Before The Gloom Descended

Neither seduced by the sultry heat that had by early afternoon almost dried the patio after much overnight and morning rain, nor the sunshine that for a short period bathed the garden, we spent some time laying down the usual plants and artefacts likely to suffer from the further storm forecast to rage from this evening onwards.

Jackie has this time pinned down the feet of her most vulnerable owl.

I also photographed flowers before the gloom descended.

Thereafter I took a large bite out of “Doctor Zhivago”.

This evening we all enjoyed succulent pork chops; crisp roast potatoes, the softer centred being sweet; crunchy carrots, and firm broccoli, with which Jackie drank more Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Graves.

A Knight’s Tale (130: Bridgetown Part 1)

One morning I walked the ten miles from our hotel to Bridgetown along what passed for a main road.  Whenever I checked directions I was told I should be on a bus.  Not that there appeared to be many bus stops.  If you wanted a ride you leapt into the road and gesticulated.  It may have been marginally safer to have been riding on one of these ramshackle vehicles which went careering along the winding roads than to have spent my time jumping into bushes to avoid them.  I am not sure.  If there was a speed limit no-one adhered to it.  Actually I did ride back and the journey was remarkably comfortable.  Unfortunately I had wasted valuable time standing in the wrong queue.  A certain amount of local knowledge was required to station oneself correctly.

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Chattel houses002
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Along these roads people lived in chattel houses.  These are portable homes, stout, and some very old. Although people didn’t seem to worry about outside maintenance, the insides looked spotless and the adults and schoolchildren who emerged from them were beautifully turned out; womens’ dresses and children’s uniforms vying with the display of the ubiquitous

bougainvillea, frangipani, and hibiscus. 

This street scene shows the sign for a roadside bar; a well cared-for church, and typical chattel houses,

Corrugated iron wall

one with some kind of lean-to constructed of weathered corrugated iron, which was a common roofing material.

Chattel House and car bits 1
Chattel House and Car Bits 2

The gardens of some of these houses contained car wrecks.

Gardens

Other occupants preferred shrubs,

Bougainvillea around doorway

such as this bougainvillea trained around a porch behind a little picket fence.

Bus stop

and along which rampant buses tore.

The children who emerged from these simply constructed homes were clad in crisp, clean, uniforms and certainly were not ‘creeping like snail, unwillingly to school’ (William Shakespeare).

A Knight’s Tale (128: Waiting On Barbados, Part 1)

During the few days waiting for Sam to arrive in Port St Charles, Barbados, and afterwards, I took the opportunity to roam the Island with my camera.

Jessica, Louisa, and I began our stay in an hotel on the southern tip of the island, some miles from the finishing point, but soon transferred to join Chris, Frances, and Fiona in one in the luxurious developing holiday playground.

Coconut seller 5.04

This area presented a stark contrast to how the rest of the inhabitants of Barbados lived. Our hotel was surrounded by a compound patrolled by armed guards to keep out people like a coconut seller seated on the wall outside. His produce looked unappetising and he charged fairly optimistic prices.

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Youn woman against spray 5.04 003
Young woman against spray 5.04 001

Some distance away, a young woman, seated on a rugged outcrop gazing out to sea, was persuaded to rise to her feet.

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Port St Charles (Speightstown on the map) lies on the Caribbean Sea to the north west of the Island. To the east storms the Atlantic ocean. The two bodies of water meet at the northern tip of the Island. Rowers need to navigate this point with precision. Too wide and the current would would carry them to Cuba, too near and they would be smashed on these rocks. The competitors rowed in pairs or solo. One of the pairs hit the rocks, and had to be rescued.

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Caribbean Sea 5.04 005
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Caribbean 5.04 009

These seascapes are of the more gentle Caribbean.

Much less inviting was the dark, violent, Atlantic that, on the last couple of days, swept my son so fast towards his final destination that he dropped his anchor to slow himself down in order to arrive in daylight. Not for him, Cuba or the rocks.

Meanwhile, I traversed the island.

Flowering cacti

Cacti flowered profusely;

Unknown plant

I learned later that this is a calotropis;

Hibiscus

this is an hibiscus;

Bougainvillea

bougainvillea grows everywhere on the island;

Breadfruit

as do coconuts.

Stork

A lone stork stands out from the long grass by the sea,

Homes on coastline

on the coast of which expensive holiday homes contrast with

Chattel houses

the traditional wooden chattel houses.

Horse

I was surprised to see a horse lurking in the hedgerow, but have since learned that racing is a popular pastime, dating from the colonial years.

Grackle

This is possibly a grackle, or a Barbadian Black Bird.

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The iridescent blue tinge on the neck of the Zenaida dove is intriguing.

Rusty drum

I expect there were plans for this rusting drum.

Succulent graffiti 1
Succulent graffiti 2
Succulent graffiti 3

I have seen graffiti in many forms, but only on Barbados has it been carved into succulents.

A Mis-sold Cousin

Among this morning’s reminiscences is the tale of the mis-sold cousin. Becky told us about the announcement that she had a new cousin who was a girl. This was Alex, a few years younger. Our daughter was very young herself, but old enough to look forward to having someone new to play with, because she was surrounded by boys in the form of her brother Mathew and various other cousins.

When introduced to the two week old baby, Becky was so disappointed and remembers thinking “what can I do with that?”. Today she expressed the humorous view that this was a case of mis-sold goods.

After a tour of the garden on another drizzly day, Becky and Ian returned home this afternoon. These images include dahlias; a deep red gladiolus; three different views of the Pond Bed; hanging basket petunias alongside Japanese anemones; hanging basket lobelias, bidens, and petunias beside double lilies; hibiscus; roses; white sweet peas; mostly white planting on Dead End Path; yellow and orange crocosmias; raindrops on calibrachia and pelargoniums; and, finally, another lily.

Later, I published https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/21/a-knights-tale-20-no-mod-cons/

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender chopped cauliflower leaves, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and Tess and I drank Papa Figos Douro 2019 which she had brought with her.

Those Who Persevered

While I photographed Jackie pruning Wedding Day, which, with her further endeavours elsewhere this morning, provided me with more clippings to chop and bag up this afternoon,

I spotted a shield bug riding a nearby hibiscus.

Later this afternoon we went in search of the surviving entries of the Hordle Scarecrow Trail.

These entries have already featured in earlier posts.

This one, in Stoneleigh Avenue, entitled ‘Key Workers and Caped Crusaders’, suffered badly in the recent storms.

In Sycamore Road, Pierre Latour celebrated a ‘Tour de France’ victory.

Dominic Cummings’s weak eyesight excuse for flouting lockdown restrictions was displayed in Sky End Lane.

Hordle Pharmacy in Ashley Lane, normally a regular entrant, did not register this year, although these two beauties feature in the shop window.

We were unable to view two others: one was destroyed in the storms, another is a hairdresser’s submission placed outside the shop when it is open – not on Saturday afternoons.

Those who persevered with this year’s fraught event are to be congratulated.

After the Hordle tour we continued into the forest, pausing at Coombe Lane where I photographed masked horses and inquisitive cattle atop a tumbling landscape where bonfire smoke resembled a spraying waterfall.

This evening we dined once more on Jackie’s splendidly succulent beef pie; very tasty gravy; boiled new potatoes; tender cabbage and crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Beck’s and I drank Gestos 2018, a sublimely smooth Malbec.

Love Knot

In an earlier post Tangental asked for suggestions for flowers that would be blooming in the last week of August when he hopes to host a family event. Although, he, the Textiliste, and Dog themselves have an enviable garden I promised to let him know what we have currently flowering. Needless to say they will be aware of most of what I have to offer, but, here goes.

This month does not finish until next Monday, the 31st, but this will be the last full week. We are predicted to be hit by another fierce storm tomorrow so I decided to post what we still have today.

The second of these two pictures demonstrates that gladioli are vulnerable to gusts of wind and need to be supported with stakes strong enough to see off Count Dracula.

Carpet roses come in a variety of colours and drape everything in sight. The red one might be appropriate for the special occasion.

Super Elfin is a fast growing prolific climber.

Given the occasion, the red Love Knot, might be appropriate; this one, and the sweetly scented peachy Mamma Mia and yellow Absolutely Fabulous survived our heavy pruning yesterday. The latter two are most prolific repeat flowering.

This is all that is left of For Your Eyes Only, the most prolific rose of all, but so resilient is it that all our snips will have prepared the way for plentiful new shoots within the next sennite (Archaic English WP).

At this time of year Rosa Glauca converts clusters of delicate pink and white flowers to rosy hips.

A variety of hydrangeas still thrive,

and hibiscus,

seen also with red and white dahlias and tall, strongly scented, bronze fennel, has come into its own.

This is of course the time for dahlias, of which we have a range.

Our Japanese anemones come in two shades of pink and in white. In the third of these images they blend well with pink pelargoniums and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah.

Pelargoniums and geraniums will grace any hanging basket,

as will begonias of any shape, size, or hue;

likewise sometimes scented petunias.

Provided you keep up with dead-heading, as with most of these plants, sweet scented phlox of many different colours will continue to delight.

We find rudbeckia hard to grow a second year, but this Goldsturm variety returns.

A number of crocosmia, like Emily MacKenzie and the yellow one we can’t identify for certain, are still blooming, although others such as Lucifer have finished, but, like Arnie, will be back.

The daisy-like erigeron and yellow bidens offer points of highlight throughout the garden. Erigeron thrives in paving, steps, and stony soil; all our bidens are self seeded survivors from last year.

Sedums begin to blush towards the end of the summer. The second picture has a backdrop of ornamental grass, some of which puts us in mind of Cousin It from the Adams Family. All good space fillers.

Eucomis, or pineapple plants, are a fun talking point;

nasturtiums trail everywhere until the first frost.

Nigella is a little blue flower.

This white solanum has flowered consistently for more than twelve months, far outstripping its neighbouring honeysuckle, now transformed into not very attractive berries. The solanum comes in blue, too.

Jackie produced a dinner this evening consisting of her special savoury rice served with prawns, some of which were spicy, and others tempura, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.

Damage Report

As I sit drafting this post bright sun shines, speeding clouds scud; wild wind howls along Christchurch Road sweeping through the garden, rustling the kitchen door curtain and setting tinkling charms jingling.

We are now into our third consecutive day/night of fierce breezes. Tentatively I ventured out to survey the damage and was able to report to the Head Gardener that she was in for a pleasant surprise.

Even the patio chairs had stayed upright, while its planting, and that of the Pond Bed, remained intact. Bigifying the third picture in this gallery will show that the whirling ladybird with the white wings enjoys full gyration whereas her red-winged sister has been somewhat restrained by an amorous verbena bonariensis.

Other views of the Pond Bed are equally encouraging. Dahlias remain strong and a solitary bee was attracted by the hibiscus;

Japanese anemones feature there and elsewhere. The Brick Path in the second picture here needs no current sweeping, although that is not a task we will undertake until the wind drops.

A few trugs have been blown about, although this bright green one remained static whilst being photographed from two separate angles. The first of these two pictures shows an empty brick plinth with the pot that should stand on it having been blown down. The container is a bit chipped and the planting spoiled, but it will no doubt recover.

Of the very few other broken plants we have this pretty, elegant, gladiolus, and the unfortunate Mum in a Million.

The tall red climbing rose in the Oval Bed has bowed enough for me to photograph it head on;

The yellow crocosmia has also dropped a little, but remains intact.

Rose Alan Titchmarsh has drooped a little and a stem of Super Elfin has come adrift from the Gothic arch where

a somewhat aged Doctor Ruppel remains in place.

The weeping birch, the copper beech, and the cordyline Australis, although swaying somewhat, are not shedding too many twigs.

White begonias shaded by the wisteria, and similarly hued petunias in the rose garden still have all their petals.

This final triptych shows the Oval Bed pictured earlier from the corner of Margery’s Bed; nicotiana sylvestris towering over the rest of the Dead End Path planting; and a small owl toppled beside the Shady Path.

All in all we are getting off surprisingly lightly.

This evening we dined on baked gammon; crisp roast potatoes, the sweet variety being soft-centred; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2017.

More Rain

Today was dank, gloomy, and oppressed by leaden skies so lethargic as to lack energy for anything more than a slow, steady, seeping of limpid liquid.

Indeed the drizzle was so thin that it was only by observing the bejewelled plants that, from indoors, at times we could not be sure that it was still raining. I became quite damp photographing liquid pearls on gladiolus, hibiscus, Japanese anemone, clematis, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, roses, spider’s webs, begonia, Angel’s wings, and pelargonium, each of which is separately identified in the gallery.

Indoors I also began work on the draft of a special future post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine; tasty boiled new potatoes; toothsome kale; and crunchy carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montepulciano.

Picnicking

Even at 8.30 this morning garden watering was shirt-soaking weather without having gone anywhere near the sprinkler.

I also produced a few photographs. Jackie said I made life difficult for myself with the camera slung round my neck. As usual, the gallery can be accessed by clicking on any image, each of which may be enlarged. This may be useful to find the camouflaged bee in the last picture.

Later, we set off for a picnic lunch. I should have known that the cattle drinking from the stream crossed by Holmsley Passage would have been inquisitive enough to

leave by the time I extricated myself from the car, and proceed to block the road.

The usual string of ponies did the same with considerably more effect than the bovines. Jackie considered that the traffic problem had been exacerbated by “old man in the road”. Well, it was a little difficult for me to round the obstacles to meet up with my Chauffeuse who had moved on ahead.

Outside Hyde CE Primary School a donkey foal stopped during feeding time for a scratch while waiting to be enrolled into ‘The Family in the Forest’.

Eventually we found a shady car park in Godshill Wood. We hadn’t bought chairs and there were no benches, so we could not emulate other, better prepared, picnickers and stayed in the open-windowed car watching

a trio of ponies clustered together for protection against the myriad of flies they had diverted from our lunch.

Another equine pair took direct shelter beneath the trees.

Occasionally a combination of the carelessly parked grey car and the cluster of ponies presented drivers with difficulty. One young lady left her car and proceeded to push a pony in an attempt to shift the group. She was pushed in turn, declared that the pony was either too hot or too grumpy, and returned her transport which threw up dust as it sped off into the distance.

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

Like Joyce’s Wet Bed

Early this sultry morning, before setting off to meet her sisters for lunch, Jackie carried out necessary garden irrigation which I continued after enjoying the lunch she had left prepared for me. After giving pots a fresh-water- and myself a sudorific-drenching I proceeded to a little dead heading that I had failed to ignore.

Aaron, working at Mistletoe Cottage, dropped in for a chat.

Later, my clammy shirt now cold, like James Joyce’s wet bed sheet (“When you wet the bed first it is warm then it gets cold.” – ‘A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man” ),

I wandered around with my camera.

The random photographic results are all labelled in the gallery that can be accessed by clicking on any image each of which may be enlarged in the usual manner.

This evening we completed the watering and I cut off a few more heads before dining on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.