Where Are The Secateurs?

Cleansing Cleaning Services tankerPumping out septic tankSoon after dawn’s light created its criss-cross effect on Christchurch Road, two delightful gentlemen from Cleansing Cleaning Services arrived and pumped out our septic tank with a long tube snaking down the side of the house. Ian Norton explained the process and the system to us, booked us in for annual instead of six-monthly removal of effluence, and showed us where to look for blockages.
The scents of early summer were somewhat altered for a while.
Before continuing with the garden project, Jackie drove us to Milford Supplies to buy a couple of strong wheelbarrows, since neither of those left behind by our predecessors has stayed the course of the last week. This entailed two trips because we could only fit one at a time in the car.Path overgrown
My chosen path today, really was invisible, so overgrown was both it and the surrounding beds, with the normal weeds and the more recently ubiquitous ragged robin and buttercups. Whilst largely sticking to the path, once I had defined it, I did enter the shrubberies to stop the spread of bramble and gallium aperine.Gallium aperine
The latest rhododendron to flower was in danger of being swamped by the latter’s clutching velcro-clad tendrils. RhododendronThis weed clambers over everything in its path and, if unimpeded, would have climbed the full height of its lovely host.
I have to say I was unable completely to clear and dress this path today, so here is a photograph of the intermediate stage of the task:Path clearance intermediate stage
Jackie, on the other hand, was able to complete her intricate eradication of weeds.
We think there was perhaps a well placed near the back of the house. Whatever was in that location has been concreted over, but radii extend from that central point to provide the essential system of paths through the garden. Byways, such as the one I discovered today, give the whole the structure of a spider’s web. All patterns we can create already exist in nature.
Although she also tidied up the front drive, Jackie’s main task today was the removal of grass and weeds from between the bricks forming the central hub. This involved the use of a hand tool a kneeler.
Jackie clearing path
When I stopped to photograph my lady at her work, I put down the secateurs. Afterwards I couldn’t find them. Is any reader able to help me out?
This evening we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I finished the Dino shiraz.

The Castle Bench

Yesterday I began preparation for reassembling the garden bench based on those in Nottingham Castle grounds.
The first task today was the purchase of nuts for the bolts that would attach the wooden slats to the cast iron sides. These could have been obtained at a nearer establishment, but Knights in Lymington is fast becoming Jackie’s favourite emporium. In any case she needed some curtain rings and whatever else might take her fancy. We did buy a few more things, and, in fairness, it was me who chose socket spanners so I could get at the underside of the bench with a little more ease.Potentilla fruticosa
When we drive out of our front entrance we pass our potentilla which is in full bloom at the moment.
Before lunch, I carried the various components of the seat to the chosen spot in the garden. This sounds a rather routine task. In fact each one of the cast iron sides is quite an awkward proposition. It is six years since I last manhandled them and I now find them much more daunting.The previous owners kindly left us a home made wheelbarrow, the container of which is a large blue plastic basket. I thought it might save my body if I used that to transport one of the pieces of iron. I just about managed to raise it to the required level to dump it on the barrow. It cracked the container.
There was nothing for it but to carry each piece the few required yards. It helped to yell and groan a bit. Jackie helped me try all the slats, before we were driven in by heavy rain. But not before we realised that they wouldn’t all fit.
After lunch we had another go, with no more success, and, since we were getting very wet, gave up. Jackie continued her cleaning and scraping tasks.
Eventually the rain eased up and I decided not to let the problem defeat me, even if it meant cutting some lengths to size. I managed securely to fit eight out of twelve slats. By this time, I had run out of bolts, because some of the originals were missing and two others were bent when the construction collapsed at one point. These are thick bolts that have stayed attached for a good twenty years.
This time we drove to Milford Supplies for the bolts, because that is sensibly nearer. I then finished the task. This involved sawing ends off, drilling new holes, and hoping for the best.Derrick

We now have a garden bench.RhododendronAquilegias

The rhododendron behind me is now in full bloom, and we have a rich variety of aquilegias.

Our dinner this evening was Jackie’s choice chilli con carne (recipe) followed by chocolate cake and ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden. I drank marques de Carano reserva 2007.

A Fascinating Collage

This morning Jackie and I set about building a garage door screen  with parts of the IKEA wardrobes, supplemented by battens sawn from an old wooden pallet. We needed nails to  fix the laminated chipboard to the wood. This entailed a trip, on the recommendation of Giles and Jean, to Milford Supplies in New Milton. Being Jackie’s favourite kind of shop, she bought a few more things as well.
Now, when it comes to such practical tasks, when I say ‘we’, I really mean Jackie, with me standing around looking awkward and supplying the occasional bit of muscle, not, I must admit, always in the required direction. She, you see, is much more experienced with tools and has a far greater spatial awareness. The child’s teaching toy involving posting different shapes into a box with various openings would have come far more naturally to her than to me.
Garage door screenThe concept of fabricating a make-shift wall, against which to place the bookcases, from the materials at hand, was all Jackie’s. I did, however, under expert forepersonship, largely carry out the task, whilst she ironed and trimmed her curtains; fixed some toilet roll holders which were actually straight; and prepared an excellent fry-up for lunch.Face flannel collage
When we discovered a collage involving scraps of wood, a face flannel, and copies of the Daily Mail firmly gunged to the concrete floor, I was all for allowing it to stay put under the laminate that was to cover that bit of the ground. Jackie, however, much more of a perfectionist when it comes to such matters, set to with a hammer, chisel, and screwdriver, and at least gave us a flat surface.
During the lunchtime break I took another tour of the garden and photographed more plants for my readers, please, to identify.

The comfrey we know:ComfreyBottle brush tree and unknown shrubBottle brush tree and unknown shrub 2Unknown shrub

The shrub to the left and behind the two pictures of a bottle brush tree, however, defeats us (update: Jackie has identified it as Crinodendron Hookerianum, otherwise known as Chinese Lantern Tree).

Further behind, and to the left of these shrubs, is a cherry tree that has suffered in the winter storms. When I get around to the garden I will need to cut off the broken section. The bright green leaves surrounding this, has been identified by Tess, a New Zealander, as belonging to a hebe with a name beginning with K which I can’t remember.

This evening Jackie fed us on prawn and lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice, paratas, and vegetable samosas. She drank her usual Hoegaarden, whilst I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2012.

For the preparation of this jalfrezi follow that for lamb given on 22nd January, and when it is cooked, add frozen prawns and simmer for about five minutes; and if using fresh prawns, until they turn pink.Thrift & beach hutsCliff top, beach huts, fisherfolkjpg

After our meal we drove to Hordle Cliff to watch the sun sink beneath the horizon. From the thrift-covered cliff top we could look down on beach huts and on fisherfolk settling down for the evening on the shingle.SunsetGulls at sunsetcropped-gull-at-sunset-29-4-14.jpg
Couple at sunset

Crows and gulls fought over scraps tossed from cars whose occupants had brought their meals on wheels. One couple left their car and became silhouetted against the reddening sea.Crow on bench

A sated crow took a rest on a bench set to view the Isle of Wight, in which the bird appeared rather disinterested.