant poppies blaze in the first view above.

Bronze fennel, poppies, Canterbury bells

There are more alongside Canterbury bells and bronze fennel on the north side of the Back Drive,

Viper's bugloss and geranium palmatum

where viper’s bugloss, given to us by Giles in order to cater for bees, burgeons before geranium palmatums;

Rose Dearest and libertia

and where the buxom rose Dearest can just about hold up her head.

Clematises and gladioli

Clematises and gladioli thrive in the row of deep plastic window boxes that divides the Back Drive from the garden proper.

New Bed

Alongside this display stands the New Bed.

California poppies 1California poppy

We have California poppies in the Cryptomeria Bed,


on the other side of which my favourite rhododendron is now blooming.

The last three days of sunshine have brought opulence to the garden.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, mashed swede and potato, carrots, cauliflower and runner beans, all cooked to perfection by the Culinary Queen, who finished the Bergerac blanc while I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.