Autumn Arachnid


As the first autumn arachnid predator wrapped prey for its larder in the warm morning sunshine, further potential sustenance foraged for their own food stores or simply soaked up the sun. The skies clouded over soon after midday and rain fell all afternoon.

This evening, leaving enough for Elizabeth, who would be home a little later, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika, tasty savoury rice, crunchy carrots, and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016.


Maybe The Plants Were Sweating

This, the hottest day of the year so far, was so humid and overcast as to be energy-sapping and mood lowering.

Raindrops on peach rose 1Raindrops on peach rose 2

Raindrops on red rose

Raindrops on red climber

Even the overnight rain couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to slide from the weeping roses, doing their best to brighten the day.

Insects on rose

The head gardener, yesterday, had expressed pleasure that the photograph of Elizabeth’s rose had not sported any insects. I was unable to persuade these to leave this crisp yellow one. Perhaps they were taking a refreshing drink.

iris foetidissima

The unidentified delicate iris I featured a few days ago is in fact an iris foetidissima. They are now cropping up everywhere, in a multitude of colours. Named because they are supposed to stink, if ours do, the pong has not yet reached my nostrils.

Stepping stones

Maybe all the plants were simply sweating, as was I when I laid a small set of the stepping stones that Jackie has been placing in the beds in order to provide access. This one was needed to save a trek round to what we call the Dead End Path that comes to a halt at the patio wall.

This afternoon I began reading Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, which I am already finding difficult to put down, although I had to do so later, for we lit a bonfire.

Mr Pink provided our crispy cod and chips dinner. We supplied our own Garners pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I quaffed more of the cabernet sauvignon.

That’s One I Made Earlier

The Milford Conservation Volunteers have developed a Wildlife Garden Project. LeafletsGiles's gardenGiles's garden 2This morning, as we travelled to Studland Drive, couples were seen walking all over the village clutching brochures which gave them admission to 25 gardens in the small coastal town. One of these was the home of our old friend Giles Darvill, coordinator of the project. Giles himself has, in sixteen years, transformed a garden, except for a few extant mature trees, fully laid to lawn, into a haven for insects, birds and small animals. The local badger is not particularly welcome, as it eats hedgehogs. We were there to take the first 90 minute stint on the ‘door’. One of our tasks was the distribution of leaflets.

Giles and visitorsGiles and visitors 2Giles’s garden, not manicured enough to pass muster for the National Gardens Scheme, is nevertheless truly inspirational, and drew a steady stream of visitors.Long grass

Viper's buglossDead woodThe gardener has provided several useful notices, like that placed in front of the viper’s bugloss, a favourite of bees, giving informative ideas about installations to encourage various fauna.

Hibernating and nesting messDead wood provides hibernation and nesting facilities for insects, whilst heaps of branches provide something similar for other small creatures. Creepy crawlies and bees are at home in the long grass.

PondTranslucent blue damselflies flitted and hovered above the small pond bearing artefacts from our friend’s yachting activities. Other, smaller, containers of water are strategically placed around the delightful creation. One small pan contained two large pebbles. Pan of waterRealising that they would be for a particular purpose I asked Giles what this was. His answer was ‘mice’. These would be the field variety, such as the one I saw climbing and swaying on our poppies this morning.

Aesop’s crow had to work out how to bring the water in the pitcher to the level at which it could access it to drink. Giles’s mice have no need to scratch their heads for a solution.

Stone and wood installationCotoneaster stemBird feederThe garden also contains many examples of its owner’s penchant for creating sculptural effects from found stone and wood. He has, for example, simply planted a cotoneaster stem to make its meandering way skywards.

I have mentioned before that Old Post House is decorated with a number of pieces of Giles’s stained glass. So is his own home. When we admired a bird feeder featuring one, he said ‘I made that last night’.

Pony and trapBack home this afternoon, I walked down to the postbox and back, meeting a pony trotting up the hill drawing a trap and its occupants.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak, our neighbours. I enjoyed roast pork followed by blueberry cheesecake and ice cream; Jackie’s choice was mushroom stroganoff with ice cream to follow. She drank Becks. Doom Bar was off, so I settled for Ringwood Best.