A Drum Roll

This morning I rediscovered an album of elderly colour slides I had thought lost. I scanned a selection from May 1989.

Sam managed to set this drum rolling across the lawn at Lindum House;

Louisa preferred the inside drum roll

Kate, our popular child-sitter, was an excellent birthday party emcee. This was Louisa’s seventh.

Jessica took a rest in the hammock.

Late this afternoon we collected the Modus from the excellent Downton Service Station and Jackie drove the newly service vehicle into the forest.

Beside the undulating, winding, road to Burley

we encountered another bay pony pulling up its clear vegetable soup from the bed of a forest pool in which it was reflected among the surrounding golden gorse bushes.

We ventured a short distance along the very pock=marked Honey lane, at the corner of which a grey pony was on sentry duty. A small variegated rhododendron sheltered in the shade along a verge.

At the far end of the lengthy Charles’s Lane

we diverted to Neacroft, where an unusual pair of ducks crossed the road. The female burrowed in the undergrowth while her splendidly top-knotted drake stood guard.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jacke drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Happy Campers


This morning and early afternoon I watched the three autumn international rugby matches I had recorded yesterday.

Given that the best light had departed when the recordings were finished, it seemed appropriate later to publish the Newark photographs scanned on 22nd.

James B, Richard, Matthew S, Sam, Warren 5.93

One afternoon in May 1993 Sam, in the blue T-shirt, as was his wont, gathered a few friends around him in the garden of Lindum House. To his left, in ascending order of height, are Matthew S, Richard, and James B. I think Warren swings in the hammock.

Paddy, Richard, Gavin 5.93

Paddy, who we saved from imminent death in the R.S.P.C.A. rescue centre, here converses with Richard and Gavin. Making up for stepping out of shot in this image,

Matthew S and Richard 5.93

Matthew S poses with his scooter.

James B and Warren 5.93

James B has joined Warren in the hammock. Three of the tents pitched in the orchard are in the background. James lived in the Working Men’s Club next door.

James B, Warren, Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam 5.93

These two stayed put whilst

Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam

the others positioned the picnic table removed from the lawn for service in this adventurous campsite.

Sam and friends 5.93

James stirred himself, but Warren appears to be directing proceedings from his bed.

Sam, James B and friends 5.93

Perhaps it is because James

James B and friends 5.93

is a few years older than the others

James B and friends 5.93

than the others that he takes care of the brick-bound camp fire,

James B and friends 5.93

turning back when satisfied all is well.

Warren 5.93

Warren follows on,

Richard and friends 5.93

and catering planning recommences.

All Sam and Louisa’s local friends would spend many happy days on projects in our garden. James once counted 25 birds’ nests. I have forgiven him for thinking that Louisa was my granddaughter when we first arrived.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy lamb jalfrezi and pilau rice with which I drank more of the malbec.



The Swinging Rat Pack


An overnight thunderstorm had freshened the garden and reduced the temperature to a degree that Jackie could continue weeding, hacking, and planting; and I was able to enjoy the game of wandering around seeking her piles of garden waste for me to gather up and transfer to the compost heap or the orange bags for the dump.

In between times, for the next instalment of ‘A Knight’s Tale, I amended some text and

Derrick and Chris 1947

included these two photographs from ‘Pink Petticoats’.

I then scanned another batch of colour negatives from 1990.

Lindum House 5.90 1

I converted to black and white this image of Lindum House made that May.

Lindum House and James Bird 5.90
Lindum House 5.90 2
Lindum House 5.90 3

These show the colours.

Matthew, Louisa, and Carolines's dog

Matthew created a testing improvised seesaw for the ever-game Louisa. The dog belonged to Jessica’s cousin Caroline.

James Bird and Louisa 5.90

James Bird, who here swings with Louisa, is the lad who found the coot.

Wolf and Luci 5.90

Perhaps more cosy in the hammock, Wolf and Luci were another pair of swingers;

Rats on swing 5.90

more precarious were the Rat Pack – popular little pets, of course.

Jessica and another 7.90 1

In July, at the Staunton temple opening, featured in the coot post highlighted above, Jessica shares some amusement with an attractive elderly guest.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb korai, sag ponir, and boiled rice. I finished the cabernet sauvignon. Jackie had consumed her Peroni on the patio beforehand.

Hammock And Hollyhock


This morning we shopped at Lidl, mainly to load up the car with more of their large bags of compost. Quite a number of the on the heap outside the store were damaged and leaking. Some fell on stony ground.

So popular was the photograph of Sam in the hammock from yesterday’s post that I scanned the rest of the set of colour slides made in August 1981. Matthew was wonderful with his younger siblings.

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 1

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 2Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 3Sam (and Mat) 8.81Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 4

Matthew and Sam 8.81 5

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81

Here, his and Sam’s enjoyment of time in the hammock at Meldreth is quite clear.

Sam and Adrian in hammock 8.81

Mat’s friend Adrian was of similar ilk.

Hollyhock 8.81

No, this hollyhock has not crept in from our current garden 35 years on. It was taken along with these others. Does its progeny still soar from the sunlit borders of ‘The Dumb Flea’? (the Drapers’ home where these shots were made).

Clematises and sweet peas

Here in Downton we have experienced very strong winds for two or three days. These have dried up the hanging baskets and broken a few stems. Jackie therefore has been taking a few down. She continued this today, and I did some watering.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Hordle Chinese Take Away. We now know the proprietor’s name is Chan, which is a pity because Mister Chatty Man suits him so well. I finished the Carignan Vieilles Vignes and Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix. Well, she had to do something with the non-alcoholic beer bought by mistake.

Spoiler Alert


We were both reprieved from gardening duties this morning by the rain.

I scanned a few more colour slides from 1981/2.

Sam in hammock 8.81

Here Sam enjoys swinging in a hammock at the Drapers’ home in Meldreth near Royston in Cambridgeshire. This was August 1981.

Matthew, Becky, and snowman 12.81

In December that year we had a rare heavy fall of snow in Gracedale Road, Furzedown, South London. Matthew and Becky made the best of it. That was probably the only time in their childhoods that it was possible to create such a magnificent snowman.

Sam 12.81

Another Cambridgeshire venue was the home of Nigel and Judy Pearson at Pastures farmhouse in Caxton. At a Christmas party there, Sam tucked into his first pheasant. I remember biting a piece of shot. This was also the first time I had sampled such fare.

In September 1982 we spent a couple of weeks at the Vachettes’ chateau at Fontaine in Normandy.

Arnoux, Marie- Helene, Jessica, M. et Mme. Vachette 9.82

This is the garden in which Jessica basks in a deckchair with Arnoux, Marie-Helene, and the Vachette parents. As can be seen by the colour of the grass this was a very hot autumn.

Jessica 9.82

Lying at Jessica’s feet

Louisa 9.82 2Louisa 9.82 1

is Louisa in her carrycot;

Sam 9.82

while Sam enjoys the toys she will soon grow into.

This afternoon the sun shone, not only here in Downton, but also in Wimbledon where a tense Gentlemen’s Final took place. I watched it on television.

Andy Murray, trophy, and wife

I will not reveal the winner, but his wife looks on.

Afterwards I wandered around the garden, doing some sporadic dead-heading, whilst Jackie watered some more hanging baskets


Petunias, mimuluses, lobelia, geraniums, owlPetunias 2

containing petunias, mimuluses and lobelia.

Urn, petunias, begonias, bidens,

She also slaked the the thirst of this urn containing petunias, trailing geraniums, and bidens, with penstemons at the side,

Rose Garden

suspended in the Rose Garden.

Hydrangea, geraniums, poppies, pansies, verbena bonarensis

The hydrangea at the corner of Elizabeth’s Bed is thriving;

Clematises, lilies, dahlias, fuchsia, solanum

as are the lilies and clematises in the New Bed;


and the hebes are coming into bloom.

This evening we dined on Mister Chatty Man’s Hordle Chinese Take Away. Jackie drank a blend of Hoegaarden and Bavaria non-alcoholic beer, while I consumed more of the Carignan Vieilles Vignes.



Despite the promising dawn this morning,

and the generally bright, if cold, day, hailstones ricocheted off my window panes as I scanned another batch of colour slides I made earlier -in 1977 to be precise.

That June Jessica, Matthew, Becky and I spent a weekend with our friend Carole in Ipswich.

Becky 6.77 1Matthew 6.77

The two children were happy taking turns in Carole’s hammock.

The following month I attended a steam fair in Mitcham.

Steemroller wheel 7.77

This was the wheel of a steamroller

Oilcan 7.77

that carried its own oilcan.

Such vehicles were responsible for smoothing out the road surfaces of my youth. Many’s the time we all dashed out into the street to watch and listen to the clouds of steam rising above the  toffee-like tarmac being rolled out under the three whopping wheels.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjlTAzFpBzc&w=420&h=315]

Enthusiasts painstakingly nurture these splendid, lumbering, giants of the road and display them at fairs across the country. This one was made by Aveling & Porter, the first successful manufacturers.

At the beginning of September, we attended the annual Soho Festival, where we were entertained by

Dancers 9.77Dancer 9.77

dancers from The Philippines,

Korean martial arts 9.77 1Korean martial arts 9.77 2

and exponents of Korean martial arts. When, having emitted the required sounds, this expert brought his arm down on the breeze blocks each one in the stack was neatly cut into two. Don’t try this at home.

Spaghetti eating contest 9.77

Always popular, the spaghetti-eating competition attracted its usual audience. I console myself with the thought that the scowls in evidence here were prompted by the self-inflicted torture the contestants were experiencing, rather than being a response to my lens.

Gypsy Joe 9.77

Gypsy Joe, on the end of the table, was, to the locals at least, a well-known Soho photographer.

This evening Jackie and I finished yesterday’s Chinese takeaway, followed by Black Forest gateau. I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012