Her Autumn Garden

Jackie spent the day in her element, nurturing

her Autumn garden, which I photographed at intervals. WordPress willing, each of these images is individually titled in the gallery.

Later, I scanned the next four of Charles Keeping’s superb illustrations to ‘Our Mutual Friend’.

‘Composedly smoking, he leaned an elbow on the chimney-piece and looked at the schoolmaster’ displays both arrogance and reserve.

‘Spreading his hands on his visitor’s knees, he thus addresses him’

‘The little expedition down the river’

‘Crouching down by the door and bending over her burden to hush it’

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinee Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie drank more of the Pino Grigio and I finished the Faugeres.

Keeping Up With David Copperfield

On a sultry, largely overcast day, with dribbles of rain and brief snatches of sunlight, Jackie carried out weeding and pruning while I helped with the clearing up, dead headed, and produced pictures.

Each of these images bears a title in the gallery.

Later, I scanned three more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘David Copperfield’.

The double page spread ‘The horses stopped at the stable gate’ contains the tell-tale sign of broken reins.

‘I had my arms round Mr Wickfield, imploring him by everything that I could think of to calm himself a little’

‘I encountered, at the corner, a woman’s face’

This evening we dined on tasty baked gammon; boiled potatoes; juicy ratatouille; and firm carrots and broccoli with which Jackie drank Cotes du Provence rosé 2019 while I chose Paarl Shiraz 2020.

Planting And Paving

Here is the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, scanned yesterday:

‘No-one could have doubted their being twin brothers’

‘ ‘My children, my defrauded, swindled, infants!’ cried Mr Kenwigs, pulling at the flaxen tail of his second daughter’

‘A quiet, little frequented, retired spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation’. You will usually find a cat or a dog in Mr Keeping’s drawings.

‘The terrified creature became utterly powerless and unable to utter a sound’

Mr Browdie gave his wife a hearty kiss, and succeeded in wresting another from Miss Squeers’

‘Divers servant-girls were almost scared out of their senses by the apparition of Newman Noggs looking stealthily round the pump’

‘ ‘What do you want, sir?’ ‘How dare you look into this garden?’ ‘

‘Miss Squeers elevated her nose in the air with ineffable disdain’

‘A bar-maid was looking on from behind an open sash window’

‘Stepping close to Ralph, the man pronounced his name’

The outside temperature is now hot by our standards. We made more progress in the garden.

Jackie has finished planting her hanging baskets and other containers flanking her favourite view from the stable door and along the Gazebo Path. The red Chilean lantern tree to the left of the second picture, and the yellow bottle brush plant on the right will soon be in full bloom.

These cosmos, petunias, geraniums, and angels wings in containers by the rhododendron can be seen near the end of the path on the right.

I finished the weeding of the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. I still have to find some more stones to complete the repair, but I couldn’t manage that today.

These gladioli in a trough outside the kitchen door increase each year.

Love Knot, and Gloriana, with purple aquilegias alongside, are two of the roses coming to fruition in the Rose Garden.

I only normally watch daytime TV for cricket and rugby. Today I made an exception for the 1958 version of Dunkirk, starring John Mills. As I said in my eponymous post, both Jackie’s and my father survived the event, and I had an urge to watch the film for the first time.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, baked beans, and cornichons with chilli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

A Fine Set Of Choppers

‘A Short Walk from Harrods’ is the fifth volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography, and, to my mind, the best. I finished reading it last night, and would have been saddened had I not had one more to come.

This work deals in more depth and detail with material that has been featured in earlier books, notably the years in France. Without giving too much away I would say that this is the mature writer honestly facing endings and renewal with his gifted descriptive writing. Pondering on the flowing language it occurred to me for the first time that Bogarde brings his actor’s ear to his prose. He knows how the words and their placement would sound when spoken, and he works on adapting his undoubted skill. I have not read any of his novels but this book could well read like one.

Today was free from rain, but winds gusted at more than 40 m.p.h.

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance is an ace and generous recycler. He takes our logs to another client whose heating comes solely from an open fire. To us he brings paving and other materials without charging for them.

He really enjoys what he says is “making something from nothing”. Here he stands beside an extra compost bin he is building. The burnt plywood sheet came from his friend’s garage; the pallet from another; the perspex sheeting from our garden; the boards from his own supply. The bricks along the front is a typical finishing touch.

So far the winds have not created too much damage. The galleries in this post can be accessed by clicking on any image in each one. These may be viewed full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement is also possible with a click. The pictures are labelled individually.

Jackie did her best to repair some of the windburn and other damage to plants, and later we drove to the north of the forest.

There was much waving of manes and twitching of tails from the ponies on the green outside the converted school in South Gorley. One creature, keen to make my acquaintance, met me nose to muzzle as I stepped out of the car, shook her head about a bit, and repeatedly presented a fine set of choppers for inspection.

The stream at Ogdens North was now very shallow, so that pebbles on the bed could be seen beneath the reflections from above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy piri-piri chicken, marinaded throughout the day in a tangy sauce; her most colourful ratatouille; boiled baby Jersey Royal potatoes; and mature, yet tender, cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2019.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.


The sun today made fleeting, peeping, appearances in the garden.

These elegant, slender, gladioli are proliferating outside the kitchen door;

as does clematis Marie Boisselot in-urned in the Kitchen Bed alongside a deep red peony,

single petalled examples of which stand in the Dragon Bed.

Other clematises include Niobe on the corner of the kitchen wall, and on the wisteria arbour,

also home to Paul’s Scarlet;

and flamboyant Doctor Ruppel climbing the arch spanning the Brick Path beside the West Bed.

Delicate pink rose Penny Lane shares the arch.

One view from the Kitchen Bed leads to the distant entrance to

the Rose Garden, where

Festive Jewel, For Your Eyes Only, Love Knot, and Gloriana are among the parade.

Splendid Fireworks alliums burst forth in the Weeping Birch Bed,

while gentler pink stars mingle with Erigeron and euphorbia in the Kitchen Bed.

From the Weeping Birch Bed we are led through the Cryptomeria Bed to the eastern fence.

Pink campion and a bright red rhododendron stand sentinel on the south west and south eastern corners of the grass patch.

The red rhododendron emblazons these views down the Gazebo Path.

Elizabeth popped in this afternoon for a cup of tea.

This evening Jackie and I dined on pork spare rib chops on a bed of her mushroom rice fried in sesame oil. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Long Way Round Reserve Carmenere 2018.

We Ate Their Cake


Late yesterday afternoon, Jackie created a new bed alongside the Head Gardener’s Walk on a piece of barren ground around the bases of holly and bay trees.

She earned her period in the Gardener’s Rest where she slaked her thirst with sparkling water

Having been held in a snarl up on the M27 for over an hour, Elizabeth’s friends Pauline and Jo were forced to abandon their visit to the garden. I therefore stepped out on their behalf.

I wandered along the Gazebo Path,

glancing to the left across to the Dragon Bed and the new wooden arch.

These, of course, are dahlia days. A white break has appeared among the petals of the single red one, and a hoverfly homes in on Puerto Rico.

Fuchsias like Mrs Popple continue to thrive.

These potted pansies have bloomed continuously since early spring.

Polish Spirit is just one example of the clematises that continue flowering.

Sculpture Florence stands proud on Fiveways.

Japanese anemones proliferate.

While I was at it, I picked some runner beans for tonight’s dinner.

A number of gladioli are pleased to be alive;

as are numerous petunias gracing hanging baskets.

Bees, like these milking bright blue heliotrope and blushing sedum, toil away, taking advantage of our Indian summer.

Love Knot and Margaret Merrill are just two of the roses basking in

the Rose Garden, where Absolutely Fabulous and Lady Emma Hamilton, in their maturity, are plumply alluring.

As I came to the end of my tour, Jackie arrived home with a garden centre trophy in the form of an ailing hydrangea. We have often seen how these bargains respond to her nurturing.

Jo sent Elizabeth a text showing her mother bearing the flowers that had been meant for us.

The timing was perfect, because we were sitting in the patio while we ate their cake.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole; swede mash, crunchy carrots, and the tender aforementioned runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.




Two Pom-Poms And A Perpetual Calendar

This morning I printed a set of photographs of his work last Sunday for Aaron.

Jackie liked this one so much that I produced one for her. It shows Aaron’s careful sensitivity in showing his nephew his craft.

Afterwards I photographed those items I missed yesterday of which Jackie is justifiably proud.

This is an hydrangea picked up for a song in Lidl when the heatwave raged. She has kept it well watered in a pot.

These heucheras have all been taken from cuttings and await their permanent positions next year.

More gladioli and dahlias thrive in the New Bed.

The Head Gardener has raised six pots of chillies from seed. Demon Reds are now appearing.

This afternoon Jackie and I drove to Upper Dicker to attend Poppy and Becky’s joint birthday party. Also present were, of course, Mat, Tess, Ian, and Becky’s friends Miche and Louis. We enjoyed fresh bread, sausage, paté, dips, cheese, chicken, sausage rolls, and, naturally, a superb cake crafted by Tess. Beers, wines, and soft drinks were available.

Here, Becky, sporting sunnies and two pom-poms given to her by Poppy, demonstrates her ecstatic delight at the perpetual calendar Jackie and I gave her.

We needed no further sustenance on our return home.

A Turning Point



Last autumn, Jackie bought a job lot of gladioli corms, having no idea what colours would emerge. She was so excited by these blue ones that she had to tie up as a protection from today’s steady rain descending from a granite sky, that I just had to brave the elements to photograph them.

The Ashes series of 2005 was one of the greatest cricketing contests between England and Australia. This iconic photograph from Getty Images of Andrew Flintoff comforting Brett Lee after a fighting innings which just failed to snatch the Edgebaston match from England is considered a picture of one of the most sporting moments ever.

That series was a turning point for cricket in England for three reasons. The first is that BBC lost the recording rights of International cricket to Mammon, in the form of Sky Sports, who outbid them. This means that those young children, whose resurgence of interest in the game formed the second point, could only watch live games via a subscription to the media giant.

My grandson Oliver was the third reason. In the Spring of that year, I had taught him the basics of batting and bowling in the garden at Newark. He watched the series, closely studying the batting techniques on screen. By the end of the Summer, although I still had something to offer as a  bowler, it was apparent that I had nothing more to teach the lad whose skills far exceeded mine.


By August 2007, when I made these colour slides scanned today, the eleven year old boy was an opening bat for the lower sides of Sanderstead Cricket Club.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect, spicy, pork paprika with splendid savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Eszterbauer Sogor Kadarka 2015.