An Owl Hunt

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Back Drive

This morning I made a little more progress on weeding the back drive.

The new lilies have begun to flower.

Matthew arrived with Poppy just before lunch. Our granddaughter was quickly into all the familiar toys, playing with her Dad and Grannie,

Poppy 4

but a little more sceptical about Grandpa\s face extension.

Poppy studying photographs

She certainly recognises pictures of herself, but whether or not she links them with the camera is a moot point.

Poppy, Mat & parrot

Norman’s parrot had to be released from his perch suspended from the ceiling.

This afternoon Becky took her niece on an owl hunt in the garden. This involved lots of pointing and exclamations from Poppy and expressions of amazement from Becky.

Poppy was particularly enamoured of the blue-bespectacled bird alongside the Heligan Path.

This evening we all dined at Lal Quilla, where the food and service was as excellent as ever, and Poppy was a delight, My main choice was lamb Ceylon, with which I enjoyed a share of  special fried rice, onion bhaji, and paratha.  The ladies drank diet Coke, the gentlemen, Kingfisher, and Poppy. water.

Mat and Poppy returned home to Upper Dicker and the rest of us came back to Downton.

Spot The Difference

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In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

Hordle Scarecrow Trail

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This morning we visited New Milton, for a shop at Lidl; for me to have a haircut at Hair Design opposite; and to pay some cheques into the bank, although there’s hardly any point in the current economic climate.

Following the amount of interest expressed in yesterday’s scarecrow photographs, we investigated further. The competition is judged by visitors, like us, who bought a list of entrants with space for voting on three categories: Child, Individual, and Business. There is no prize, but subscriptions go towards the September fete. The theme is Children’s Stories. The pictures taken yesterday are of children’s creations. Today we visited a few more, including

Scarecrow 7

Jun(ior) 3 ‘Red Riding Hood’, at 29, Sky End Lane;

Scarecrow 4

IND(ividual) 14 ‘Ugly Duckly’ at 49, Ashley Lane;

Scarecrow 6

and Businesses 11 ‘Tinkerbell’ at Hordle Post Office, 14 Everton Road;

Scarecrow 5

13 ‘Little Red Riding Hoodie’ at Hordle Pharmacy;

Scarecrow 3

16 ‘Mr Wolf Little Red Riding Hood’ at Everything Pets in Stopples Lane;

Scarecrow 1

17 ‘Alice in Hordle Land’ at Classic Cuts alongside the pet shop;

Scarecrow 2

and 18 ‘Wanna bite, Snow White’ next door at Co-op Stores.

Back at home, the sunlight played on front garden plants

Hibiscus

hibiscus,

Lilies

and some rather splendid lilies.

Shelly visited this afternoon and wandered around the garden with her sister.

The Raj in Old Milton is the third reincarnation in our time of the restaurant that was The Jarna when we first arrived in April 2014, then Spice of India until six months ago. We tried it this evening, and found it to be good. My choice of main course was king prawn naga. Jackie and I shared a naan, pilau rice, and tarka dal. She drank Kingfisher and I drank Cobra.

Gardening With A Camera

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Photographing while gardening is a hazardous business. I blame the camera’s unforgiving eye. My entertainment this morning was tidying up the Rose Garden with dead-heading and sweeping back into the beds the mulch bark that our avian friends daily toss onto the paving; and clearing up the Head Gardener’s clipping piles.

Crocosmia in Rose Garden

I was at risk of exposing bits I’d missed, like these few scraps of bark in this shot of crocosmia torches burning alongside the Rose Garden path;

View through gazebo

revealing tasks I hadn’t yet carried out, like the clippings in this view through the gazebo;

View from old well site

or incurring the displeasure of the Head Gardener for leaving a blue bucket in this view from the circular concrete of what we think is the site of an old well.

This afternoon we continued with our usual garden maintenance activities, mine, of course, including the new camera, with which I am beginning to capture elusive insects in flight.

Small white butterfly in flight

Small White butterflies are never still;

Bee and cosmos

and bees, like this one aiming for a crocosmia, are apt to dart from one plant to another.

Included among the many varieties of fuchsia we have

Fuchsia Chequerboard

Chequerboard,

Fuchsia Hawkshead

Hawkshead,

Urn with fuchsia Army Nurse

and Army Nurse, this one sharing an urn with trailing lobelia.

Rose Garden

There is also variety in the Rose Garden, provided by different types of flower, such as lilies, geraniums, petunias, penstemons, heucheras and honeysuckle, in addition to the crocosmias mentioned earlier.

Crême de la crême

Crême de la crême,

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral are among the white scented varieties of rose;

Mamma Mia reflected

Mamma Mia is here reflected in one of the mirrors placed for that purpose.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Qilla, where, despite their being very crowded, we received our usual warm welcome, friendly, efficient service, and excellent food. My choice was king prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; and we shared mushroom rice, egg paratha, and Tarka dal. We both drank Kingfisher.

Sunset 1Sunset and reflection

With the promise of an interesting sunset on our return, we diverted to Milford on Sea. In the second shot the sky is reflected in the Modus’s roof.

 

 

The Death Of The Heart

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Today, I have been mostly watering plants.

Nicotiana

Nicotiana now soars aloft.

Clematis Diversifolia Hendersonii

Several of our clematises, such as Diversifolia Hendersonii

Clematis Queen Mother

and Queen Mother in the front garden,

Clematis

and Duchess of Albany on the Rose Garden pergola bear hats of invisible pixies frolicking and turning somersaults in the sunshine.

Lily 1

This lily has taken two years to bloom.

Lily 2

Many, like this one, live just one day.

Bee on nasturtium

Bees are drawn to our nasturtiums.

Kniphofia

The kniphofias have poked their way up through the soil,

DDahlias

as have the red hot dahlias in the New Bed. The first is Bishop of Llandaff. I’m not sure about the others.

View from Shady Path

This view from the Shady Path encompasses

Hollyhocks

Margery’s hollyhocks.

While I was watering, Ronan was fixing our boiler, not that we will need heating any time soon.

The Death Of The Heart001

This is the blurb on the back cover of

The Death Of The Heart002

which I finished reading this evening.

When my blogging friend, Lisa learned that I was embarking on this novel she remembered that when she had read it, a long time ago, she had found it sad. I would trust Lisa’s judgement ahead of the book’s publicists.

If this is a story of adolescent love in the thirties, I am glad my teenage years were in the fifties. In my view it was more a tale of isolation and loneliness. I agree with the ‘Passion, misunderstanding…..’ paragraph above, but if this an example of ‘sublime sense of comedy’ it is so black as to be invisible to me. Remind me not to try The Orchid Trilogy.

Having said all this, I must concede that Bowen ‘is a major writer’. The book is well constructed; the prose is elegant; she has a keen eye for detail; and she develops character well. But does she like any of her creations?

Finally, Augustus John’s model has far more spirit about her than the unfortunate Portia.

This evening Jackie enjoyed a meal out with her friend, Pauline (not our NZ one); and I dined sumptuously on scrambled egg on toast and Doom Bar.

Tom Daley

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Jackie continued her creative miracles on the various beds. I rendered sporadic assistance in dead-heading, weeding, clearing up, and humping bags of compost.

Head Gardener's Walk

Here are current views of The Head Gardener’s Walk

Shady Path

and The Gazebo Path, looking across Margery’s bed in which her hollyhocks are now in bloom.

Petunias in hanging basket

Petunias in hanging baskets are ubiquitous,

Lilies 1Lilies 2New Bed

as are lilies of many different kinds in various beds. Currently they share The New Bed with dahlias and clematises.

Rose Garden

In the Rose Garden, before I’d finished dead-heading, the pink carpet rose was laid out before Love Knot, poppies, and petunias;

For Your Eyes Only

and For Your Eyes Only caught the sun.

Particularly in the morning, falling petals are suspended from spidery filaments. Spinning in the breeze some,

Fuchsia on web-string

like this fuchsia, have the appearance of Tom Daley taking off,

Honeysuckle (rocket)

or, such as this honeysuckle, shuttles aiming for space stations.

In case anyone needs to know this is what Wikipedia has to say about Tom Daley:

‘Thomas Robert “Tom” Daley (born 21 May 1994)[2] is a British diver and television personality. Daley specialises in the 10 metre platform event and was the 2009 FINA World Champion in the individual event at the age of 15. He started diving at the age of seven and is a member of Plymouth Diving Club. He has made an impact in national and international competitions from age 9. He represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics where he was Britain’s youngest competitor, the youngest competitor of any nationality outside the sport of swimming, and the youngest to participate in a final.[5] In 2009, Daley reached a career best ranking of number one in the FINA World Diving Rankings for the ten-metre platform.[6]

He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in the 10 metre synchro diving (with Max Brick) and the 10 m Individual Platform competition,[7] and won the bronze medal for Great Britain in the individual competition at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.[8]

After his success at the 2012 Olympic Games and a summer of great sporting interest amongst the public in the UK, television network ITV approached Daley to have a role in their new celebrity diving reality TV show Splash!. Daley made his debut in the show’s premiere on 5 January 2013 as a mentor to the celebrity competitors taking part.[9]

With the increasing warmth, the butterflies are back.

Peacock butterfly on hebe

Here a Peacock performs its trapeze routine on a hebe.

Ronan, from Tom Sutton, came to fix our boiler which has stopped working. Unfortunately there were several issues, one being a faulty control box which he will have to obtain tomorrow. We won’t stink, because we have an immersion heater in the shower.

Tonight we dined on Jackie’s wholesome heart casserole, creamy mashed potato, and crunchy carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I made a start on the excellent Brancott Estate merlot/cabernet sauvignon 2014 given to me for my birthday by Shelly and Ron.

Getting The Hang Of It

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Naturally, I couldn’t wait to get out into the garden and play with my new toy. Confining myself to the Creative Automatic setting with the zoom lens, I made a few close-ups. I had about a 60% success rate.

Asiatic Lilies

Starting with lilies, here are some Asiatics dappled by sunlight;

Day Lily

a day lily basking in full sun;

Fly on Lily

Fly on Lily – Version 2

and a fly exploring one in the New Bed.

Rose Mamma Mia

Now to roses. Mamma Mia is maturing nicely;

Rose Love Knot

Love Knot is prolific;

Rose For Your Eyes Only

and this is For Your Eyes Only.

Penstemon

These beautiful penstemons also grace the Rose Garden.

Bottle Brush plant

The red Bottle Brush plants, now that the yellow one is over, are coming into their own.

I also did some dead-heading and cut the grass, while Jackie watered the pots, and tidied and catered for our weekend guests. These were my long-term friend, Jessie, and her flat-mate, Guru, who arrived in time for lunch.

After lunch we visited the New Zealand graves at St Nicholas’s church in Brockenhurst. This was of interest to Guru because he has recently been learning about the Indian Army involvement in World War One, and there are three Indians buried there. I photographed one of these on our previous trip. (The pictures that follow were made with the CanonSX700 HS)

Arogyasami' s gravestoneSumeer gravestone

Here are the other two.

Belgian gravestone

On that day the light had been too strong for me to photograph the stone of the unknown Belgians who had worked in the hospital. Today was less bright.

Gravestone in tree

One of the nineteenth century stones has had a tree push it over;

Cross in meadow

the lichen on another blended well with the wild flower meadow.

After this we attended the  RNLI fundraising event at Gordon’s home in Downton Lane. This was an afternoon of jazz music and cream tea in the garden. It was very enjoyable.

GuruJessie and Guru

We arrived too late for a traditional cream tea, but were amply compensated with home-made cakes and delicious strawberries and cream. Jessie amused us by furtling in her bag for sweeteners for her tea.

We dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, pilau rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank a Georges du Boeuf Fleurie 2014 that our guests had brought. Jessie’s choice was Irn-Bru, and Guru’s orange juice.