Risk To Their Undercarriage

Last night I finished reading ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Colombian Nobel prizewinner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. First published in Argentina in 1967 this book was in the forefront of magical realism, and, as such, made the author anxious about its reception. Although there were some detractors the work has remained popular for more than the following half century.

Magic there is in abundance in the flowing, descriptive, language, the characterisation and the fantastic tales therein. The reality comes in the breadth of the inventive development of the 20th century. As usual I will not even attempt to tell the story, but can, without revealing too much, say that by tracing the imaginative history of a nation-founding dynasty, the writer symbolises the making of South America and of the world.

My 1991 edition, part of Jonathan Cape’s collected set, contains a family tree which goes some way to unravelling who’s who in this saga of longevity of a family whose members often share similar names.

Gregory Rabassa has produced the translation from the Spanish, which I can only assume is true to the original.

Late this morning Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea for Peter to cut my hair at Sears Barbers.

This afternoon I bagged up another heap of the Head Gardener’s rose clippings, then tied up some stems of red

Super Elfin and pink Penny Lane accompanying clematis Dr Ruppel on the Gothic arch.

Later we drove into the overcast forest which seemed overpopulated with lethargic ponies and cattle. I chose to focus on just two of the equines who occupied the usual central spot on Forest Road.

Tails twitching, they rapidly departed the safety of the oak tree, and adopted the customary head to tail stance enabling each to whisk away at flies irritating their partner’s muzzle. No way were they going to budge for any vehicles which could only pass the stubborn barrier by lurching off the eroded edge of tarmac at risk to their undercarriage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent ‘sunflower’ beef pie; swede mash; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Beck’s and I finished the Malbec.

Catch Me If You Can


Aaron of AP Maintenance’s main task today was weeding the Back Drive.

Taking it in turns to stand aloof, a pair of wood pigeons, wobbling along our eastern fence, engaged in their annual mating ritual. Each time the chaser reached his target she turned her back; he feigned departure; she took up the chase. A provocative game of ‘Catch Me If You Can’. It works for any species.

Butterfly Green-veined white

Today’s butterflies were mainly white, flitting about elusively. This Green-veined variety was considerate enough to take a moment’s rest.

Brick Path

Hopefully, Jackie’s new roses planted in the West Bed will soon climb the Gothic arch across the Brick Path.

Copper beach leaves

Always the last to sprout, the copper beach leaves are putting in an appearance.

Jackie planting gladioli

Among Jackie’s plantings were Nori gladioli in the New Bed.

Sparrow on roof

From his vantage point on the roof a tiny sparrow stands guard on his family in the eaves.

This evening we are on our way to Cadnam to dine at The White Hart with Jacqueline and Elizabeth. Should there be anything of note to report, I will feature it tomorrow.



Before And After: The Brick Path


This morning Jackie continued her winter planting, such as this hanging basket and I pruned roses.

Here are today’s offerings from the rose garden:

Rose Laura Ford

Laura Ford,

Rose Golden Showers

and the climber, Golden Showers.

Gazebo Path sign

Following yesterday’s post, Jackie has given the Gazebo Path its correct sign.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to New Milton for me to visit the bank and to buy a return ticket to Nottingham in readiness for my trip to Louisa and Errol and the girls on Sunday.

I then prepared the next section of the saga of the garden, namely the Brick Path.

Garden urn

On 15th April 2014, the cracks were full of weeds, and the urn had yet to be planted up.

Jackie clearing path

By 21st, Jackie had made considerable progress in eradicating weeds on the urn circle;

Brick radial path intermediate clearanceBrick radial path cleared

and by 30th, made her way along the composite brick section.

Brick path original being cleared

Brick path original cleared

We tackled the older, original length from opposite ends. It was then that Jackie uttered the phrase: ‘Last one to the chimney pot’s a sissy’.


Some of our visitors, such as my Mum, need sticks for walking. These original bricks had become rather uneven over the years, so we asked Aaron to reset them. On 9th August 2015, his friend Lee, the carpenter who had fitted our stair rails, made a start with him. The following week Aaron finished the task alone.

Virginia creeper corner

By this time, the overgrown foliage that had bordered the path on 31st May 2014 had been thinned somewhat.

Verbena bonarensis, clematises and geraniums

Two roses and a Virginia creeper were meant to be supported by a rickety wooden structure, most of which had fallen into the undergrowth. By 14th June that year we had  bought and installed a new Gothic Arch, retrained the existing climbers, and added a couple of clematises.

View from Brick Path

This was the south easterly view from this point by 28th September 2015,

Brick path and owl

by which time the path had mellowed, and an owl had taken up residence in the dead snake bark maple.

Agriframe arch

Beyond the Gothic Arch and nearer the house, Wedding Day, a huge rambling rose, romped confetti-like across the red-leaved Japanese maple and a mature hebe. It needed some special support. We provided this in the form of an Agriframes Gothic Arch, installed on 30th October 2014.

Wedding Day pruned

Even this is insufficient for the prolific climber. It received further heavy pruning on 2nd October 2015.

This evening we dined at the Royal China restaurant in Lymington. Taking the advice of our friendly waitress we halved our order from last time, and just about managed to finish everything. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

The Tour Continues

This morning we drove to Highcliffe for coffee with Caroline and Keith Martin, with whom Margery had put us in touch. This was a very enjoyable meeting. All thanks to Margery.

Meanwhile our garden tour continues.

Rose - red climber

We call this Elizabeth’s red climbing rose, because it is in a bed she cleared last autumn.

Bee on rhododendron

A bee burrowed into one of the recently blooming rhododendron flowers,

Phantom path

which can be seen alongside the Phantom Path, so called because of an eponymous ghost-like hydrangea, not yet flowering and not seen in this shot.

Heligan path 1Heligan path 2

These are views from each end of the Heligan Path.

Jackie watering at end path

Another winding path leads from the proposed rose garden to the back drive. Jackie, on this very hot day, is to be seen watering her new tub planting.

Oval bed

Forming a kind of clef in branching off from this is a gravel track surrounding the Oval Bed. Along the back fence is Elizabeth’s Bed.

Foxglove and blue hydrangea

It is only this year that we have paid due attention to the small front garden. The freshly planted blue hydrangea has yet to mature, and is consequently dwarfed by the red potted foxglove.

Front garden path

It was the creation of this previously ill-defined path that gave us the necessary impetus.

Brick path

The head gardener correctly informs me that two days ago I incorrectly termed The Brick Path The Agriframes Arch Path,

Gothic arch because it also contains The Gothic Arch. We erected this last year and, on one side, retrained two roses that had been lost in the jungle, and on the other, planted two clematises.

Just a few yards down Downton Lane



Roses - white

and white roses festoon the hedgerows. (are those spider’s eggs behind the central bloom?)

After the usual long stint in the garden, Jackie roasted the succulent pork, and the crunchy crackling; baked the crisp Yorkshire pudding; and produced the tasty gravy for our dinner, whilst I prepared the vegetables. These latter included carrots, green beans, and mange tout; but I was particularly proud of the Anya potatoes, three weeks past their best before date, that, after complete desprouting and partial peeling, tasted as good as new, although they were somewhat reduced in size. I drank Casillero del Diablo cabernet sauvignon reserva 2013, but I was enjoying the potatoes before I began it.