Venison For Christmas

The weather picture this morning was of strong winds propelling variable clouds, some unloading precipitation of heavy rain and piercing hale, and bright sunshine, all vying for the available time.

Thus, our naked trees enjoyed ever-changing backdrops,

while the house was often brightly lit.

Among other tasks, Aaron planted beside the cypress trunk two heavily scented pink climbing flora –

clematis Montana Mayleen and

rose The Generous Gardener. There will be later additions.

Meanwhile the first of our camellia buds burgeons.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Helen and Bill’s home in Fordingbridge where, with Shelly and Ron we all enjoyed

Helen’s delicious dinner of succulent roast venison topped with bacon; crisp roast potatoes, including the sweet variety and onions; three colours of carrots; firm Brussel’s sprouts and cauliflower with which red and white wines were imbibed. We had begun with canapés and mulled wine. The meal was completed by a moist chocolate log topped with sliced strawberries.

This feast was followed by an impossible Christmas quiz in which Shelly won with a creditable 12/25, Jackie came second with 9, Ron managed 8 and I came last with 6. Helen and Bill were let off because they had done it before. Afterwards we enjoyed anecdotal reminiscences, in particular horse drawn deliveries of groceries and milk; rag and bone men; fish and chips and other meals; house prices and educational practices. We tried to stick to an embargo on the recent election.

I am definitely converted to venison for Christmas.



Just After Sunset


The clear light of the last few days gave way today to a weaker sun seeking refuge behind shifting clouds. Jackie drove us to Ringwood where I bought some inks from Wessex Photo and she enjoyed a successful clothes shop at M & Co. We continued on into the North of the forest.

A splendid maple blended well with the tiles of a house in Ibsley.

From the bottom of Abbots Well Road I wondered how the cattle kept their footing on the  slopes of their hillside.

To the west over the moors on Roger Penny Way a feeble sun thought about sinking low; indigo clouds scudded across blue skies to the east.

We thought that would be the last of tonight’s sunset, until Jackie had the bright idea of aiming for Sway Tower. We just missed the hoped for phenomenon, but the pastel skies above the red-gold glimmer still had much to offer.

Elizabeth arrived home from her trip to Edinburgh and visiting Mum, just after us.
We dined on Jackie’s splendid steak and mushroom pie; creamy mashed potato; tasty gravy; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo Malbec 2017. The Culinary Queen didn’t.

Spirit Of Love


House from Dragon Bed

As a supplement to yesterday’s post, this is a view of the house from a corner of the Dragon Bed. The white patch to the lower right of the photo is the proposed site of the

Greenhouse sections 1Greenhouse sections 2

 greenhouse that was delivered this morning. Everything comes flat packed today. The paint tin is a feeble protection against the expected wind from the thunderstorm that arrived later.

Jackie tending front pots 1Jackie tending front pots 2

Around the right-hand corner of this second picture, Jackie tended the pots fronting the garage door.

Spirit of Love cover

This afternoon, I finished reading Spirit of Love by Ramanlal Morarjee.

Having himself arrived in England from India at the age of 17, the author was well equipped to write this tale of a traditional Indian family’s life journey from their country of origin through experiences of adaptation from the mid-1950s through to the post millennium age. As a writer he displays the sensitivity and skills to convey the story. His sentence length and construction take us along at a good pace. He particularly displays empathy with Rakhi, his main protagonist, whose marriage to Rahul was arranged when she was 14.

I will reveal no details of the story, save to say that we are given insights into the customs and traditions of Indian village life; of the process of arranging marriages, which continued at least for the next generation in this country; of the struggles of adapting to their adopted countries, and the attitudes of the younger generation.

Mr Morarjee writes from the heart, and one has the sense that some of the more painful passages may reflect his own experiences or those of people close to him. I do not wish to convey the impression that this is a tragic book. It certainly conveys the spirit of love.

The copy I have been sent was published by Author House in 2011. (ISBN 978 1 4567 8690 8). Although the quality of the writing shines through, it could have done with a little proof reading/editing.

Sausage casserole

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower, and tender runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I drank an excellent Calvet Fleurie 2015 given to me by Mat and Tess for my birthday.

By Request


Pauline, The Contented Crafter, recently expressed an interest in seeing a photograph showing the whole length of the garden and the house. Well, this may have been possible were it not for the foliage in between. Nevertheless, I did my best to comply.

Old Post House

I managed to cross the road at the front of the house without either dying in a road accident or falling in the ditch on the other side.

Front garden corner

There was no room for the corner facing the trellis in that view of the building.

Weeping Birch bed to house

I aimed in the direction of the house from as far south as was possible, beginning with the Weeping Birch Bed;

Brick Path to house

the Brick Path was next;

Back Drive barrier to house

then the Back Drive barrier;

Oval Path to house

the Oval Path;

Rose Garden to house

and the Rose Garden.

Well, at least they show glimpses of the back of the house.

House roof from Back Drive

Here are a couple of sightings of the roof, one from the Back Drive,

House roof from compost heaps

and another from the compost heaps.

Garden view from Garden Room windowGarden view from Bathroom windowGarden view from Dressing Room window 2Garden view from Dressing Room window 1

Here are some aerial views from the bedroom and bathroom windows.

Jackie watering

This one features Jackie watering, on which she spent much time. To the right of the fence is the North Breeze jungle.


Here are today’s dahlia

Sweet peas

and some white sweet peas.

Clippings on Back Drive

Normally Aaron takes his clippings to the dump at no extra charge. Yesterday Jackie insisted that he left them for us to deal with. The orange bags in this picture were already destined for the Effort Recycling Centre. The heaps in the foreground filled them up again after we had completed our first trip. We needed to chop them up a bit more to fit them in. We then made a second journey.

Tables in car

I was only a couple of days ago that Jackie was announcing that she had come away empty handed from our last few trips to Efford. That run was to be interrupted today with these two tables. The metal, glass-topped, one was for the greenhouse to be delivered tomorrow, so she may be forgiven.

We had then earned a break, so we took a trip into the forest.

Horse and donkey in fly masks

Seeking shade under trees in Sandy Down a little donkey was given similar masked protection from the pesky flies to that afforded to its larger equine cousin.

Ponies and foals on road

Our chosen approach to Brockenhurst was somewhat congested with ponies and their foals. Can you count how many?

Eventually we found ourselves at Patrick’s Patch in Beaulieu.

Wildflower meadowWildflower meadow 2Wildflower meadow 3

This community garden has its own wildflower meadow;

Marigolds and nasturtiums

colour coordinated marigolds and nasturtiums;


echinaceas in the form of shuttlecocks;

Swiss Chard

splendid Swiss chard;

Sweet peas 1Sweet peas 2Sweet peas 3

a variety of sweet peas;


russet sunflowers;

Rabbit carving

and a carved rabbit.

Scarecrow balloon

An admirably creative collection of scarecrows are distributed throughout. This one is a revolving balloon;

Scarecrow gourd

and this one, having a rest from watering, has a gourd for his head.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House just outside  Lymington. The service was excellent, friendly, and unobtrusive; the food excellent. We both enjoyed gammon steaks for main courses. My starter was whitebait, Jackie’s brie in breadcrumbs; my dessert Eton mess, Jackie’s crème brûlée. I drank a very good pinot noir and Jackie drank Amstel.