We All Feel The Heat

We spent much of this hot summer’s day in the garden.

Jackie found a shady spot to continue her work on the heucheras. Each plant was stripped of any sign of fungus on the leaves; samples for cuttings were taken from the stems and the

roots were replanted in their place in the Rose Garden. While doing all this Jackie set the hoses sprinkling, and irrigated more later by hand.

I watered numerous hanging baskets and other containers; and cleared up a few clippings for composting.

Clematis Madame Julia Correvon in the Oval Bed can be seen beyond the white everlasting sweet peas climbing the arch spanning the path from the concrete patio where I sat waiting for

a somewhat careworn, hardworking, Nugget who took a brief breather on a brick, before continuing to collect food for his family.

“Where’s Nugget?” (89)

Meanwhile a small shadow-casting grasshopper scaled the mountain that was a rolled up parasol canopy.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena Monte Plogar Tempranillo Garnacha, Syrah 2018.

Lest We Forget

Alice wallpaperIt is Alice’s birthday today, so I will begin by displaying my iMac wallpaper on which she walks across the shingle on a very blustery day in view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.
Telephone boxThis morning I walked to the bank at New Milton. I turned right up Lower Ashley Road and left along Ashley Road. This route is rather less picturesque and more protracted than the winding racetrack that is Christchurch/Lymington Road, but considerably safer. The man who insisted on giving me a lift soon after I had passed Angel Lane on my return thought so too.
Downton’s public Telephone box has probably seen better days.
A grasshopper camouflaged in the long grasses through which I trampled on the verge took me back to A Close Encounter I experienced in Sigoules on 9th August 2012.Grasshopper
36th Ulster Division memorial flagA memorial flag flapping on the top floor balcony of a block of flats in Ashley Road encouraged us to remember the 36th Ulster Division’s contribution to the First World War, which we joined 100 years ago today. This was just one group of the generation of young men and boys on both sides sent to their slaughter in order to satisfy the whim of a power-crazed Kaiser and the hopeless ineptitude of our own war leaders. Grandpa Knight 1917A century later we still fight our battles on foreign soil, to demonstrate that not much has been learned by mankind in the intervening century.
It is almost incredible to recollect that Kaiser Wilhelm was a grandson of Queen Victoria, and therefore that the major protagonists were a family at war.
My own paternal grandfather was one of those who came back, otherwise, since my father was born in 1917, when we think this photograph was taken, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post. Neither would Alice, come to that.
When our lights are extinguished at 10 p.m. this evening, it will not be a power cut that brings this about. We will be joining the rest of the UK in an hour’s darkness of remembrance.
Back home this afternoon, while Jackie laboured with her watering cans, View from dump benchI wandered around the garden, at one point taking a rest on the dump bench and admiring one of its views. I did a little dead heading on my rounds. Petunias are very sticky.

Cricket on clematisThe nocturnal relative of this morning’s grasshopper, probably sleeping, aboard one of our many blue clematises was a cricket. Close scrutiny of the photograph reveals the incredibly long antennae that distinguish this insect from the other.Clematis Niobe

We think the purple clematis climbing the new arch on the opposite side of the garden is a Niobe.Hibiscus

Near this is a very prolific hibiscus.Crocosmia solfoterre

Because we are likely to forget their names, Jackie is labelling all those plants, like the unusual crocosmia Solfoterre, that she can, sometimes after considerable research.
Jersey Tiger MothJust as extensive research was required for me to identify a black and white striped butterfly that flashes it bright orange underside when on the wing. After a thorough study of the thoroughly informative ‘The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland’ by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington, I surfed the web, to no avail. Then I had one of my strokes of genius. Maybe, I thought,’ it is a moth?’. One had, after all, the other day, settled on Jackie’s woolly bosom. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth. She was, incidentally wearing a cardigan at the time.
For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a professional egg fried rice to accompany our succulent pork chops and the remnants of our recent Chinese takeaway. I finished the Bordeaux and she sampled some Hoegaarden.

The Stockpot

Last night Elizabeth told us she had found a golf ball on her bedroom floor (see post of 8th. September).

It was a pretty drizzly day today.  Michael came down and spent the morning with us, after which Jackie drove me to Winchester to collect the plants left behind yesterday.  As she was on holiday she thought she would like an ice cream, which she consumed with a superb chocolate eclair whilst I drank a double espresso in two mouthfuls.  A boy in his first year or so at school, with his finger up his nose, kept asking, at full decibels, what was his father’s favourite colour.  Being unable to quieten his son the man offered the opinion that perhaps his teacher should be asked to focus on his behaviour.

A young, very tanned, man sat cross-legged in a doorway.  We wondered whether he was the owner of the bicycle bearing a placard asking people to ‘SAVE TIBET’.  A rather older gentleman carrying a folding white stick told us, as he put up his rain hood and tightly buttoned his coat, that the weather was going to deteriorate from tonight.  We thanked him for the information.  The young man seemed unconcerned.

We wandered down the High Street and into the Cathedral precincts.  There was such a wealth of history in the buildings that a piece of Roman pavement in a corner of the Deanery could seem to have been forgotten and almost buried in what is now a second-hand bookshop, selling what look like donated books in order raise funds for the cathedral.  I delighted the custodian by selecting a P. D. James novel.  We held a mutual belief that it is the depth of her characterisation that marks her out as an author.  Jackie was interested in my other choice, a book on Elizabethan England by A.L. Rowse.

Following the signs to the Water Meadows we found ourselves by what we took to be the river Itchen, and strolled along it for a while.  At one point we were intrigued by

a conversation between a grasshopper and a snail perched on either side of a bent umbellifer stem.

For our evening meal, Jackie fried another couple of sausages and added them to the still plentiful left over sausage and bacon casserole.  A Firs Mess (see 2nd. September) completed the meal, which, for Elizabeth and me was complemented by Villapani 2011, and for Jackie by Buddweiser.  The now very tasty stock from my original casserole turned the conversation to stockpots.  The only person I know who now keeps a traditional stockpot is my friend Norman.  This is a continuing pan of juices from cooked dishes which is constantly reused and added to over a period of time.  In the old days this never left the kitchen stove.  Because Norman doesn’t have the old kitchen range, and doesn’t cook every day, he keeps his pot in the fridge.  I can assure you it is put to good use.  Ann, the late wife of my friend Don (see 10th. August), told me she knew of a woman in Cerrigydrudion, where they had their Welsh home, who had kept a stockpot going for fifty years.  A small chain of restaurants in the very heart of Central London is one of Norman’s favourite haunts.  Given their situation, these establishments offer an incredibly cheap, very well cooked, range of basic, tasty meals.  Norman is something of a gourmet, and his recommendation is not to be discounted. I know, I’ve followed it.  The chain is called The Stockpot.  As the founder has retired they are all on a franchise now.