“What’s Going On?”

In bright sunshine at 10 a.m. this morning it was hard to believe that the meteorologists had threatened us with 48 hours of gale force winds from 11 a.m. onwards. Nevertheless forecasts are now much more accurate than they were in our youth, so we battened down the hatches. Thousands of items of garden furniture and millions of hanging baskets – or so it seemed – needed to be brought down to ground level.

First, the patio furniture was lowered. the two teapots in the bottom left corner are for Nugget’s consideration as a prospective new home.

The hanging baskets required careful handling to prevent causing damage before the gales were given the chance to wreak havoc. Chequerboard fuchsia hanging from the arch over the dead end path is shown in the two pictures before those in which Jackie delicately replaces potted petunias. Having stretched a long arm from its pot it had required tying up. I needed to undo this.

All this activity naturally aroused Nugget’s curiosity. At first he hopped about from the rocks to the gravel,

then took up a position on the back of the white chair in the Weeping Birch Bed. The usual magnification from the galleries will show him clearly tweeting “what’s going on?”.

The Head Gardener found room for what she called “the lucky few” in the greenhouse.

This afternoon we took a coastal trip to see what was going on there.

At Milford on Sea a young girl sheltered along the sea wall in an effort to avoid the violence of the waves and the spray. Kite surfers could be seen in the distance near Hurst lighthouse.

Further along, at Barton on Sea, hardy groups clambered on the rocks.

The Isle of wight seemed shrouded in spray.

At Mudeford black headed gulls bobbed buoyant as corks on the surging waves. Although two skilled sailboarders sped along the surface,

another less proficient pair spent much of their time attempting to lodge and right their sail. No sooner had they seemed upright than they were back beneath the surface. I had to admire their persistence.

This evening we dined on crispy duck, spring onions, cucumber, and plum sauce in pancakes; followed by spare ribs in barbecue sauce; with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chinian.

One Day In The Garden

Today the sun rose before 8 a.m., took an early lunch, and re-emerged in the evening.

The brighter light picked out the scenes and the plants before my dead-heading of the roses which occupied most of the morning. Clicking on any image to access its gallery will reveal titles and locations.

These post prandial photographs were produced during Phoebus’s siesta.

Apollo’s chariot crossed the sky in time for our pre dinner drinks taken on

the decking.

This gave us a pleasant glow.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away Fare with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. You will have noticed Jackie’s Hoegaarden earlier. She finished it on the decking.

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

 

Preparing For A Storm

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For the last couple of days Jackie has kept much garden furniture and many hanging baskets grounded against buffeting from the heavy winds. As this afternoon’s gusts swept towards the 60+ m.p.h. we are to expect overnight, there was no reason to lift tables, chairs, parasols, or baskets. Readers may care to spot the dropped baskets in this further collection of

experiments with my new Sigma 35mm lens.

Given that she exchanged contracts on her Pilley house purchase today, it was appropriate that we named the delicious spicy creation that Elizabeth produced for our dinner this evening Pilley Celebration Chicken. This was served with Jackie’s splendid savoury rice and crisp sugar snaps. My sister and I drank Parick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016; my wife drank Hoegaarden.

My Second Nonagenarian Visitor

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On a lightly overcast afternoon Jackie, plonking Mum’s stool to order, followed me on a short perch-hopping spree in the garden. I enjoyed two vantage points in the patio, one at the head of the Brick Path, and one beside the Westbrook Arbour.

In the meantime Jackie enjoyed herself planting.

Here are some of the corners on which I focussed. The two new wooden chairs on the decking were intended to replaced a collapsed wickerwork model which was destined for the dump. In the event, Jackie was unable to part with it and planted it up as seen in the third picture in the gallery.

Mum

Soon afterwards, Mum,

Jacqueline

driven by Jacqueline,

was the second nonagenarian to visit in two days. We spent several hours reminiscing and swapping medical notes and experiences.

This evening, for the two of us, Jackie fetched a takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori in Pennington. We started with excellent prawn puris. My enjoyable main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken sag.

Great Nephews

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Many of the blooms on the still quite small pink rhododendron, seen in this sculpture’s eye view from Five Ways, are now fully open.

Others recently flourishing include the yellow tree peony, various geraniums, and elegant libertias.

The flamboyant red and yellow tulips are changing their hues with age, while the euphorbias have reached full sculptural maturity.

A clematis Montana festoons the mauve lilac tree.

Orange poppies lead the eye to the marigolds alongside the greenhouse. Similarly the heuchera alongside the Dead End Path echos the recently flourishing copper beach leaves.

This latter path is visible from the patio where we sat with Helen, Shelly, Billy and Max who visited us this morning.

Although his usual cheerful self, poor little Max has chicken pox, so he was a bit thirsty and drowsy. Helen administered the bottle.

Billy was as active as ever, manoeuvring his vehicles, wandering about the garden, and munching chocolate bars. The two boys are Helen’s grandsons and Shelly, Jackie, and my great nephews.

This evening we dined on prawn toasts and Jackie’s superb egg fried rice with a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce followed by Easter bread and butter pudding. Should anyone wonder what this is, I would ask what else would you do with weird hot cross buns purchased in error, not having realised that the currants were in fact chocolate chips, other than put them in the freezer in case they might come in useful. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank Tesco’s finest Médoc 2016

 

 

Inside And Out

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After I finished drafting yesterday’s post, Richard added the second cupboard fixed to the gravity battens. The horizontal battens in the side-on view will take the panel similar to that held in place by the clamps at the right hand end.

Having increased the capacity of our modern fuse box, our craftsman is rationalising all the kitchen wiring and switches. Having re-plastered the section of wall removed yesterday he then fitted new switches. Standing on a stool he fitted a row of labelled switches for the cooking appliances, then, crouching in the box to take the cooker, laid the cables.

Most of Jackie’s greenhouse cuttings have survived; sweet pea and poppy seeds have germinated.

Bergenias, snowdrops, primulas, and irises can be seen throughout the garden beds.

The earlier daffodils are coming into bloom;

and prolific camellias are burgeoning.

Ovens

By the end of the day, Richard had installed the new ovens. The appliance visible at bottom right of this picture is the dishwasher which will be installed tomorrow. He had his customary tidy up after I took the photograph. We left him to it while we drove off to dine at Lal Quilla.

At the restaurant I handed Raj the prints for his wall. My main course was lamb jalfrezi; Jackie’s was the Lal Quilla Special of minced lamb and chicken; we shared mushroom rice and egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher. Raj would take no payment.