Pressing Necessity

Today I had had my fill of photographing raindrops inside or outside our window panes, so, with precipitation persisting, I prised the protesting ironing board out of the utility room where it has languished since before Christmas, and made a start on eight months of neglected ironing.

I managed a dozen shirts.

Later Jackie took over, adding two pairs of trousers, and starting on a pile of serviettes.

By the end of the day, although a little cool, the sun was in evidence, the breeze had dropped, the chairs were dry, and we were able to enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the patio admiring blooms such as

these, all labelled in the gallery, except for the lilies just around the corner, from our chairs.

Our dinner consisted of cheese-centred haddock fish cakes; piquant cauliflower cheese; peas, sweet corn and carrots, with which Jackie finished the Zesty and I drank La Vieille Ferme red wine 2022

Windburn

Today we enjoyed more sunshine and less rain than yesterday, but the wind raged at 55 m.p.h. I battled with this on a dead heading expedition and later photographed some windswept plants – I was at least as wobbly as the flowers.

Although Jackie had taken down the most vulnerable hanging baskets they were blowing in the wind,

as were many of the flowers, some of which will be obvious from a lack of focus or a missed framing – sometimes it would be me who wasn’t holding the camera steadily enough, such as with the first of

this group of phlox.

On the other hand these lilies of the same plant, one cluster higher than the other were pictured just a second apart.

More worrying are the leaves of the Weeping Birch, already prematurely aged by wind-burn from previous gales.

Comparatively sheltered are most of the day lilies

and some of the roses.

The decking and St John’s wort were largely protected.

This afternoon, Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon Ladies final between Marketa Vondrousova and Ons Jabeur.

This evening we all dined on Red Chilli Takeaway’s excellent fare, with which Jackie, Ian, Dillon and I drank Kingfisher.

Footpaths Today

Jackie and I undertook a Tesco’s shopping trip today, after she had made purchases at Ferndene Farm Shop.

After lunch I conducted a long dead heading session with my new Wilkinson’s secateurs given to me on my birthday by Flo and Dillon. Later, I produced a few garden photographs.

On the near corner of Flo’s Fairy Garden stand a little patio seating set waiting for a permanent place when some healthy plants have been thinned out and the elfin gravel paths have been cleared a bit.

One cluster of day lilies stands beside the Shady Path

Gazebo and Brick Paths all now cleared,

attention has now been given to footpaths across the beds like these to the Orange Shed and through the West Bed;

and to the decking area cleaned and potted up.

Tall lilies tower over even climbers like Shropshire Lad in the Rose Garden.

We have ubiquitous varieties of day lilies and hot lips throughout the beds.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in pleasant conversation with the ladies of all ages in the household.

This evening we all dined on superb pork and chive sausages with creamy mash and fried onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Sierra Los Andes Mendoza Malbec 2022.

Birth Announcement Card

The fairly regular substantial showers of heavy rain that we are experiencing this week has really freshened the garden and perked up flagging flowers such as

Japanese anemones which are somewhat stunted;

solanums both blue and white like this one that cascades over a tall dead elm;

various dahlias had been dried up and hanging limp;

several of these lilies had bowed low and lost their bloom;

Absolutely Fabulous continues to live up to her name;

Flower Power has risen like the Phoenix;

For Your Eyes Only still draws insects on the wing;

Rosa Glaucas’ blooms may be over, but their hips shine with health.

This afternoon Becky helped me make a birth announcement card for Ian’s concerned stepmother. This involved printing and resizing

this photograph produced by Flo when Ellie was 6 days old, for the front page,

and this one at 14 hours taken by Dillon for the inside.

During this process, when Becky was using the mouse and I was wanting to add my input to the screen, I absent-mindedly tried to do it with my glasses case. Several times. Later, in the sitting room, Becky, who had been the last to leave the computer, casually mentioned to her mother that she wanted to wait until her Dad had shut down the iMac. Even when Jackie became impatient for me to do so, I didn’t twig what was going on. I decided to comply.

Lined up in place of the confiscated mouse were my mobile and landline phones, two specs cases, and two TV remote controls. The two ladies stood leaning in the doorway quivering with silent glee.

Ian, who had paid for yesterday’s takeaway, went back home to Southbourne late that night and so was not with us to partake of the leftovers this evening.

The rest of us grazed when we had motive and opportunity. Jackie and I enjoyed the first sitting entertained by lightning strikes momentarily illuminating the tails of cats and dogs swept along in blustering gusts lashing the windows to the sound of manic drum rolls that was another electric storm. Mrs Knight drank Peroni, and I drank Château La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020.

When I returned to write this last paragraph my white mouse had transmogrified into a bar of soap.

Garden And Album Arrangements

While Jackie continued working in the Rose Garden, I trimmed half of Karen and Barry’s wedding photographs and laid them loosely in the first of the albums.

I keep imagining that the Head Gardener will have completed the clearing and tidying of the Rose Garden, but there is always something more to admire.

Today she unclogged the water fountain and set it going again, and refreshed and planted up one of the stone urns;

cleaned Scooby’s stone and refreshed the lettering;

and cut back the roses in the bed beside the orange shed, leaving sweet pea bunting in place.

Dillon has now joined Flo in watering containers like the hanging basket above – a task of life-giving irrigation. What is very surprising is that this lace-cap hydrangea has survived on no water for a month.

We have numerous varieties of lily, still including hemerocallis.

Blue agapanthus blooms in the Pond Bed, have popped out of their casings, while others in the Palm Bed are still to emerge.

The Puerto Rico Dahlias share a bed with clematis and phlox; the deep red ones are in the West Bed.

Jackie has successfully grown a number of zinnias from seed.

This the most plentiful hibiscus.

This peach climber is producing its third flush of the year.

There are more benefits of watering seen in these views looking west.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish, chips, and mushy peas, with Garner’s pickled onions, with which Jackie drank Trentin Pino Grigio 2021, Dillon drank Hoegaarden, Flo drank elderflower cordial, and I finished the Rasteau.

Reaching Above The Potting Shed

Flo, yesterday evening, and Jackie this morning spent a good deal of time continuing the tidying of the Rose Garden.

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/07/24/a-knights-tale-146-big-clean-days/

After lunch I bagged up the last of the debris from the Rose Garden and watered the raised bed at at the end of the Back Drive. Flo had watered the containers last night.

As can be seen from these photographs I produced later this afternoon the container watering has kept the garden glowing.

Super Elfin rose stretches from the Gothic arch which spans the Brick Path.

The Rose Garden had been opened up again.

Jackie was working in there for a while longer.

The lilies to the top left of this garden view reach above the potting shed.

This evening we dined on more of the Papa John’s pizzas with which Jackie and I repeated our beverages while Flo drank Mango J20

A Mis-sold Cousin

Among this morning’s reminiscences is the tale of the mis-sold cousin. Becky told us about the announcement that she had a new cousin who was a girl. This was Alex, a few years younger. Our daughter was very young herself, but old enough to look forward to having someone new to play with, because she was surrounded by boys in the form of her brother Mathew and various other cousins.

When introduced to the two week old baby, Becky was so disappointed and remembers thinking “what can I do with that?”. Today she expressed the humorous view that this was a case of mis-sold goods.

After a tour of the garden on another drizzly day, Becky and Ian returned home this afternoon. These images include dahlias; a deep red gladiolus; three different views of the Pond Bed; hanging basket petunias alongside Japanese anemones; hanging basket lobelias, bidens, and petunias beside double lilies; hibiscus; roses; white sweet peas; mostly white planting on Dead End Path; yellow and orange crocosmias; raindrops on calibrachia and pelargoniums; and, finally, another lily.

Later, I published https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/21/a-knights-tale-20-no-mod-cons/

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender chopped cauliflower leaves, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and Tess and I drank Papa Figos Douro 2019 which she had brought with her.

Despite The Winds Of August

Yesterday’s winds were not quite as bad as expected, but they persisted today, amid sunny spells. The Head Gardener carried out more pruning, clipping, and tidying, with minimal assistance from me.

After lunch I wandered around with my camera.

Here is a selection of our white flowers, comprising Marguerites, cosmos, dahlias. Japanese anemones, and petunias.

Begonias come in varying colours, shapes and sizes.

as, of course, do the dahlias.

The pale peach and the yellow Summer Time climbers flower throughout the season.

Hues of hydrangeas and lilies, including hemerocallis are also numerous.

Crocosmia, including Lucifer, towering in the Palm Bed, and the more orange one against the red Japanese maple in the Pond Bed send up flickering flames signifying different heats.

Despite the winds of this unusual August, we still enjoy the exuberance of Nature’s painter’s palette.

I then scanned the next four of Charles Keeping’s skilfully sensitive illustrations to Dickens’s ‘David Copperfield’

‘I lay my face upon the pillow by her, and she looks into my eyes, and speaks very softly’

‘Standing by the building was a plain hearse’

‘The ship rolled and beat with a violence quite inconceivable’

‘ ‘I will speak!’ she said, turning on me with her lightning eyes’

Shortly before dinner, I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/09/a-second-revolution/

The delicious meal consisted of roast chicken thighs; crisp Yorkshire pudding and fried potatoes; herby sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; with thick, meaty, gravy. We each drank more of our rosé and red wines respectively.

An Arboreal Ossuary

This morning Jackie continued with her general maintenance work, including

autumn cleaning the greenhouse, and clearing and resetting paths such as the Head Gardener’s Walk.

My minimal intervention was the removal of brambles invading from No. 5 Downton Lane. This, and the amount of weeds piercing the gravel is somewhat reminiscent of our arrival here 1n 2014.

I then wandered around with my camera.

Each of these images bears a title in the gallery,

as do these in the front garden one. Please ignore the rose stems that need sorting out.

This afternoon we drove into the forest.

If these ponies had come for a drink beside Bisterne Close they would have been disappointed because the pool has virtually dried up.

I stopped along Burley Road to investigate the tree work on the fallen giant that has recently added its bulk to the

arboreal ossuary that this area has become.

Early this evening, having been encouraged by my very good blogging friend, Uma Shankar, One Grain Amongst the Storm, and endorsed by another, Laurie Graves, to break up the sequence of material on my three great aunts, I made headway in preparing the next episodes of A Knight’s Tale.

Later, we dined on a repeat of yesterday’s menu, with which Jackie drank the same white wine and I quaffed Colin-Bourisset Fleurie 2019.

The Gruffalo

Jackie spent this pleasantly sunny morning completing a line of granite setts edging the lawn. I carried a few down from the back drive, so I know how heavy they were.

Here is the work in progress;

and here, the completed job, and finally the semi-circle around the gazebo planted up. The penultimate image offers Where’s Jackie? (9)

Danni and Ella came to lunch, which, as the wind was becoming furious, we ate inside. This included a birthday cake Danni had brought for me along with a good bottle of Barolo, and a card containing drawings of monsters by Ella. Because Danni had been pinged by Track and Trace they had been isolating on the actual date.

As usual, Ella made a beeline for her toys and was soon

reading a book with sound effects on the sofa with her mother.

Then, phone in hand, she demonstrated that she has begun to pose when a camera is trained on her.

After lunch we watched

on BBC iPlayer.

Our great-niece has reached the bossy stage, so adults in turn were led off “to school” in the library. She has a few older friends who are already attending school and would like to join them. This is perhaps the next best thing.

Elizabeth had joined us after lunch and was given a tour of the garden by her granddaughter. GeeMa, as the grandmother is known, and I were in turn sent off to replenish the duck irrigator as Ella watered flowers and replenished the fountain standing in the Rose Garden beside rose Twice in a Blue Moon which had been given to us by Becky for the Anniversary of our second wedding. Lady Emma Hamilton rose and very tall sweetly scented lilies are also blooming well.

Neither Ella nor GeeMa was permitted a peaceful rest because they were being chased around by “a big pile of poo”.

Eventually the windspeed escalated enough to start blowing things over and smashing them, so we were forced to take the normal battening down the hatches precautions – somewhat late.

Our visitors left at about 4.30 and Ella, who had refused to say goodbye, was asleep before reaching Pennington.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Red Chilli takeaway food with which Jackie drank more of the rosé and I drank Recital Languedoc Montpéroux 2018