Cow Parsley

We began the day with a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop in order to buy compost, cake for this afternoon’s visitors – oh, and trays of trailing lobelia and petunias.

This led to a drive in the forest.

From Forest Road

we crossed into Braggers Lane

alongside which cotton clouds scudded over the landscape.

Thatchers Lane was next. There I noticed several saddles mounted on paddock rails. Aiming to photograph the scene I quickly changed my mind. It did not seem appropriate to advance with a camera when a woman, receiving ministrations from a pair of companions, one utilising a mobile phone, lay on the ground. Instead, I asked if we could be of any assistance. We couldn’t. Help was at hand. The lady had just been “bumped by a horse”.

I settled for images of calmer creatures cropping the field behind.

The Head Gardener is rather partial to cow parsley flavouring sections of our garden. This is not a taste I share, because I fear the kind of takeover our hedgerows are currently experiencing. They do, however, attract bees. I am no doubt influenced by the fact that Jessica, years ago in Newark, scattered seed from local fields around our orchard. It took several years to eradicate the thug.

Margery, Paul, and Jutta visited this afternoon when we spent a very pleasant time in convivial conversation, with our guests suitably admiring the garden.

This evening we enjoyed a second sitting of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away, consisting of splendid spring rolls; special rice; special noodles; chicken in black bean sauce; crispy beef; and king prawns and ginger. I finished the Fleurie and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Up And Down The Lane

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Late this afternoon, the dull skies cleared and we enjoyed a warm and sunny day. Naturally, we took a drive into the forest.

Moorland, Holmsley Passage, young man and dog

A young man and his dog walking along Holmsley Passage,

Young man and dog

set off onto the moors;

Cyclists and young people

a couple of cyclists, passing a group relaxing on a gate crossed the junction of the road with the disused railway line that is now a footpath;

Walkers resting

and a group of hikers, relieved of their backpacks, took a rest on the grass.

I have featured Honey Lane in Burley a couple of times before, but had never covered the whole length until today. This is because the serpentine, steeply undulating, ancient road is so pitted with often water-filled holes that you really need a 4 x 4 to negotiate it.

Gate to field

Jackie parked the Modus beside this gateway to a field,

Honey Lane 1

and waited for me to wander down the lane and back.

Trees on hedgerow 1

The age of this thoroughfare is indicated by the high bank of hedgerows mounted by  gnarled old trees.

Ponies on lane 1

Todays photographs are reproduced in the order in which I made them, thus replicating the ramble. Soon a troop of ponies came into view.

Leaves and trunk 1

The tree to the right of the above picture is beginning to be carpeted by autumn leaves

Pony and autumn leaves 1

waiting for the leading grey to rest its hooves.

Pony on autumn leaves 2

Another wandered along behind.

Pony 1

This chestnut seemed rather scarred.

Ponies crossing cattle grid

Cattlegrids are meant to deter hoofed animals from crossing them. Not so these two ponies foraging in someone’s garden. They clattered across the bars as I passed.

Trees on hedgerow 2

Here are more gnarled roots atop the bank,

Steps 1

up which some home owners have set steps to reach their gardens.

Pony 2

Here comes another scarred pony,

Cyclist and trailer

soon to be passed by a happy cyclist towing a trailer.

Kissing gate

This wooden kissing gate was rather intriguing.

Pony 3

The ponies had other things on their minds.

Cyclists and pony

A couple of cyclists passed the next animal,

Pony 4

which continued on towards me.

Tree roots

This tree reminded me of Jabba the Hutt.

Banked hedgerow 1

Sunlight pierced the foliage in parts.

Tree trunk curled 1Tree trunk curled 2

How, I wondered, had this very tall tree taken this circuitous route before ascending to the light above.

Autumn leaves 1

A blaze of yellow leaves enlivened this garden.

Orchard Farm shed

Sunlight dappled the shed of Orchard Farm,

Honey Lane 2

and pierced a deep stygian bank.

Gate to field 2

Here is another gate to a field.

Squirrel

Can you spot the squirrel?

Honey Lane 4

Nearing the Burley Street end of the lane

Honey Lane rise 1Honey Lane rise 2

I mounted the next rise, turned, and

Honey lane with cyclists

retraced my steps, catching sight of cyclists in the distance.

Cyclists 1

They soon sped down towards me, the first two, with cheery greetings, too fast for my lens;

Cyclists 2

their companions paused for a pleasant chat.

Autumn leaves 2

I spotted a few more colourful leaves.

Woman walking dog

A friendly woman walking her dog commented on what a pleasant evening it was,

Sunlight across leaves 1

and, with sunlight spanning a nearby tree,  I was soon beside the Modus once more, and we set off for home.

Stag on road 1

On Holmsley Road  a splendid stag seemed confused about crossing.

Stag on road 2

It had seen the approaching vehicle, turned,

Stag on road 3

and was soon back on the verge and disappearing into the forest.

Those of a tender disposition may wish to skip what we had for dinner.

This was Jackie’s superb liver and bacon casserole, leek and cauliflower cheese, roast parsnips, new potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. I finished the malbec.

 

 

 

Finishing Touches

Chinese cabinet on chest of drawersWe have a long, but not tall, Chinese oak cabinet which has gone up and down stairs in our new home like a yo-yo. The library had seemed its most likely final resting place.  The almost completed project no longer offered space for it. So back upstairs we carted it. When I bought the chests of drawers from Fergusson’s, one was intended to stand beneath this piece of furniture. We had second thoughts. Now we have thought again.

I then emptied the last four boxes of books; Jackie got out the vacuum cleaner; and we set about transporting the games table into the library. Had we not covered the garage door this would have been quite a simple matter. But we had. So it wasn’t.

The table was surplus to requirements in the sitting room. We carried it into the hall, intending to take it through the kitchen into the library. We couldn’t get it into the kitchen. So we took the casters off. We got it into the kitchen cupboard known as the glory hole. We couldn’t get it out into the kitchen itself. So we shifted it back into the hall and had a think.

I then had the bright, albeit somewhat tardy, idea of taking it out through the front door, round the side of the house, and in through the back door which now leads straight into the library. This worked like a dream. When I suggested to Jackie that we may not have needed to remove the casters, she suggested that I should not ‘even go there’.

LibraryThe legs of the piece had taken a bit of scuffing in its various moves, so Jackie applied wood stain to the wounds and polish to both limbs and surface. A piece of string held the slightly loosened leg in place whilst the glue dried.

The carpet that Michael had given us had just one grease mark on it. To complete the creation of the room my lady got down and scrubbed this with an application of Vanish. She fixed a clock to the side of one of the bookcases.

Still visible in one corner of the library are a handful of Safestore boxes containing a selection of volumes for a charity stall our friend Heather is running in August.

PhotiniaPhotinia bloomsA wander round the garden followed. The bungalow next door has been unoccupied for many years and such fence as there ever was between this and our property has been swamped by shrubs, one of which is a photinia. We think it is not ours, but never mind it blooms in our garden.

Yellow flowered shrub - Version 2There are also a couple of yellow flowering shrubs we could not identify until Jackie’s research revealed them to be corokia cotoneasters which originate in New Zealand.

Yellow flowered shrub

The copper beech is now in full leaf.Copper beech

White was the dominant colour of the hedgerows in Downton Lane as I took an early evening walk into a fierce headwind coming off the Solent.StitchwortMay

Cow parsley, stitchwort and may blossom have replaced the yellow daffodils and dandelions.

Rooks struggled against the wind to keep their bearings as they winged to and fro to their now clamouring chicks.Rook in flight

It was an evening for kite surfing such as my friend John Smith would relish.

Kitesurfers descendingKite surfers setting upSeascapeSeascape with kite surferSeascape with kite surfersKite surfers & yachtKite surfer, shingle, Isle if Wight & The NeedlesKite surfer & The NeedlesAs I arrived at the coastline a lone surfer was about to be joined by others walking down the steps from Hordle Cliff top. They were still setting up by the time I left the beach on which the rollers were again piling up the shingle. An intrepid yachts person was seen in the distance, and the Isle of Wight and The Needles made a landmark backdrop to the scene. Kite surfer in seaThe surfer didn’t manage to keep out of the water.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided a spread for our evening meal. The Co-op’s cheesecake was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegarden and I finished the chianti.

Knight & Colbourne Candles

Jackie, for the second time in two days, drove us to Southampton Parkway to collect Alison who had come for a brief visit.  The M27/A31 going west was almost at a standstill with people pouring in from other parts of the country to take advantage of what seemed to be the first real day of summer.  Deciding to avoid the motorway on our return, our driver took a different route that was still busy enough to turn a twenty minute journey into one lasting an hour.

Eleanor and Henry are a couple of resourceful young folk who occupy different parts of the Lodge.  Two days ago they developed a car cleaning project.  As there are seventeen flats, all of which often also have visitors, this could be quite lucrative for our ten and nine year old neighbours.  We had actually been asked for the names and numbers of the most likely punters.  This afternoon they sought Jackie’s advice on how they could expand their empire.  I was invited to join in the discussion.  It had occured to them that some people might like their shopping done at the village shop, but as this was a good twenty minutes walk away it needed careful co-ordination.  They offered the opinion that most residents of the building, ‘not you of course’, were quite old and therefore likely to require such a service.  Given that there is only one couple who are marginally older, I suppose we should have been flattered.

It was Eleanor who had tolerated the attention of Jessica and Imogen who had been so smitten on their recent visit (see 12th May post).  I told the children that Jessica and Imogen’s Mum had, when she was not much older than Eleanor, gone into business with her friend Matthew.  They had made and sold candles.  Eleanor wasn’t really into candle making.

Louisa and Matthew Colbourne, great friends still, had been very like Eleanor and Henry.  Ever resourceful, inseparable, and immensely loyal, what began as a sale of refreshments in the garage developed into an established company, with a bank account, producing hand-crafted candles.  Their parents had to dragoon their friends into the garden to purchase curled up sandwiches and luke-warm orange squash, but the candles sold themselves.  They really were quite good.  It was a proud Dad who took Louisa and her business partner, in their very early teens, into the bank in Newark to open their official company account.  Like all candles, it eventually fizzled out, but it was very exciting while it lasted.

Back lawn, Castle Malwood Lodge

It was quite late in the afternoon today when I set off to walk the two fords Q.  Starting with the back lawn of the Lodge garden, the early evening sun lent a gorgeous light to the landscape. Running Hill Midges appeared to be floating on the beams, and long shadows produced dramatic affects. Hedgerow Hedgerows chirruped and sang, for all the world as if they were flocks of joyful birds.  Hedgerow 2

For the first time this year my sandals came out and my feet went into them.

On my return we were joined by Eleanor’s parents, David and Nicky.  We had a drink together before they repaired to their barbecue and we came inside to consume Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi (recipe) with her savoury rice which has really taken off.  I drank Blason des Papes Chateuneuf du Pape 2011 with this.

Field and branch

I had met Nicky before when I had had the temerity to offer her running tips as our paths had crossed twice when I was on a walk and she was on a run.  She had told me later that I had been very helpful, which was a relief, but I hadn’t connected her with her daughter.