Not Yet March

Before the rain returned for the day, a walk round the garden this grey, finger nipping, morning revealed

a good selection of camellias in a range of pinks;

plenty of flourishing lichen;

many still flowering snowdrops;

fallen leaves supported by Angel’s Wings;

dancing daffodils;

sheltered cyclamen;

mossy logs;

some hellebore heads held high;

even a bee clinging to clematis Cirrhosa Freckles.

Soon after 2 p.m. when we drove to Walkford for niece Jane’s 40th birthday party at Shelly and Ron’s, essential headlights bejewelled golden droplets in waves thrown up by other vehicles splashing through the increasing puddles, still more swollen by the incessant deluge on our return three hours later. We enjoyed a range of sandwiches, quiches, and other plentiful snacks; and a birthday cake made by Shelly. We enjoyed catching up with the various family members. A variety of beers and wines was on offer. No further sustenance was required later.

Rescued From The Rain

On this dreary but dry morning, developing on our way home into a dreary wet one, Jackie and I combined a successful search for open provision stores with a forest drive.

It was not until we reached South Gorley that a group of soggy ponies presented us with photo opportunities. The last two pictures, in front of the red house, are Jackie’s.

Two friendly equestriennes with an accompanying guide, smiled and passed on.

There wasn’t much more sign of life on this first day of 2024, until the Assistant Photographer spotted a group of deer through hedges in the vicinity of Gorley Common, and produced the first five pictured in this gallery, after which I managed the last three.

Jackie also photographed a lichen laden tree limb.

Ian had returned home to Southbourne shortly before lunch.

This afternoon Jacqueline visited with her son, our nephew James and his daughter, our great niece Illiari. Of all the stories of reminiscence the this visit promoted, the most amazing was told by Becky.

One day of driving rain late in 1997 or early ’98, covered head down as she struggled in a bus queue to gather tiny Flo and manage to enter the public transport vehicle, a young man with a child just a year older than hers left his place and helped her onto the bus. He, too, had his head down, so neither recognised the other. When they straightened up for Becky to thank him, her mouth fell open as she cried “James!”. Her cousin was equally stunned as he recognised his own similar relative. Illiaria was incubating chicken pox at the time. About ten days later Flo came out in spots.

The two young children had not seen each other again until today. The header picture is of James when he was just a little older than was Illiari on the day in question.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken thighs; crisp Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Zinfandel USA 2021.

Freckles (2)

On third successive day largely overcast but cooler I took a walk round the garden to see what I could find.

Trees were silhouetted against the midday sky, while birds flew overhead.

A few flattened limp leaves had succumbed to the cold.

Apart from the winter flowering Cirrhosa clematis “Freckles”, enjoying a brief moment of sunlight,

the nearest to prolific flowers was represented by the increasing lichen on the Nottingham Castle bench.

The peach climbing rose photographed a couple of days ago is past its peak but has a few buds waiting to take its place; the pink Generous Gardener bravely persists, as do yellow Absolutely Fabulous, Festive Jewel, and another pale pink climber.

In addition we have pansy-like violas, out of season hebes, bacopas, penstemon, and hydrangeas.

This evening we all dined on second helpings of last night’s Chinese takeaway meal with added spare ribs. Jackie drank more of the White Zinfandel, and I finished the Carménère.

Sunshine And Showers Today

Before this morning’s first shower descended I carried out a session of rose dead heading. Shirt sleeves kept me warm enough.

After a heavy spattering on our roof I introduced my lens to the sun briefly flirting with scudding cloud clusters.

Raindrops on various blooms and a few garden views came into view. The day, much of which I spent nearing the end of the second volume of Richard Church’s autobiography, continued with more overcast skies than with sunshine.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast pork with perfect tooth-testing crackling; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli and cauliflower; tender runner beans and spinach; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank more of the Lieblich and I drank Hacienda Uranus Garnacha Old Vines, 2020.

Clean Air Blooms

This morning, after mending the wooden side gate,

Martin continued working his way along the West Bed. He cut back dead plant stems, weeded, and dug up brambles and other such invaders, bagging them for burning when the weather is dry enough.

I wandered around photographing garden views and flowers, each of which is entitled in the tiled gallery.

Perhaps the most pleasing flowers are those fashioned by the lichen clinging to the Nottingham Castle bench. This replica has travelled with me for three decades in various residences from Newark to Downton via London. As a tribute to the clean air of the forest this is the first home in which it has scattered its blooms.

I spent the afternoon on picture recovery of:

I recategorised the second as Garden.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp and fresh baguettes, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz

Ready For Spring

In bright, warm, sunshine this morning Martin cleared more of last year’s dead garden material.

Here he works around the patio and Dead End Path;

The Pond Bed is now ready for new growth,

such as the tree peony in the Palm Bed, to emerge.

Daffodils, for example the tête-à-têtes, are really proliferating.

Summer and Autumn seasonal statues continue to gather lichen,

while Florence casts her shadow across the Shady Path.

Hellebores are beginning to hold up their heads; berberis, sometimes somewhat nibbled lingers on; and a hyacinth which began life in a gift pot returns year after year.

This afternoon, I facilitated enlargement and provided header pictures for the following posts:

Essentially what I am doing with these Classic Edits is converting them to Blocks.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon toting a large bag of very good clothes for Ellie which had once served Ella or Jack. She stayed for cups of tea and conversation including swapping recommendations of TV programmes.

Later the rest of us dined on flavoursome pork bangers and creamy mash with tender cabbage, crunchy carrots, fried onions, and meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Cutting Back

After lunch I recovered pictures and substituted feature images for the following posts:

His waterproof hooded jacket glistening from fairly steady light rain Martin had spent the morning cutting back last year’s dead garden material.

In order to improve the view from our kitchen window,

he began with the Pond Bed.

As will be seen from a few views I photographed on a walk round the garden, there is much more to be done.

Pearly drops slowly slid from camellias

and hellebores.

Tête-à-têtes and snowdrops happily co-existed, and

the lichen on the Nottingham Castle bench continued to celebrate the purer air of its last resting place.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli and cauliflower; tender green beans; and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Diet Coke and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Victorian Rebuild

Early this morning, a representative of Norman’s Heating visited to assess for quotation our requirements for a new oil tank. The good news is that we don’t need such a big container. We await the estimate.

After lunch Jackie drove us all to Ringwood, where we left Flo, Dillon, and Ellie while she and I took a trip out of the forest where we stopped beside

a bridge over the River Avon on the road to Harbridge.

Every year the Avon around the area overflows its banks. This is just

one spot where water meadows are created.

An egret was happily foraging there.

The little community of Harbridge has such a long history that I have included the following paragraphs for those who are interested. You may wish to skip these and scroll down to the churchyard pictures.

‘Herdebrige (xi cent.); Hardebrygg (xiii cent.); Haberigge (xiv cent.); Harebrigg (xv cent.); Hardbridge (xvi cent.).

The parish of Harbridge contains over 4,000 acres, comprising 650 acres of arable land, 986½ acres of permanent grass and 356½ acres of woodland. (fn. 1) The height above sea level is for the most part above 100 ft. and below 200 ft. The soil is sandy, the subsoil gravel, which has been considerably worked. (fn. 2) The western and south-western parts of the parish comprise the great uncultivated tracts of Plumley Heath with its tumuli and Nea Heath. In the south-east is Somerley, the seat of Lord Normanton, with its magnificent picture gallery and its park of 900 acres. Nearly the whole parish together with Ibsley and Ellingham belongs to Lord Normanton’s estate.’

‘The little village of Harbridge, with its church, lies about 2 miles north-east of Somerley, at the edge of the low meadow land to the east of the River Avon. North again are Harbridge Green and North End Park and Farm. Old Somerley is on the northern border of Somerley Park.’

‘In 1086 HARBRIDGE was held of the king by Bernard the Chamberlain, having been held by Ulveva in the days of the Confessor. The assessment had fallen from 5 hides to 3 hides and 1 virgate. (fn. 4) The subsequent history of Harbridge is not easy to unravel. Gilbert de Clare Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, the last of the Clares, was receiving a rent of 25s. 8d. held of the king by knight service at his death in 1314. (fn. 5) This was then committed to the charge of Lawrence de Rustiton, and afterwards of Richard de Rodeneye, Ithel de Keyrewent and Richard de Byflet, keepers of the earl’s lands, (fn. 6) the places of the last two being subsequently taken by Bennet de Cokefeld and William de Aylmere. (fn. 7) It was probably by virtue of the Clare possessions that the king’s name occurs in the Nomina Villarum of 1316. (fn. 8)

‘The king’s parcenary in 1316 was Isabel de Acton. (fn. 9) Her holding may be traced in the messuage and virgate the reversion of which Sir John Poyntz conveyed to Sir John de la Hale and his heirs in 1364. (fn. 10) John Palmer was then holding the estate of the hereditament of Poyntz; after his death it was to remain to Joan wife of Sir John de Acton, deceased, and after her death to remain to Poyntz or by the terms of the conveyance to Sir John de la Hale.’

‘By the early part of the 15th century Harbridge, then known as a manor, had come into the hands of a Henry Smith who was unjustly disseised by John Poole. (fn. 11) However, in January 1500 Thomas Poole of Holwall (co. Somers.), a descendant of John, sold and quitclaimed to John Smith of Askerswell (co. Dors.) grandson of Henry, both for himself and Margery, late wife of Thomas Trowe, and possibly sister or mother of Thomas Poole, (fn. 12) all right and title in the manor of Harbridge, together with all the possessions of the late Margery Trowe, and those occupied by Jane widow of John Poole, uncle of Thomas, and by Edith Poole widow. (fn. 13) The full sum due on this sale was not paid off, however, until 1504, (fn. 14) and meanwhile Poole conveyed the premises to Sir John Turbervyle and to Richard Kemer. (fn. 15) Nevertheless Nicholas Smith, heir, presumably, of John, died seised in 1538, (fn. 16) leaving a widow Sybil, on whom Harbridge was settled in dower for life, and a son and heir George. Sybil apparently married as her second husband John Okeden, (fn. 17) with whom she was holding the manor for the term of her life in 1541, (fn. 18) in which year Jaspar Smith, presumably brother of Nicholas, settled all his reversionary right on Thomas Whyte. Sybil died in 1551, leaving as heir her son George Smith before mentioned, then sixteen years old. (fn. 19)However, by 1567 Harbridge was carried by coheiresses Elizabeth and Jane to their respective husbands John Rose and Francis Poyntz. (fn. 20) The remainder was to Ambrose Rose of Ringwood, who sold it in 1601  (fn. 21) to John Wykes of Harbridge. Francis Poyntz quitclaimed to the new lord a few years later. (fn. 22) The Wykeses continued to hold during the greater part of the 17th century. John Wykes had been sequestered in 1649 and in 1654 he was still awaiting redress. (fn. 23) In 1688 Lewis Bampfield and Elizabeth his wife and Margaret Wykes, spinster, were party to a conveyance of the manor, when, however, one John Wheeler seems to have been in actual possession. (fn. 24)Elizabeth and Margaret would seem to have been the co-heirs of the Wykeses and Margaret was probably the Margaret wife of William Bowreman who with her husband and Lewis and Elizabeth Bampfield sold three messuages and land in Harbridge, Ellingham, Hurst, Blashford, Rockford, Ringwood, Lyndhurst, Linwood and the New Forest to Henry Hommige in 1689, warranting him against the heirs of Elizabeth and Margaret. (fn. 25) By 1693 the manor was in the hands of Edward Twyne (fn. 26) and in 1700 Joseph Hussey and Mary his wife sold it to Joseph Gifford. (fn. 27)Early in the 18th century Gifford must have sold the manor to James Whitaker, (fn. 28) who in 1733 conveyed it to Dayrell Hawley. (fn. 29) No further mention of Harbridge Manor has been discovered until 1810, when it was held by Percival Lewis. (fn. 30) Soon after that it passed to the Earl of Normanton (see Somerley) and now forms part of the Somerley estate.’

‘The Punchardons had an estate in Harbridge for a considerable period. In 1263 Robert de Punchardon and Alice his wife quitclaimed from themselves and the heirs of Alice a messuage and a carucate of land to William de Punchardon, Maud his wife and Hawis her sister and the heirs of Maud and Hawis. This seems to have been the same estate of which in 1375 John de Boyland of Eling and Alice his wife, holding it of the hereditament of Alice, conveyed a moiety to William de Athelyngton and a moiety to Oliver de Punchardon, the whole estate being in the actual possession of John Bereford and Denis his wife for the life of Denis. (fn. 31) Oliver de Punchardon died seised of lands there in 1417. (fn. 32) Like Ellingham (q.v.) the Punchardon moiety of Harbridge passed to the Okedens, (fn. 33) and in 1604 William Okeden sold it to Thomas Worsley, (fn. 34) who died seised in 1620, (fn. 35) leaving an infant grandson Thomas Worsley as his heir. Thomas Worsley’s daughter Barbara was the wife of a William Bowreman, whose namesake, possibly himself or a son, was dealing with land in Harbridge in 1689. (fn. 36) From that date this moiety of Harbridge undoubtedly merged in the manor proper and belongs at the present day to the Earl of Normanton.’

‘The church of ALL SAINTS is an ashlar-faced building consisting of chancel, nave and west tower, rebuilt in 1838 in 15th-century style, but part of the tower masonry appears to be older. There is a small wall tablet to Edward Dodington ob. 1656, with a quartered shield.

The bells are three in number, all by Thomas Mears, 1839.’

Extracts from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol4/pp604-606#p1

The lichen covered gravestones are largely indecipherable, although there are good number of the Pratt family. Many seem to bear very early Victorian dates, and look even earlier. There is a phalanx of four shaped yews guarding the entrance path, and one of greater age round the back. Snowdrops are in abundance.

This evening we all dined on Mr Pink’s fish, chips, and mushy peas, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s sliced gherkins. Jackie and I both drank Grüner Veltliner 2020.

Santa’s Float

On another cold, albeit slowly brightening, day Jackie and I took a forest drive just after 11 a.m.

Autumn leaves flocking on the still, silent, surface of Pilley’s icy lake will need a thaw before they begin their slow, rocking descent to the bed beneath.

Sage green lichen clung to branches

and decorated damp ivy coated trunks;

lesser limbs became embedded;

spectral skaters scraped converging rimy streaks across the frozen water,

while shaggy Shetland ponies quietly grazed.

The majority of this stubby little herd had rectified their recent absence from Bull Hill

which they now shared with curious cattle.

This bovine fixed me with a customary stare, then turned and

crossed the road. I tried not to take it personally.

Lymington River is tidal and therefore not frozen, and able to ripple and reflect the weak sunshine and Santa’s float.

In an effort to reorganise her fridge and larder, the Culinary Queen produced a varied menu for this evening consisting of left over helpings of my Susan’s chicken, of Shelly’s beef stew, one of her own earlier penne Bolognaise dishes from the freezer. She and I opted for the Bolognese while the others enjoyed some of everything. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Damp Drive

On another day of gales, gloom, and bursts of weak sunshine our brief forest drive took us along

Bisterne Close,

with its glistening autumn leaves soaking on soggy verges;

its mossy rooted and speckled lichen coated trees;

other one-eyed specimens with fanged exposed roots rising from ancient hedgerows;

a Magnum mushroom;

and bedraggled ponies wandering across into the woodland.

On the outskirts of Burley I disturbed a herd of fearful deer who didn’t know which way to run.

A so often when we dine beneath heavy rain beating on our Velux window overhead with gale force winds gusting outside, we blessed Barry for sealing our kitchen extension roof after several others had failed. Tonight’s meal consisted of pork spare ribs in sweet barbecue sauce with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice and tender green beans, accompanied by more of the Cabernet Sauvignon for her, and of the Bordeaux for me.