Rapid-Fire Heavy Showers

This morning I converted three more posts from Classic to Block edits. These were:

I gave the first of these a different header picture;

Wayback Machine was useful for the second. The correct pictures were all in my iMac Photos on the relevant date, but since they were missing in the post I didn’t know which of those I had published. Wayback provided the answer. One image was irrelevant, so I deleted it.

I was encouraged by a phone call from James of Peacock Computers saying that he and Owen are continuing to work on some of the issues and tackling the posts from the most recent backwards, whereas I am working forwards from the older ones. This means we are quite well coordinated.

This afternoon I ventured out on a dead heading session but was

soon driven in by the first of a series of rapid-fire heavy showers, spattering patio paving and windowpanes with explosive precipitation.

I read some of Lawrence Durrell’s novel Justine which I had begun a few days ago, then nipped out during a moderation of the deluge to finish the gardening task.

Between periods of darkening cloud sunlight buffed the surface of the

dripping plant pearls, with enough respite for me to capture them with my camera. As usual, each image in the gallery bears a title.

Within seconds after each deluge the brooding skies would change to cloud-scudded cerulean blue.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie; firm carrots and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bardolino.

Garden Flowers

This afternoon I watched the Women’s Six Nations rugby matches between England and France and between Wales and Italy. I lost a bet on the first game, the penalty being that I have buy a curry.

During the half time break in that contest I photographed a few flowers in the garden. Each image is entitled in the gallery. They include Welsh poppies, daisies, tulips Lilac Wonder, rhododendron buds, Camass,hellebores, euphorbia, wallflowers, heuchera leaves, and libertia.

Later I converted the last two posts of May 2014 from Classic to Block edits and changed their categories to Garden:

This evening we all dined on pizzas and fresh salad, with which I did not imbibe because I had drunk Doom Bar while watching the rugby.

On The Brink Of May

Before watching the Women’s Six Nations rugby decider between England and France this afternoon I wandered around the garden to look at the flowers.

Blossom cascades from two crab apple trees at the front, where pink climbing roses

pink climbing roses cling to the trellis opposite the smiling pansies against the garage door.

Libertia and bluebells are both now ubiquitous,

As are these poppies which start the day in bloom and end it stripped of petals. My job is to dead head them so they will come again tomorrow.

White erigeron and pink honesty are also found everywhere, as in the Cryptomeria Bed, shared with

osteospermum.

We have a number of clematis Montanas, one of which shares the limbs of this lilac.

Various wallflowers are cropping up.

This wisteria has flowered for the first time, while the weathered camellia is showing it age.

Rhododendrons are in their prime.

Camassia and ajuga are more examples of small blue flowers.

We inherited this white blooming shrub from our predecessors. Can anyone identify it? Thanks to Carolyn (doesitevenmatter 3) for Snowmound or Spirea Nipponica

Finally, a few days ago this gravel would have harboured forget-me-nots and other little flowers which will settle anywhere. Now, it has been just one area in which Flo has undertaken strenuous weeding.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegarden, I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon, Flo drank Kombucha Raspberry and lemon, and Becky abstained.

In The Greenhouse

Reportedly only for a couple of days, the wind had stilled overnight. The day was dull and warmer, with very little rain.

Jackie spent much of the morning rescuing tossed pots and loosened climbers.

After lunch I gathered up numerous small broken branches, then cut the grass and produced a few pictures, one of which shows

the pieris between the Nottingham Castle bench and the planted chimney pot.

Florence enjoys this view across the lawn to North Breeze.

Jackie’s latest owl purchase remained safely perched on its log, surveying the view across the Dead End Path.

We also have aquilegias, violets, dicentras, peonies, and a few lingering camellias.

A number of blue irises grace the Weeping Birch Bed and elsewhere.

Some plants, like the osteospermums in the Cryptomeria Bed have suffered from wind burn.

The Gazebo Path; and the Dragon and Palm Beds have recovered well.

Jackie spent much of the afternoon potting up in the greenhouse, where she was decorated with libertia reflections.

Later I scanned the next seven of Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations to Charles Dickens’s “Nicholas Nickleby”.

‘Mr Tix transferred his admiration to some elegant articles of wearing apparel, while Mr Scaley proceeded to the minute consideration of a pimple on his chin’

‘The two combatants chopped away until the swords emitted a shower of sparks’ is a typical balanced depiction of action from Mr Keeping.

‘There bounded onto the stage a little girl in a dirty white frock who turned a pirouette’. Nothing less than a full page would suffice for her.

In ‘Two strong little boys were dragging the phenomenon in different directions as a trial of strength’, Mr Keeping has shown how balance is maintained by their planted stances.

To depict the distance between the higher admirer and the performer on stage in ‘The warmth of her reception was mainly attributable to a most persevering umbrella in the upper boxes’ the artist has used the different levels of the double spread.

‘Lord Verisoft threw himself along the sofa in order to bring his lips nearer to the old man’s ear’

In ‘ We come on a mission, Mrs Nickleby’ ‘ the success of the smarmy flattery is clearly apparent.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon; firm boiled potatoes and carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

The Roble Turnberry Bench

This morning we bit the bullet, unpacked, and assembled the new wooden Roble Turnberry bench. The last picture in this gallery shows what I look like when I have just straightened after an extended bending of my knees.

As can be seen from the first of these seated pictures we took of each other, the agony soon passes.

We have moved the new bench up to Fiveways, where we can enjoy the same views as Florence sculpture.

Here are some of Jackie’s planted urns, the first containing the last surviving purple tulip; the second, petunias and geranium against honesty in the bed behind; the third, some of her many pansies.

While I was at it, I photographed campion, rhododendron, aubretia, aquilegias, and Welsh poppies fronting the budding Chilean lantern tree.

Later this afternoon we will be driving to the Lamb Inn at Nomansland where we will meet Elizabeth and Danni for our first permitted inside a pub meal since the last lockdown that was forever-ago. I will report on that tomorrow.

Down The Back Drive

By e-mail this morning I received from my Australian friend, Gwen Wilson, a copy of a 1939 register of the residents of Shaftesbury Rd, Carshalton. This was the location of the VE Day Street Party featured in my post, “Holly”. I have added it to the post.

Later, Malachi initiated a FaceTime conversation.

Schools in Fremantle are open again. Attendance is voluntary. Other children may continue on line. My grandson had spent the day on virtual classroom worksheets .

This is his effects cartoon of his feelings about it;

and this at the end of the day.

Mal wanted to send some other pictures to my mobile phone. I was forced to explain why I couldn’t access these because I do not use the internet on my phone – this because I am old and can’t manage it. I had to resort to telling him how limited technology was when I was his age. At each stage he registered his amazement with a suitable effect.

Ordinary people did not have telephones, and those who did often had party lines shared with neighbours who could pick up their phones and listen in. We had no telephone throughout my childhood.

We didn’t have a television until I was 15 and that was a small black and white second hand one given to my father.

We didn’t have a car. We could play cricket in the London street because there were no cars there. (I do hope that is a dollop of chocolate, Mal.)

So, you see, I like to keep things simple.

For most of the day the skies darkened; a fierce wind threw garden furniture to the ground and smashed a pot; heavy rain lashed the windows, also battered briefly by sharp hailstones.

 

During a brief lull I stepped out to gather up North Breeze’s soggy rubbish scattered around our front garden. I got no further than photographing a little of it before hailstones clattered down. Was the litter the badger’s revenge?

Jacki had taken advantage of the precipitation cessation by wandering round the back drive with her camera.

She focussed on the blooming borders

with their healthy hostas,

happy hawthorns

and euphoric euphorbias. (I couldn’t help myself).

White libertia and Erigeron;

lemon antirrhinums;

and pink pelargoniums also thrive there.

The Head Gardener is particularly pleased with how the stumpery on the corner of the Weeping Birch Bed is developing.

Nearby, daffodils continue to bloom.

Just as I was photographing the gravel at the front, Jackie had reached the Star of India clematis beneath the wisteria.. Like me, she was driven inside by the piercing sleet.

This evening we dined on The Culinary Queen’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and tender green beans with which she drank Heineken and I drank Cellier des Dauphines Cotes du Rhone Cuvée Spéciale 2016.

 

“Where’s Derrick?”

Knowing that the temperature would drop and the leaden canopy overhead become a leaky colander throughout the day, we held back Jackie’s sunlit images from yesterday afternoon.

She had transformed this second footpath across the Rose Garden from a few days ago

to this, having also re-fixed the windblown mirror to the back fence. The poppies in the first picture have all been relocated.

Elsewhere backlit borage;

sunlit azalea;

and shadowy lily of the valley also caught her eye.

After lunch today I took advantage of a minor lull in the precipitation from above and photographed raindrops

pendant from solanum;

pearling  libertia;

pooling pelargoniums;

douching heuchera leaves;

bejewelling rosebuds;

caressing Queen of the Night;

refreshing rhododendrons;

purifying pale pink pieris;

cleansing clematis;

and slithering down Viulcan magnolia.

Some flowers, such as hellebores,

pansies,

and diurnal poppies, bowed their heads against the weight of the crown jewels.

While I was wandering around the garden Jackie, from the dry warmth of the kitchen,

photographed me in action.

She even managed “Where’s Derrick?” (1)

and (2)

This evening we dined on prawns: tempura prawns; prawns in hot, spicy batter; seeded prawn toasts; and Jackie’s savoury prawn, egg, and vegetable rice, followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard, with which she drank Heineken and I drank Piemonte Barbera 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ubiquitous Red Jacket

Jackie spent all this day of intermittent sunshine and clouds continuing her

weeding and watering, mostly in the Rose Garden.

I rendered minimal assistance while wandering round with a camera listening to the avian orchestral matins.

More clematises are now blooming;

Marie Boisselot blends with Erigeron cascading at her feet;

one we cannot name has scaled the gazebo;

pale pink Montana vies with blue solanum flung across this arch

 

over the Brick Path.

Splendid rhododendrons compete for attention in various locations such as

the Palm Bed with its spirea and cow parsley also seen

in front of the greenhouse in the Dragon Bed.

The Viburnum Plicatum stretches wide its ivory arms in homage to the West Bed.

Beautifully crocheted Hydrangea petals cap a container

beside the lawn.

Fuchsias like the delicate white Hawkshead;

Delta’s Sarah with her pastel pinks;

and this bright red bud bowing to the moon which will remind me of its name when it opens fully, provide their pendulous pleasure.

Variably hued heucheras extend their miniature Christmas trees.

Laura Ford graces the Rose Garden

over the entrance to which

sprawls Madame Alfred Cariere.

This garden bears much evidence of work in progress;

Jackie’s red jacket

seems to be everywhere.

The green plastic trug remains on the Gazebo Path where I deposited it yesterday while collecting up cuttings.

The path between the kitchen wall and the Pond Bed is still reasonably tidy.

Wallflowers, silene, companula, and aquilegias are happily blended in the Weeping Birch Bed which also contains some of prolific

libertia.

The Copper beech is now quite well clad.

I returned to my computer in time to receive a FaceTime visit from the Australian branch.

It was so dark in Fremantle on the way back for Sam and Holly and their children that Malachi needed to empty special effects to penetrate the blackness.

When they arrived home everything was much clearer. I think.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s sausages in red wine, with fresh vegetables. Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Rheinhessen.

 

 

 

 

Six Trains

This post by Linda at shoreacres, https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/32382/posts/2281944455 took me back this morning to my 1940s childhood.

Linda has eloquently described steam railways in America.

From 1947 to 1954 the magical – to us children at least – The Devon Belle steamed past our kitchen window in Raynes Park on its way from Waterloo station to the West Country. Details of the train and its history can be found in http://railway.g3w1.com/The_Devon_Belle/devon_belle.htm

I was intrigued to read that the author of this piece lived in Raynes Park until he was three and a half, and has memories similar to mine, although I was 5 years old in the inaugural year.

My entire childhood from the age of two in1944 to 1960 was spent in the maisonette at 29a Stanton Road, alongside which ran the railway path. The family ate in the kitchen where we could watch the trains. Chris and I would collect the numbers of those driven by electricity at any time during the day. But our favourite was https://youtu.be/XPpqD3GUmSA

This was, of course, because of the steam engines, but also the Pullman carriages which gave us something else to collect. Each of these first class cars bore a different name, usually of a woman.

When eating we were not expected to wolf down our food, leave the table, and get on with whatever else in which we had been engrossed. No, we had to wait for six trains to go by before we were permitted to “get down”.

When I open the back gate for Aaron on a Sunday morning this involves a walk down the gravelled back drive.

Beyond the gate on the south side we have a range of wallflowers and valerian;

on the opposite side there is currently a heap of the redundant griselina stumps, and more yellow wallflowers.

The dark patch of soil a bit further along, beside another stump and a spray of libertia, consists of spent compost from Jackie’s pots. This is being used to fill the holes left by the removal of the overgrown hedging.

Further still, a clump of Johnson’s Blue geraniums is found beside erigeron and bronze fennel.

This afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a brief journey before the rain set in.

Forest Road Burley was the venue for an equine mothers and babies group, only occasionally divided by the traffic with which they played havoc. Observant readers may spot the foal featured in ‘Aquatic Surface Cover’ of May 8th.

A young man with a video camera also stopped to film the scene. We enjoyed pleasant conversation.

For this evening’s dinner the Culinary Queen roasted duck breasts in plum sauce and served them with mushroom wild rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

P.S. Our friend Barrie Haynes has made this comment on my Facebook page:  ‘Unfortunately, the Devon Belle was not a commercial success. The Observation Cars had to be turned on the locomotive turntable at Ilfracombe and the station was badly sited for the town. I believe the Pullman observation cars were later used in Scotland and I think at least one of them is still with us. Because there were no water troughs on the Southern, engines were normally changed at Wilton.’

Ferns Unfurling

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea, where Peter cut my hair. We continued into the forest.

This lane is one we traversed at North Ripley.

From high ground near Linford we admired landscapes over farmland. Horses may be seen in some, and a stretch of hawthorn in another.

The Modus is still managing to cope with the narrow, winding, crumbling Holmsley Passage, on the verges of which bracken is unfolding.

Back at home I dead-headed clusters of the diurnal poppies. On the way round the garden I paused to take a few photographs. Blue solanum scales several arches, and the large wisteria drapes its arbour outside the stable door. Sculptural euphorbias tower in the beds, and clumps of erigeron carpet paving stones and walls. Geraniums macrorrhizum are sweetly scented and make good ground cover. Another rhododendron is blooming in the Palm Bed. A wasp makes a beeline for the open flower in the close-up image of this. The last of these photographs is of Libertia.

A number of our own ferns are unfurling.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy pork paprika, boiled potatoes, crisp carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.