Alice’s Choppers

I drafted this post yesterday in preparation for a tutorial session with a WordPress Happiness Engineer.

This involves more scans of prints from the Isle of Wight holiday photographed on film in August 1980.

I have not noted the exact location of any of these images. Here is a cormorant on a wreck, seemingly claiming to be cock of walk in the second photograph.

Here Alice proudly displays her nice new choppers.

Oliver and Jessica joined others in a horse and cart ride.

This was the first Meadow Brown (I think) butterfly that I photographed.

I didn’t receive a phone call from Mr Happy. I got an invitation by e-mail to a chat session on Zoom. I couldn’t make it work. I spent 15 minutes looking at my own image on screen. I do hope no-one heard my ejaculations.

Better Than Expected

Today’s winds have dropped to 20 m.p.h.

When opening the gate for Aaron this morning I checked on the storm damage.

There really wasn’t much more than I had noticed yesterday. The downpipe to the water butt on the corner of the kitchen wall had become unstuck; a few extra pots had fallen; the sweet peas had been further loosened; quite a few smaller branches had been ripped off the beech and birch trees; some of the ornamental poplar branches were broken; just one rose stem had been torn; many plants have lost stems; and there was a certain amount of wind burn on one side of the winter flowering cherry and elsewhere, such as various fuchsias.

Aaron began the work of tidying up.

He gathered and bagged up many of the fallen branches and leaves;

trimmed the ornamental poplar, removing the broken branches;

and righted the fallen containers ready for Jackie to replace at her leisure. He observed that the morning had gone very quickly. He likes to be busy.

Bob of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog has recently suggested a regular feature of “Where’s Nugget” inviting readers to find our little robin. That, of course, depended on his surviving the storm and returning unscathed. I am happy to report that I heard his gentle chirp as he followed Aaron around.

He nipped up onto a chair for a chat, then flitted off into the Rose Garden.

I admit that the first “Where’s Nugget” puzzle is a little difficult.

The red scented sweet peas may have been blown awry, but there are plenty of clinging seed pods which benefited from an early shower,

and its desiccated leaves provide perfect camouflage for our Meadow Brown butterflies.

These dahlias

and the agapanthuses may have bowed to the elements, but, like the rest of the garden, they have fared far better than expected.

Bees, flies, and crickets have come out to play and to work again,

The Rose Garden has remained virtually unscathed,

and one lily kept its head in the front.

Other flowers, like these cosmoses, dahlias, and rudbeckia are wondering what all the fuss was about.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie in short crust pastry; new potatoes; roasted sweet potato and parsnip; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; with piquant cauliflower cheese, with which she finished the Austrian white wine and I drank Doom Bar.

Track The Butterfly

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY ANY MEMBER OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

We took a mid-morning break in the patio where I admired the plantings, and Jackie watered a few she spotted looking a little thirsty. For a while I watched what I think was a Meadow Brown butterfly flitting from cosmos to bidens. This creature, and a bee that took its place on the cosmos when it wandered off, may be tracked by accessing the gallery as above.

Elsewhere, a smaller bee weighed down the tiny lobelias it preferred, while one sustained by the white everlasting sweet pea looked a little inebriated.

It was not until page 218 that I found a train ticket from London to Haddenham dated 8th March 2008 in my copy of David Lodge’s ‘Deaf Sentence’. Regular readers will realise that this signifies I have read the book before. I have absolutely no recollection of doing so. I finished it for the second time this afternoon. Will I remember it in another ten years? I rather doubt it.

Lodge has written much fiction, literary criticism, and a number of essays on the art of writing. He is skilled and this novel is well crafted. The blurb on the inside of the jacket tells us that ‘Deaf Sentence’ is ‘funny and moving by turns, being a brilliant account of one man’s effort to come to terms with deafness and death, ageing and mortality, the comedy and tragedy of human life’.

Many contemporary issues are introduced into the melting pot. There are what feels like obligatory sexual passages. The writing appears effortless; even slick. Tragic the story is. I did not find it funny, but then, I am not a fan of sick humour. It seems at times as if the reader is being lectured on, for example, the effects of hearing loss; vocabulary; and linguistics. Apart from some rather boring sections the book does hold the attention. Others may like it enough to retain memories of it.

 

 

It Had Been Got At

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This morning was overcast, very humid, and oppressive, presaging the rain that would barely dribble in this afternoon. My reluctant effort was to cut off a few dead tree branches that had been twisted by the wind, but not actually snapped off; and to wage continued war on the invading brambles along the back drive.

Later, the sun emerged, but the humidity had not declined, so I just took some photographs.

Petunias 1Petunias 2

Petunias were among those blooms that required a certain amount of dead-heading before I could make a close-up page without offending The Head Gardener’s beady eye.

Rose Emma Hamilton

Roses Emma Hamilton

Rose Hot Choco;ate

and Hot Chocolate are having another flush.

Meadow Brow butterfly on rudbeckia 1Meadow Brown butterfly on rudbeckia 2

I think the butterfly on these rudbeckias is a Meadow Brown.

Greenfinch fledgeling 1

The rustling sound of a scurrying creature outside the back door alerted me to the presence of this fledgling greenfinch.

Greenfinch fledgeling 2

Looking back forlornly and giving up an attempt to hide behind the can it turned around

Greenfinch fledgeling 3

and made for the closed kitchen door.

The wispy, tufted, Mohican hairstyle was reminiscent of the starling chicks emerging from our woodwork in June last year, but the lack of plumage around its head and neck suggested that it had been got at. Ejected from the nest, perhaps? Or maybe necking with the neighbours’ cat?

Whichever it was, I went inside to discuss remedial measures with Jackie. By this time the poor little creature was cowering on the doorstep. I couldn’t open the door without giving the bird another bash, so I walked round to the front door and Jackie opened the stable door round the other side of the kitchen. By this time our visitor had disappeared. We hope it survives.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s fare, followed by lemon tart and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Old Crafty Hen.

Aviemore Revisited

Bees on sunflowersJackie was thrilled this morning to see that the third of her sunflowers donated by the birds has bloomed.  She tried very hard to coach one bee simultaneously into each of her trio.  Two out of three can’t be bad.

For as long as I can remember Louisa has been disgusted at me for ‘wasting paper’ when I use A4 paper to print smaller photographs.  She has always said it is very easy either to use smaller paper or place two or more alongside each other, and I have always been reluctant to attempt to get my head round it.  When Elizabeth suggested I produced a series of greetings cards for sale at the Open Studio I knew the time had come to grasp the nettle.  By sending me a link on ‘how to print multiple images on a single page’ Chris ensured that I didn’t cop out of it.  I had a little trouble working out how to print the resultant document so that I could have it in front of me when I tackled my phobia.  I was doing this on my small Epson printer which chose that moment to require head cleaning.

Eventually I was as ready as I was ever going to be to try multiple prints.  I couldn’t produce more than one picture, although I thought I was following the directions reasonably well.  That meant I needed to ring my brother Chris for further elucidation. He realised that I couldn’t do it because I had only highlighted one picture on the screen.  I explained that I wanted multiple copies of one picture; not one copy each of multiple pictures.

Ah.  That was different.  By this time I couldn’t be doing with exploring this any further.  As I needed more than one copy of each picture I thought I’d settle for placing two different images side by side.  I did, of course, have to be instructed in the art of holding down the command key in order to keep more than one picture highlighted for the purpose.  Prints for cardsWell, it worked.

I suspect the final paragraph in the aforementioned article does explain how to do exactly what I want, but I think I’ll just rest on my laurels for the moment.  I’m a fairly old dog after all, and one new trick is enough for one day.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hobbycraft in Hedge End where we bought enough blank cards with envelopes and Pritt stick to produce a decent stock for the studio.Shrubbery

LiliesThe main event of the day was the eagerly awaited second open day of Aviemore in Bartley. Lily House leeksToday I will let the photographs utter their thousand words, for I wrote at some length about this marvellous village garden when we first visited on 2nd. June.

Sandy and Alex Robinson welcomed us most warmly, demonstrating their appreciation of my post of that day.

Blog (2.6.13) on displayDahliasClematisClematis (1)Indeed, a printout of the relevant pages was on display on the tables in the tea room, as well as an article from a gardening magazine.  I was very pleased, as  they had been with my piece.

Theda Bara?

Clematis shrubbery

Jackie thought that Mata Hari, reported lurking in the bushes last time, was probably being played by Theda Bara.

Bee on InulaDahliaPelargoniumMeadow Brown butterfly on InulaSpiky grass?The garden attracted a range of butterflies, including Meadow Brown and Cabbage White, bees busying themselves replenishing the hives, and other smaller insects such as flies, to which the eyes of my camera were more alert than those in my head.

The ‘meaty, stewy, veggy thing’ that Jackie served up this evening was deliciously tasty.  Among those ingredients that were identifiable were slices of pigs’ hearts, pork sausages, various vegetables and herbs.  Various different well-reduced stocks formed the base.  I am told that it is like ‘the lost chord’ and therefore cannot be repeated, which is a shame.  I drank Roc des Chevaliers Bordeaux superieur with mine.