A False Sense Of Security

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Often other people’s posts, or their comments on mine, jog my memory for events that should be included in ‘A Knight’s Tale’. One such was a post of The Lonely Author, read today. This is my comment on Drew’s poem: ‘A superb poem which reminds me of my Dad. Dad was not a letter writer. Once, after I had been on a week’s holiday in my teens, he presented me with an unfinished, pencilled, missive that he had not posted. It was a beautiful tribute to me as his son. I carried it in my wallet for years – until the wallet was stolen. He has been dead 31 years. I still treasure the lost letter.’ Suitably amended, it has been added to my draft.

Conversations also provide suitable triggers. One with Elizabeth, concerning alarm bells, this morning prompted a retelling of the tale of ‘A Little White Lie’. This is one of the many Soho stories from the 1970s. It has to be included in my life story.

Although Jackie has begun to transfer many of the less hardy plants to the greenhouse,

 many geraniums,

begonias,

roses,

and fuchsias have been given a false sense of security by, despite the lack of sunshine, the shirtsleeves weather we are currently experiencing.

Chrysanthemums, Japanese maples, and the Weeping Birch leaves betray the season;

as does the winter clematis, whose cousin, on the other side of the gazebo has been fooled into another flush.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea to investigate the situation at Sears Barbers during the recovery of Peter from a recent knee replacement operation. Opening days and hours are to be flexible – may my barber’s knee be equally so soon. We then drove into the forest where

the finger of King Midas stretched across the skies to begin the process of turning the leaves of our deciduous oaks to gold.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb pasta arrabbiata with tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc while Elizabeth and I drank Marco Tempranillo 2016

 

Up And Down The Garden Path

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Between phone calls wrestling with internet connection problems, while Jackie began the process of moving the less hardy plants to their winter quarters in the greenhouse, I wandered around the garden inspecting the surprises it still holds for us. Being a natural optimist I hoped I would be able to post my findings later.

We have a profusion of prolific fuchsias, not all of which I can name. A bee clambered dozily into one of the Delta’s Sarahs.

Cyclamens grace the stone tubs on the front wall, and various beds, such as that of the Weeping Birch, also home to asters, begonias, geraniums, petunias, bidens, and a red carpet rose.

Begonias

 geraniums and petunias also bloom in other beds and containers.

 

The primula survives in the West Bed; a little blue iris reticulata in the raised bed; a clematis once again scales the potting shed trellis;

the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, such as that in a container in front of the garage, stands proud beside its neighbouring nasturtiums, and the honeysuckle and solanum ascending the right hand trellis.

This morning glory may have been a late developer, but it is making up for lost time; hot lips are persistently, provocatively, pursed.

My wanderings involved a few trips up and down the Brick Path.

It must be more than thirty years since I bought our now threadbare but structurally sound Chesterfield sofa from Heal’s. This afternoon it was removed for reupholstering.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent pork chops with mustard and almonds; new potatoes; crisp carrots; tender cabbage and sautéed peppers and onions. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Réserve de Bonpas 2016. This meal prompted me tell the relevant story that was told in ‘Chamberlayne Road’.

 

Nearly November? Never!

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After early morning rain we enjoyed intermittent sunshine. A wander around the garden produced much evidence of continued growth.

This afternoon Jackie drove herself and me to Ringwood where I collected printing paper and inks from Wessex Photographic and she bought a winter coat at M & Co. We continued into the forest.

Trees along its banks were reflected in the stream at Ibsley,

where a loan pony, ignoring a sudden spurt of rain, surveyed passers-by within sight of a tree of massive girth,

beyond which a group of youngsters enjoyed the use of a tyre swing.

We stopped at Hockey’s Farm Shop to buy a joint of pannage pork, reputed to offer a special flavour. A couple of ponies wandered along the road outside; two field horses, like most others, as protection against the expected colder nights, now wear their rugs.

As we near Remembrance Sunday an outlined World War I combatant has appeared on a wall near Hockey’s; cutouts have patrolled around New Milton throughout the summer; an army nurse stands near Barton on Sea.

From the clifftop at Barton we were given a clear view of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse; while beyond the golf course behind us we could see rain falling.

Synchronised gulls perched on fence posts, until one flew off over another.

As I wandered around the garden I had found myself thinking ‘is it really nearly November? Never’. Pannage pork, horses in rugs, and the Lest We Forget memorials perhaps suggest otherwise.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika served with savoury rice and crisp cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Pulpito Tempranillo 2016. This was followed by the Culinary Queen’s honey and treacle tart.

 

 

 

The Sun Gleefully Exclaimed

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Well into this glorious October spell we still have a profusion of blooms brightening the garden.

Here is a small selection.

Jacqueline spent the day meeting James and Mark and visiting Mum. Late this afternoon Jackie drove me around the forest.

Two ponies foraging on Sowley Lane were caked in dried mud up to their flanks. We wondered where they had been. In the gradually filling ditches perhaps.

Further on, against the backdrop of the ancient granary barn ruins outside St Leonard’s Grange, another somnolent equine group cast long shadows across the sward.

We passed our home and drove on to Mudeford in order to admire the expected sunset. Ultimately sinking rapidly, the sun gleefully exclaimed at the view.

In the fading light gulls squabbled over food tossed skywards by a kindly couple and gentler hues replaced the earlier golden glow.

This evening, Jackie and I dined on her splendid sausage casserole; sautéed potatoes and onions; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

 

Can It Really Be October?

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Today I took several strolls around the garden, marvelling at what we still have in bloom. Some of the flowers should be long gone. This is simply a selection. Identification can be found from the gallery captions. As can be seen from the orange poppy, geranium Rosanne, and hot lips shots, hover flies and bees still prowl for pollen. Can it really be October?

This evening Jackie produced a splendid roast chicken meal complete with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, some of which were sweet; crunchy carrots, and cauliflower; tender runner beans and Brussels sprouts. She had drunk her Hoegaarden whilst cooking. Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Mendoza Morador 2016.

Afterwards, having been pointed in the right direction by my blogging friend Paol Soren, I attempted to comply with the popular request for photographs of the fairyland produced by our solar lights, some of which may be seen festooning the earlier daylight pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have a tripod, so there is a little more movement than would normally be seen. Now I have a better idea of what I am doing, I will have a go with Elizabeth’s tripod.

I Took A Tumble

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Ronan and Mark of Tom Sutton Heating are well on schedule with our new installation. We have hot water. After another couple of days all will be completed.

Jackie continued her work on garden maintenance this morning and I dead-headed a few token roses this afternoon.

Crown Princess Margareta

and Mamma Mia are two of those that keep on giving;

as is Compassion, kindly climbing over the Dead End Path.

Clematis Sieboldii, masquerading as a Passion flower, has surprised us by blooming in the last few days;

geraniums are keeping pace with nasturtiums;

and bees continue their dalliance with dahlias.

Our National Trust has adopted the practice of placing a thistle on the seat of antique chairs in order to deter people from sitting on them. One of our metal chairs in the rose garden has come apart. Naturally it will be used as a planter rather than despatched to the dump. In the meantime, following the National Trust, Jackie has plonked a pot of chrysanthemums thereon.

Later, we drove along Cowpits Lane, Ringwood, turning into Linford Road, which we had not previously traversed. This proved to be a winding tree-lined lane of which the ponies claimed ownership.

The large foal that appears in the first picture of the long gallery attracted my attention as it began licking the tarmac in the middle of the road. The creature was oblivious of the car waiting behind it. I waved my arms about a bit attempting to draw it out of the way. This was to no avail. The driver emerged from his vehicle and adopted a hands on approach. I turned my back on the approaching animal, as it came towards me. This was in order to remove myself from its path. I was going to have to descend a steeper incline than I would have liked. As to be expected my pace increased to an involuntary run. The terrain levelled out, and so did I.

The concerned driver’s female companion yelled to alert him to what had happened. Slaloming around the grazing ponies, Jackie dashed out of the Modus. She and the driver soon stood on either side of me. I lay on my back, quite comfortably working out how I was going to get up. I rolled over and reached for helping hands. Jackie picked up the camera which had dented my forehead and raised my left cheekbone.

This looked much worse than it was. I only had a small cut and a little bruise. More importantly, I now know I can fall over and get up – quite a fear when you’ve just had a new knee fitted. No cameras were harmed in this production.

Elizabeth stayed at Mum’s tonight. Jackie and I dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent  fare. Mrs Knight finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bedmaking

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This year we have enjoyed a bumper crop on the apple tree we inherited. Previously it has produced just a handful of weedy fruit which never came to anything. I picked a few after lunch.

On this gloriously warm and sunny day, Jackie continued with the refurbishment of the Weeping Birch Bed on which she has spent many hours over the last few days. Like many of the beds in the garden, this one has been laid over solid concrete, the soil gradually seeping through the dry brick and stone retaining wall onto the gravel which we laid down a couple of years ago. Most plants were now rooted in very few inches of earth. The Head Gardener has rebuilt the wall; sifted much soil and gravel; cleared an access footpath; replenished the soil with compost; weeded and replanted, along the way digging out stray rocks, including tufa.

Experts are now dictating that asters should now be called something long and forgettable, yet the Autumn Jewel variety now settled in its new home does not bear the new nomenclature. We will therefore continue to term the plants beside the rose that has no name, facing self-seeded bidens across the brick path, as we have done all our lives.

We are enjoying a variety of the once unfashionable dahlias,

some of which,

like these euphorbia and kniphofia, still attract bees and wasps,

as, especially, do sedums, now rivalling geranium in richness of red.

This Small White butterfly rented the verbena bonariensis on a short term lease from the bees.

Geraniums, lobelia, and Japanese anemones continue to thrive;

while, in the Rose Garden, Mama Mia and Absolutely Fabulous are among those furnishing further flushes.

This evening we finished Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Patrick Chodot’s Brouilly 2016.