A Normal Day For Aaron

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN THE GROUP ACCESS A GALLERY THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Today, Easter Sunday, we confined ourselves to light gardening. For Aaron it was a normal day.

Compost bins

He reorganised the compost bins. This involved shifting the greenish fencing to the left from behind the Head Gardener’s Shed, and moving the contents of one heap into the one I had emptied during the week.

Ace Reclaim bench

He painted the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Phantom Path

He weeded more paths, and moved spare posts from the rickety orange shed to the trunk of the sturdier beech tree. Both of these tasks are shown in this view of the Phantom Path with the beech at the far end.

Heligan Path

Another snaking path was that entitled Heligan.

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

The Shady Path, seen beyond the Dragon Bed;

Gazebo Path

and the Gazebo Path were weeded last week.

Ajugas

We have many ajugas, such as these

Oval and Elizabeth's Beds

 in the Oval Bed, like Elizabeth’s Bed beyond, now fully composted.

We have almost finished the preparation of the Rose Garden, the first image of which shows the chimney pots in the distance, and the vantage point from which, at the south-easternmost corner I photographed the

Jackdaw 1

jackdaw, now guarding the nest inside the chimney, with my little ZX700 HS. Every so often the bird descends into the chimney.

geranium macrorrhizum Ingwersen's Variety

The geraniums macrorrhizum Ingwersen’s Variety are now blooming nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, fish pie, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with which I finished the shiraz.

Keep Off My Roof

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

We carried out a little more gardening maintenance today.

Jackie concentrated on conditioning beds and pots like this sweet pea trough.

Jackie preparing sweet pea trough 1

It was not her own hunger that caused her to apply her teeth to the seal of the Miracle Gro tub.

Sweet pea trough

This was food for the plants.

Compost on oval bed

In addition to my usual clearing up after the Head Gardener, I transferred more barrow loads of compost to the Oval Bed.

A sleek jackdaw patrolling our ridge tiles, head turning this way and that, uttered repeated warning cries of ‘Keep off my roof’.

This evening we dined on roast chicken; sweet and ordinary roast potatoes; sage and onion stuffing; with green and orange mixed veg, namely Brussels sprouts, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and i drank Cimarosa Limited Edition shiraz 2014.

Evil Little Weevils

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN PAIRS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE AFTER SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Jackdaw

Yesterday afternoon our peace was disturbed by a clattering and scratching emanating from the wall behind a radiator in the TV half of the sitting room. We used to hear that in the open fireplace. Until we lit a fire. Clearly the jackdaws were back, building their nest in a now boarded up chimney. Sure enough, one was perching sentinel on a chimney pot this morning.

Violets

Much of the day was spent attending to the garden, throughout which violets are popping up.

My contribution was generally tidying up and cutting the grass.

The Rose Garden is coming along quite well,

Front garden

as is the Front Garden.

 I was close enough to this wasp in the orange shed to be sure that we do have them.

Jackie’s efforts included relining the Waterboy’s pond which had sprung a leak;

Vine weevil

replenishing the soil in pots and hanging baskets, during which she discovered her first clutch of evil little vine weevils;

and poking holes with an aerator into the less healthy looking grass patches.

Hole in fence

While we took drinks in the Rose Garden before dinner, Jackie spotted that the Big Beast has shown us what it thinks of my pathetic round peg in the square hole. It has simply moved along a touch and ripped off a lot more fencing. We really do hope it is not a rat.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, and vegetable samosas. Jackie, having drunk Hoegaarden earlier, did not join me in my Bergerac 2015. Not that she would have done anyway. It is not her tipple.

Heard On The Telegraph

CLICKING ON THE SMALLER, CLUSTERED, IMAGES ACCESSES THE LARGER GALLERIES WHICH CAN BE FURTHER ENLARGED.

Many of the negatives from the French holiday of 1985 are in black and white Ilford film. This was my favourite in the dark ages of the early 1980s when I printed my own work in monochrome with chemicals in the blacked out kitchen makeshift darkroom. I scanned another batch today.

A useful prop in the garden of the gite, were the cartwheels.

Sam stirring water 1985

They worked on their own, or as a backdrop for Sam’s poking about in the water.

The nearby woodlands offered contrasting light,

and lengthening shadows across the roads.

blackbird

During the process of producing this post, I realised, on gazing out of the window, that a jackdaw had heard on the telegraph that I was working in black and white, and helpfully posed, perching on a pole, cocking its head to make sure that it had heard aright.

Anyone who has followed my technical problems ever since I uploaded Mac’s new operating system will be relieved to learn that this work was done on that machine. This morning, I received an update from Apple which seems to have ironed out a few problems. Don’t get too excited, but do watch this space.

This evening we dined at Lal Qilla in Lymington. We received the usual very warm welcome, excellent food, and friendly, attentive, service. My meal was king prawn Ceylon and Jackie’s chicken Haryali. We shared a naan, special fried rice, and a caulliflower bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.

I Guess I Will Never Know

Becky has pointed out that Jackie’s hand is reflected in the eye of the donkey in ‘Close Encounters Of The Asinine Kind’. I have added a postscript to this effect.

Jackdaw

We are doing our best to learn the myriad of bird calls we hear in the garden. When they are all sounding at once it is difficult to separate them. So, when setting out this morning to walk to Roger’s field and back, and hearing a single note ‘chuff’ from a large black bird perched on North Breeze roof, I used my camera as an aid to identification. Zooming in on this distant creature revealed it to be a jackdaw. I have often noticed that this device has a keener eye than we do.

In our garden we now have:

Wallflowers

wallflowers,

Spirea

spirea,

Fritillaria

fritillaria,

Tulips 2

and more tulips,

Tulip

yellow versions of which brighten the front garden.

The small front garden did not receive much attention last year, as we concentrated on the larger back one. Jackie did, however, train a rambling rose along the fence. This is now covered in new shoots.

Rose stem with greenflyRose stem with greenfly - Version 2

And greenfly. When I showed the head gardener this crop, she vowed immediate vengeance.

Jasmine

Jackie has also positioned for planting a jasmine, obviously forced into early blooming by the supplier.

Because Christchurch Road, once a gentle country thoroughfare, is now a busy link between Lymington and Christchurch, our refuse bags are collected from the front of the house early in the morning before the traffic builds up. Should we forget to put them out on Wednesday evening, we have the option of placing them on Downton Lane where they are picked up later in the morning.Bin bags

Today, wildlife had got to them before the refuse collectors.

Ragged robin

Ragged robin is beginning to festoon the lane,

Dandelions and primroses

where dandelions converse with primroses.

The preponderance of yellow in the hedgerows is now being challenged by the white of:

Blackthorn 3Blackthorn 1

blackthorn,

Cow parsley

cow parsley,

Daisies

and daisies.

This afternoon, from the end of the back drive, I noticed a woman, a mobile device in each hand, wandering, perplexed, around the pub car park. I asked if she needed any help. She said she was playing a game. Thanks to Louisa, I realised that this was geocaching, described by Wikipedia as:

an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarkingtrigpointingorienteeringtreasure-huntingletterboxing, and waymarking.’

I told the woman I couldn’t be much help with the technicality, but I was sure my granddaughters Jessica and Imogen would have been useful, because they love the pastime.

The Royal Oak telephone number provided one clue which led to the next, being a box marked 5. Now, the bin bags I had photographed earlier belonged to number 5 Downton Lane, almost opposite the car park, but my acquaintance saw no box. She had the option of turning left down the lane, or right in the direction of Hordle Lane. She chose the latter. Later, pondering, as you do, I remembered that my neighbours had twin drives and another set of gates.

Had I missed the opportunity of being a brilliant hero? I had to go and check, and, sure enough, the other, more concealed gates bore a letter box numbered 5. There was, however, no waterproof container to be seen. I guess I will never know.

When Jackie returned this evening from Mr Pink’s with his perfect fish and chips, to which we added pickled onions and mushy peas, she announced that she had pushed the boat out. This did not mean that she had made her own fishing trip, but that, by buying three pieces of cod and one portion of chips, she had spent slightly more than usual. She did this because we have never managed to consume two complete bags of the shop’s plentiful fried potatoes. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I abstained.

A Game Of Peep-Bo

Sunrise 1Sunrise 2

As I put out the bin bags at dawn this morning, the smoking fire further East down Christchurch Road revealed itself to be a blazing sun emerging to presage the splendid day we were to enjoy.

A little later, a crouching figure was seen to dart across to my desk and scamper back again. This was Flo, having risen surprisingly early to commandeer my camera for the next hour or so. Ladybird

She must have got the bug yesterday for she was to produce some even more successful pictures of our garden birds.

Here is a selection of her work:Thrush

A thrush on the rooftop projected its shadow into the ether. How this shot was achieved will be revealed tomorrow, for the benefit of those who haven’t worked it out.Female house sparrow

She captured house sparrows, both female

Male house sparrow 1Male house sparrow 3

and male.

Collared dove

The collared dove had found a new perch.

Jay 1Jay 2Jay 3Jay 4

Flo interrupted a jay’s breakfast, but it carried on regardless.

Female greenfinch 1Female greenfinch 2

A female greenfinch continued with hers

Male greenfinch

while her consort launched himself from the feeder.

Blackbird

A blackbird ignored the spider’s web beneath it.

Starling

Starlings are notoriously greedy beasts. Alone they must wait their turn at the trough.

Robin 1Robin 2Robin 3Robin 4Robin 5

An inquisitive robin removed its head from the feeder, straightened up, and engaged in a game of peep-bo.

Jackdaw

Finally a jackdaw snaffled two peanuts

Jackdaw's tail

and, of course, flew off at the sight of the camera.

When the Canon SX700 HS was returned to me I took a hobble down the garden and a few yards into Downton Lane.

Honesty

Our honesty is now in flower,

Epimedium

as is the epimedium

Skimmia

and the skimmia at the entrance to the back drive.

The lane itself has a profusion of

Primroses

primroses,

Celandine

celandines,

Cowslips

cowslips,

Daisies

daisies,

Grape hyacinths

and grape hyacinths.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi (recipe), boiled egg curry, egg fried rice (recipe), and paratas. Jackie, Ian, and I drank Kingfisher; Becky drank rose; and Flo, J2O.

The Jackdaw

As I ambled along to the post box alongside Ivy Cottages, I realised that I had, in an earlier post, misinformed my readers about the visibility of Ashley Clinton Manor tower from Christchurch Road.Christchurch Road and Ashley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor tower zoomed

Such is the serpentine nature of the A337, that, although Angel Lane is on the left, looking across the fields to the right the tower is clearly visible from this point, although a little further along foliage, when clothing the now naked trees will obscure it.

All my life I have struggled to find an armchair high enough off the floor for comfort, but only comparatively recently have needed to use my hands to prise myself out of it.Flo, Ian, (Becky), Oddie and Scooby

My favourite Edwardian chair, when not occupied by the Emsworth family, has always suited me well.

Because of the nature of the majority of the shops in Highcliffe High Street, when I first visited this town I quipped that I was not ready for it. Now, realising that perhaps I am, we continued our chair search, and found just the job in Fergusson’s House Clearance. The chosen item is the second that can be seen in the shadows of the shop doorway.Fergusson's House Clearance Services

 

Jackdaw 1Jackdaw 2Perched high up under the eaves of Highcliffe Watchmakers in Waterford Road, a jackdaw fixed its beady eyes on us. It blended in so well with the woodwork that, had Jackie not spotted it and its mate in the guttering, I might have missed it. This shop also sells jewellery, and since jackdaws are noted jewel thieves, these birds were probably waiting to slip in behind another customer opening the door, so they could nip inside and snaffle something shiny. ( When posting daily you need a bit of luck, don’t you? )

Our evening meal didn’t quite go according to plan.

Our old friend Tony visited us this afternoon. He expected to leave after a couple of hours to return to Chelmsford via Petersfield. After this we thought we might go out somewhere. Unfortunately Tony couldn’t start his car and had to embark upon a series of telephone calls to initiate a recovery process. Whilst this was going on Jackie volunteered to go out to fetch a takeaway.

Then…………Ah……..

Tony’s immobilised vehicle was blocking her in.

He didn’t have the appropriate insurance cover for recovery, so he had to stay the night and hope Downton Service Station could resolve the problem in the morning.

So we enjoyed a superb omelette stuffed with peppers, mushrooms, and onions; chips; peas; baked beans; and rice pudding. Jackie drank a low alcohol rose and Tony and I finished the Bordeaux Superieur.