“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”

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We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Ford

A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

Overwintering At Lepe

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Breakfast

Late this morning Jackie drove us to Lepe where we enjoyed a brunch in the cafe by the beach.

Gulls scavenged among the pebbles and the seaweed that proved there is a stronger wet smell than that of damp dog.

You see, the seaweed aroma pervaded the air so much that it swamped any scent of the dog that, dashing into the sea on the end of a telescopic leash; in a vain attempt to capsize the honking avian flotillas commandeering the surface of the water; became very wet indeed.

Upon enquiry at the Information centre, I learned that these noisy birds were Brent geese who regularly fly from Canada and Siberia to enjoy what they must experience as a summer holiday in Lepe.

Shipping

There was a fair amount of shipping seen on the horizon,

and approaching the Isle of Wight, which formed the backdrop of a number of these photographs.

Container vessel, yacht, group on spit

A container vessel passed a spit

Group on spit

along which. at low tide a group walked out to sea. I assume they were not aiming to walk all the way to the island.

Helicopter

A helicopter chugged overhead,

Brent geese in flight

where, later, the next flock of geese arrived for their overwintering.

Cottages on hill

Work was being undertaken on a terrace of cottages on the slopes above the beach. These listed dwellings were built in 1828 to house coastguards employed to combat the centuries-old customs of smuggling and piracy. The building nearer the shore was the Watch House.

Driving past them led us to the corner of Inchmery Lane where, perched on the side of the cliff, stood a lighthouse,

overlooking a stretch of beach belonging to a wildlife preservation society.

Taking the left bend visible in the above photograph of the lane, we continued along it, catching glimpses of the sea through the trees on our left.

At Moonhill, on our way to Beaulieu, a pony feeding in the forest caught my eye. I made my way through the trees and caught his. As I set out to cross the road back to the car, an equine companion did the same on its way into the woods. This had the usual effect on the traffic.

Logs

A neat stack of felled tree trunks occupied a cleared area.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie supplemented our second sitting of the Chinese takeaway with her superb egg fried rice. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

To Brighten A Dull Day

On this dull, overcast, day, Aaron and Robin made considerable headway on weeding the gravel paths. Certain alliums that self seed everywhere, when wrenched from the paths, fill the air with the smell of onions, nowhere near as appetising as when they are being fried.

Jackie did some planting in the front garden.

This afternoon we drove out to Pilley Cottage Garden on Pilley Hill near Lymington.

Pilley Hill

Jackie parked the car in the School Car Park and we walked down the daffodil-lined hill to the cottage.

We were warmly welcomed by Stephanie who opens her garden, featuring its own swathes of narcissi, as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Pilley Cottage Garden 1

In the left foreground of this picture stems of willow, pressed into the soil, have sprouted. Others, equally apparently rooted, provide arches such as that further back on the left, through which a visitor has walked.

Pilley Cottage Garden 2

Pilley Cottage Garden 4

We were pleased to note so many people viewing on what was quite a cold day.

Pilley Cottage Garden 3

The couple in the centre of this shot have just crossed a bridge conveniently laid over a potentially boggy area. The lines seen in the foreground are placed to deter visitors from venturing onto other muddy patches.

On the right of the next photograph can be seen a pergola made of live willow.

Pilley Cottage Garden 5Pilley Cottage Garden 6Pilley Cottage Garden 7Pilley Cottage Garden 8Pilley Cottage Garden 9

The hilly nature of the plot offered intriguing views on different, terraced, levels.

Logs

Strategically placed sawn logs weathered beautifully in the beds, providing homes for flora such as ferns, and no doubt fauna.

Shed

Even the shed was an attraction.

Mirror feature

A gate at the top of the slope opened onto a deceptive arch. Can you see the trick? This photograph contains one of the many examples of fascinating pottery,

Chess set

such as this abandoned game of chess,

Elephant succulents

or this ring of elephants bearing succulents,

Pilley Cottage Garden 10

bounded by little globed boxes,

Jackie in Pilley Cottage Garden

within the circumference of which Jackie contemplated the layout,

Pilley Cottage and garden

before we wandered up to the house for tea, and, of course, the purchase of two plants.

We considered this trip an excellent way to brighten a dull day.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole, crisp potato wedges, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I finished the Costieres de Nimes.

Before And After: From Compost Heap to New Bed

Stepping Stones front gardenThis morning we both tidied up after yesterday’s work on the Cryptomeria Bed. Jackie also did some planting, and completed her access stepping stones in the front garden with stones dug up yesterday.

My iMac was upgraded yesterday to the latest operating system, rejoicing in the name of El Capitain. One of the improvements was said to be to Photos. Since all my pre-May this year pictures were automatically put into that on the last upgrade, yet I have stubbornly persisted in using iPhoto, I thought perhaps it was time for me to get my head round it. This especially because, rather than search for them in Photos, I took yesterday’s 2014 photos directly from WordPress. This meant that clicking on those images did not increase their size. I trust that this problem will not apply to today’s efforts.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Passing the New Bed on the way to the compost heap with barrow loads of cuttings and leaves, I noticed a minute shield bug sharing a Bishop of Llandaff dahlia with a bumble bee. By the time I fetched my camera both the bee and a Small White butterfly had moved on, leaving the field to the little creature.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff 2

A close-up gave me an insight into what had inspired Disney’s Illustrators of Jiminy Cricket.

The New Bed did not exist when we came to Downton. Its development forms the next section of the Garden Album.

Wall round compost stage 1

On 31st July 2014, Jackie began transporting concrete slabs I had dug out of the projected rose garden, to form a retaining wall for the one compost heap.

Compost wall

She continued this the next day. (‘Not Two Peoples’ 1.8.14)

Primulas ready for planting

By 9th March 2015, we had decided to move the compost and convert the heap, which had been left by our predecessors, into The New Bed. The earth you see in this picture is the result of hours of sifting out all kinds of non-biodegradable rubbish. In the right background lies the back of the log pile

South corner of garden

seen to greater effect in this photograph taken the next day,

Heligan path

and that of The Heligan Path two days later. (An Opened Garden12.3.15)

New Bed

Today The New Bed basks in the autumn sunshine.Once a log pile

A tiny bed lies to the left of the small gravel path leading to the dead tree. The stepping stones in the background offer access to more plants. All this once held the logs.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred fish cakes, Jackie’ s piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), and her melange of onions, peppers, and tomatoes. We both drank Kumala pinotage rose 2015.

Kind Of Blue

Aaron sawing wood

Aaron brought a friend to help today so he could finish by lunchtime. They sawed up the wood pile, then replanted a clump of grass roots which had been removed from the back drive some weeks ago, and, despite attempts to burn it, had refused to die. I understand that the Australian eucalyptus needs the heat of a forest fire to germinate its seeds. Maybe our grass is related to that tree.Grass rootsLog store

I managed to clear a space by the side of the house for the logs to be stacked before wandering around the garden with my camera.

Focussing on our profusion of blue-hued flowers, and thinking of Giles who enjoys them, I photographed:

Forget-me-nots

forget-me-nots,

Periwinkle

periwinkles,

Grape hyacinths

grape hyacinths,

Violas

violets,

Celandines

celandines,

Pansies

and pansies.

Whilst preparing this post I listened to what is probably the finest recording of spontaneous jazz improvisation ever made. During two sessions in 1959 Miles Davis, the legendary trumpeter, led a group including Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderly, Paul Chambers, James Cobb, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly, in the production of the album ‘Kind of Blue’.Kind of Blue

Evans, in his original programme notes, writes: ‘Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances. The group had never played these pieces prior to the recordings and I think without exception the first complete performance of each was a “take”.’

I you don’t have access to a copy, try it on YouTube.

This afternoon Flo continued her wildlife garden photography.

Bee on pulmonaria

Unaware of my blue theme, she featured a bee on pulmonaria.

White butterfly

She also captured a white butterfly on the wing,

Long-tailed tit

a tightrope-walking long-tailed tit,

Greenfinch

a greenfinch on a feeding tray,

Hoverfly

and a resting hoverfly.

Norman's parrot

She even threw in a shot of Norman’s parrot, which now hangs in our kitchen.

Eric

Finally, she persuaded Eric to pose for his portrait.

This evening we dined out on Ian.

Not literally. He just paid for it. He took us on a visit to La Viña in Lymington. It was a most enjoyable tapas bar. The food was excellent and the service extremely friendly if a little tardy. I can’t really detail the dishes because they were in Spanish, but they included a mixed paella, calamari, sardines, chorizo, asparagus, fried potatoes, meat balls and tortilla. Jackie and Ian drank Estrella beer; Becky and I shared a bottle of tempranillo; and Flo drank apple juice.

Relocation

This morning I added three informative Facebook link comments, one from Becky, one from Lesley O’Neill, and one from Jackie herself, to yesterday’s post.Mice suffragettes

Some of you will remember the nomadic mice from Christmas. Having joined the suffragette mousement, they have now taken up a position on the sitting room window sill.Pheasant

Albeit out of focus and through an upstairs window pane, I was today able to shoot the pheasant which was wandering around the garden as if he owned it. In an attempt to take a clearer photograph, I then walked out into the garden. By this time it was nowhere to be seen, until it squawked, flapped, and lumbered off like the R101, from the next door jungle.

Carpet

Before lunch we drove to Molly’s Den in search of a birthday present, and bought, at a good price, a hand-woven Afghan rug from Khiva for ourselves. The design apparently dates from the 18th century.Downton Lane pines and number 27Downton Lane oaks

This afternoon I set off to walk down Downton Lane. I got no further than Roger’s footpath before retracing my steps to the back drive where I had noticed I had a job to to. Number 27 and its pines basked in the sunshine, as did the still naked oaks.CrocusesPeriwinkle

We now have yellow crocuses and a spread of periwinkles of various types. A crow took off from our mature copper beach, itself still leafless.CrowInsect hotel remains

Most of the insect Hilton hotel rooms have now been stolen. Perhaps, given the number of wood burning fires in the area, I should not have been surprised. Especially as a couple of days ago I watched a van take the diagonal across the end of our drive into the care home on the corner, I decided to relocate the log pile to the safety of the rose garden plot.insect hotel relocated

My original structure had filled five wheelbarrow loads. In retrieving what was left I barely completed two. At least that made the task a little easier.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s superb takeaway fish and chips with pickled onions and mushy peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the rioja.

An Insect Hilton

PigeonPigeon and suet ball

Despite a hard overnight frost, our hardy little pigeon had, soon after dawn, made its way back to the access path where Jackie had originally found it. The still flightless bird was far calmer on our approach, and even watched quietly as I placed a suet ball near it. Although it continued to move up and down the path for a while, sadly, it died later in the morning.

There were still a number of branches that we had pruned in the autumn in the front garden. This morning I chopped them up and transported them to the burning pile which is now ready for combustion.

Dead tree sawnLogs

This gave me a different angle on Aaron’s work of yesterday. The new compost bins have been placed at a depth to enable Jackie to turn the car in front of them when using the back drive. To enable this manoeuvre two dead trunks need removing. Our under gardener (Aaron – that makes me the under-under gardener), has taken out one, and his process can be viewed from the second, not yet finished. The logs from these have been piled alongside the heap for burning. They will not, however, be burnt. Firstly, they are too beautiful; secondly, they will attract and nurture numerous insects upon which birds will feed; thirdly, they could provide a psychological barrier at the entrance to the drive, over which visitors to the house next door are prone to leave tracks. We already have a number of such chunks of slowly rotting wood scattered at suitable points in the garden.

Insect hotel

This afternoon, with butterscotch tinted logs, I built an insect hotel to rival anything that Hilton has to offer.

The rain that had begun whilst I was heaping up the logs, as I finished, became a deluge that lasted well into the night. We thought that the best thing about the pigeon’s demise was that it would not have to endure that.

Later, I finished the second book of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, ‘The Wisdom of Father Brown’.

This evening we dined at our neighbour, ‘The Royal Oak’. We were more than happy with our reasonably priced three course meals. I enjoyed whitebait; steak pie; and bread and butter pudding. Jackie’s choice was onion rings; mushroom stroganoff; and ice cream sundae. She drank Becks and I drank Ringwood’s best bitter. The service was as attentive as usual.