An Eye On Proceedings

Regular readers may know that our downstairs loo is designated ‘Print Room’ because that is what the walls carry.

She already has a copy of this one from “Christmas at Downton”, beside her computer station. Today, at her request, I printed another to be enjoyed at her convenience. This time I toned the colour saturation down a bit.

The Head Gardener worked hard on clearing and planting phlox in the rock hard Palm Bed. I transported clippings to the compost.

Nugget kept an eye on proceedings, darting to snap up any escaping insect prey

and warning bees off the nearby agapanthuses.

At the end of the day the Head Gardener transmogrified into the Maintenance Department and

framed the new print, after which, as Culinary Queen,

she produced our dinner of pork chops in sage and apple stuffing; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and Roman broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.


This morning Becky e-mailed me this superb photograph to add to Louisa’s collection. She captured it in Llanberis in 1986. The story is that Jessica, who was driving, stopped the car and dashed up the rock to take in the view. Becky saw the action and the outfit – an Alison Ellen hand knit, a pretty skirt blowing in the wind, and wellies – as typical of Louisa’s mother. Alison is Jessica’s cousin.

All I did was to brighten the original a little and send it on its way through the ether.

Danni and Ella joined Elizabeth, Jackie, and me for lunch with Mum at Woodpeckers. Mum’s great granddaughter vigorously, jerkily, flexed her knees, splayed her prehensile feet, and gripped arthritic fingers in her digital vice. The infant’s grandmother simply doted. The first four of these pictures were produced by Jackie.

This was a popular dance in Mum’s teenage years.

Mum and I both chose an excellent beef and Guinness pie, with well cooked vegetables and roast potatoes, for lunch. Jackie’s meal was equally good pork; and Elizabeth’s mushroom stroganoff. Dessert for Elizabeth was chocolate ice cream; for the rest of us, upside down pineapple cake with vanilla ice cream.

Soon after Jackie and I arrived home we were joined for the rest of the afternoon by the other three.

Eggs and bacon sufficed for dinner for Jackie and me.

Garden Visitors


Regular readers will know that Elizabeth’s friends, Pauline and Jo were unable to reach us on a recent planned visit, because of a traffic problem on the M27. This morning they made up for that.

My sister took the mother and daughter on a tour of the garden.

We then enjoyed a convivial conversation, coffee and pastries on the patio. Elizabeth displayed, on her mobile phone, a photograph of her grandson and therefore my great nephew Jasper, on his first day at school.

Her friends then moved on to the Garden Albums I had created as a before and after record of our first two years here.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef, onion, and mushroom pie; sublime gravy; sautéed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank her customary Hoegaarden, while Elizabeth and I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2016



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.

The Lady Of Shalott


Cricket match 6 – Version 2

This morning I made this crop of a photograph taken at Burley in May, and Jackie turned it into a birthday card for Bill, whose party we were to attend later.

Aaron pruning Philadelphus 1Aaron pruning philadelphus 2

Among the various tasks carried out by Aaron was heavily pruning a spent philadelphus.

Aaron pruning philadelphus 4

Bending the branches took a bit of effort.

Fuchsia Delta Sarah

This fuchsia Delta’s Sarah is spreading along the west side of the patio.


A stand of petunias,


and these rather splendid potted lilies prepare for the arrival of the base for the greenhouse to be delivered during the week.


Dahlias continue to enliven the borders,

Japanese anemone

and the first Japanese anemones are springing up.


The agapanthuses are coming along nicely,

Bee on New Zealand hebe

while the New Zealand hebe now attracts the bees, eager to fill their pollen sacs.

Gladiolus Priscilla

Priscilla, the frilly gladiolus is coming through in the New Bed;

Rose Peach Abundance

 roses like Peach Abundance are having another flush;


and paler pink echinaceas have risen to join the darker red ones.

This afternoon we travelled by car to Poulner where we enjoyed Bill’s birthday party. We sat and conversed in the pleasant company of Helen and Bill’s children David, Rachel, and John; Rachel’s fiancé Gareth and John’s wife Stephanie and their children, Billy and Max; Gareth’s mother, Mo, and stepfather Fred; Shelly and Ron; and. of course the birthday boy and Jackie’s sister, Helen.

Gareth and Fred

Gareth got the barbecue going, taking us through the smoky stage.

John at barbecue

John took over to give him a chance to clear the vapours from his eyes.


Between them they produced a variety of roasted meats to go with the salads prepared by the ladies.

Guests reflected in window

Here is a group of the male guests reflected in a window.

Max and hands 1

Great aunts eagerly took it in turns to cuddle two and a half month old Max.

Shelly and Max

Jackie handed him to her younger sister

Max and hands 2Max and hands 3

Max and hands 4Max and hands 5Max and hands 5

who eventually handed him back to his mother whose hands he explored.

Bill 1Bill 2

Bill was his usual engaging self,

Billy in tub of balls 1Billy in tub of balls 2Billy in tub of balls 3

and, in a tub filled with plastic balls, his young namesake did a passable impression of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott as painted by many Victorian artists.

I mostly drank a fine Argentine malbec, and sampled a splendid strawberry trifle and cream tea scone for dessert.

First Christmas Cold

Poor little Poppy, at four months today, has a cold. This reminded me of my sadness when Sam first cut himself.

Poppy and Mat arms and handsMat and Poppy

Our granddaughter spent much of the morning in her customary position on her Dad’s arm.

Poppy 2Poppy 4

After lunch, she perked up and, clad in her Christmas fairy outfit made by Granny, showed determined concentration in opening her sack of presents. (The photo on the wall in the third picture below is of Flo, the first Christmas fairy dress girl.)

Tess and Poppy 1Tess and Poppy 2Tess and Poppy 3Tess and Poppy 6Tess and Poppy 8

Some necessary assistance was rendered by her mother,

Undoing the mobile

although two pairs of hands were insufficient for the task of unravelling the mobile.

Don’t miss the little pink wings on Poppy’s back.

We opened our main presents before dinner. Jackie was delighted with her Pauline King (the contented crafter) light catcher all the way from New Zealand.

Christmas dinner: Jackie, Mat, Ian, Becky, Tess , Poppy

Dinner was the full works: roast turkey, roast potatoes and parsnips, stuffing, sausages, bacon, mashed carrots and swede, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and onions, bread sauce, and superb gravy; all followed by Christmas pudding. Red and white wines were drunk.