“I Buy Dat”

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The weight of traffic through Lyndhurst and on the A27 meant that the journey to Upper Dicker on the way to Poppy’s birthday celebration took 4 hours in contrast to the normal two and a half that the return trip occupied. Fortunately we left home early enough to spend the afternoon there.

Poppy drawing on paving

When we arrived our granddaughter was occupied with coloured chalks drawing on the paving stones in the garden.

Poppy and pink dress

Jackie and I had brought her a couple of ballerina dresses. She liked them both,

Poppy and red dress

Poppy 2

but it was the deep red one that she proudly chose to wear on this occasion.

Tess and PoppyPoppy 1

She is very fond of her food, and now needs little assistance, here rendered by Tess, to unwrap a biscuit. She thought her hat complemented that of her mother.

Balloons

Plenty of balloons testified to the festive occasion.

Poppy with balloon 1Poppy with balloon 2Tess and Poppy

Becky and Ian gave her a helium filled one that was a great hit. Tess inconspicuously prepared a splendid spread of grilled steaks and various tasty salads. Mat was in charge of beverages, and thought it a good wheeze to offer me a local beer named Old Man brewed by the Long Man Brewery. I enjoyed it.

Poppy and mirror

Poppy’s aunt and uncle also gave her a suitably decorated mirror which she gave several nose prints.

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, Scooby 1

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, ScoobyPoppy, Tess, Becky, bubbles

Another of their presents was a battery-operated bubble machine.

Poppy operating bubble machinePoppy and bubbles

She soon got the hang of operating this.

Poppy asleep

 

Soon, a sleep was in order, until

Poppy and birthday cake 1

Tess’s delicious birthday cake was produced.

Poppy, Tess and birthday cake 1Poppy and birthday cake 2Poppy, Tess, and birthday cake 2

Although the birthday girl was persuaded to blow out one candle herself, she needed Ian’s assistance because she was far more interested in prising of the M & Ms and popping them into her mouth.

Matthew told us the story of the blue hat. He and Poppy had visited a charity shop in Emsworth with Becky a few days ago. Spotting the hat, Becky had placed it within Poppy’s line of sight. Her niece grabbed it and tottered off with it to the changing room, from which emanated “I like dat. I buy dat”. Out she came. Her Dad gave her the necessary dosh. Over to the counter she trotted, slapped the money on the wooden surface and said “I buy dat, lady”

Jackie and I needed no further food or drink, other than water, this evening.

 

 

Ladybird, ladybird…….

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Solanum and honeysuckle

As shown from the solanum and honeysuckle on the trellis, our front garden remained free of ash from next door’s bonfire,

Ash on pulmonaria leaves

and, although some the precipitation, such as this on the pulmonaria

Ash on Japanese anemones

and Japanese anemones, remains,

Dragon Bed

the fire has died down and we are able to see the garden views again, and beds like that of the Dragon are able once more to savour the sunlight.

Dahlia

This decorative dahlia

Oval Bed 2

sharing the Oval Bed with orange hawkweed,

Oval Bed

bidens, phlox, and rampant rudbeckia, basks in a more pleasant source of warmth.

Gladiolus and sweet peas 1

Gladioli and sweet peas retain their pristine whiteness;

Iron urn

contents of the iron urn cascade over the Brick Path;

Chrysanthemums 1

and these potted chrysanthemums enjoy the increase of light provided by the removal of the North Breeze jungle.

Stinging nettle in Elizabeth's Bed

Splendid stinging nettles, like this one in Elizabeth’s Bed, are making their presence felt. They will have to go.

Tomatoes

Little cherry tomatoes are ripening;

View across grass patch

the grass looks lush;

View from Phantom Path across Weeping Birch Bed

and the Weeping Birch Bed,

Kitchen Bed

Kitchen Bed,

Rose GardenMirror in Rose Garden

and Rose Garden, fresh again.

Ladybird on dahlia

Now, what do we have here? “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home; your house is on fire and your children are gone.”

This afternoon we are on our way to Emsworth for a family celebration of Becky’s birthday. We will stay overnight and I will report on that tomorrow. It will be an Italian meal at Nicolino’s.

 

 

Retouching

In ‘Face Painting’, I featured a fete in Devon that we attended in 1985. Among the photographs published there are some of Sam having his face painted. My favourite series from that day are those of Louisa undergoing the same experience. I had been unable to include them because I had framed the Louisa images in a set that has been lost. Nor could I find the negatives from that event, so I had scanned the remaining prints.

I am happy to say that I have now found the negatives and was able to reproduce Louisa’s courageous effort from those.

Louisa face painting 1985 1

She began with a certain amount of trusting uncertainty.

Louisa face painting 1985 2

Soon, she was getting a bit cross;

Louisa face painting 1985 3

but responded to persuasion

Louisa face painting 1985 4

with stoic patience, until…..

Louisa face painting 1985 5

 Wow!. The mirror bestowed delight.

When working with old negatives or slides, especially those that have strayed from my dedicated storage systems, there is always a risk of blemishes caused by deterioration or damage. This set suffered more than most.

What was required was a considerable amount of retouching. For those not familiar with the process I will briefly describe the editing facility in the iMac. The scanned images are placed in Photos. Clicking on Edit gives various options, one of which is Retouch. This is essential to remove stray spots, faults, and hairs that have blemished the original material.

Using the mouse the icon is placed on the damaged area, positioning a circle the size of  which can be adjusted. Clicking or dragging on the circle transfers pigment pixels from the surrounding areas. I’m sure this isn’t a particularly technical explanation, but hopefully it conveys how painstaking one has to be to

Louisa face painting 1985 3 unretouched

transform this image into the third one above. An enlargement will clarify the problems. This shot has by no means the most blemishes, but it does have some of each. Sometimes I use cropping to save me doing all this. Thus, I could have removed the artist’s hair, but that would have ruined the context.

Even as I was closing what I thought was my final edit, I noticed that I had left, beneath Louisa’s ear in the first picture, a circular white lump larger than the blotchy one in the above original.

This evening we dined on Salmon Fillet & Spinach, and Cod Fillet & Sweet Potato, fishcakes topped with cheddar cheese; chips; and peas. I drank Doom Bar and Jackie drank fruit juice.

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.

Poppy’s Baptism

Dump haul

This morning we took the remnants of the wheelbarrows photographed yesterday to the Efford Recycling Centre. As usual, we returned with more than we dumped. Today’s haul was two sets of wrought iron gates, a lawn aerator, and a mirror. Can anyone guess what the gates are for?

Chris NZ, Kate, Matt, Poppy, Tess, Jackie, Claire, JoMatt, Tess and PoppyDerrick, Jackie and Poppy

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Mat and Tess’s home in Upper Dicker for Poppy’s Baptism. We gathered with other relatives in their flat above the village shop, then went outside for group photographs on the village green, before proceeding to Holy Trinity Parish Church for the ceremony. Naturally the infant in whose honour we had assembled had a good cry, thus delaying the making of pleasant photographs. Many local friends turned out for the occasion.

In the group photo above, Tess’s sister in law, Kate and her husband Chris are to our left of Matthew, Jackie peers round Tess’s mother Claire, and Jo, one of the godparents stands on our right.

Rev David Farey playing guitar

It is not often that an Anglican Christening is begun by a guitar-playing vicar leading the singing of Amazing Grace, but that is what the reverend David Farey gave us today. When he performed the baptism he was compelled to raise his voice to combat Poppy’s yelling.

Poppy

Back at the shop we enjoyed Tess’s usual high standard of catering. We were given pizzas, sausage rolls, quiches, crisps, and a deliciously moist iced fruit cake made by Tess’s mother Claire, who had come from New Zealand to help out for a while. She had also made Poppy’s silk dress.

Cake cuttingToasting Poppy

Tess led the toasts, and we all enjoyed conversation for a hour or so.

Our return journey was hampered by the A27 being closed in two places, necessitating long diversions. Our ex coach driver friend, Barrie, had provided us with a very entertaining CD offering a pretty route to Upper Dicker, but as this would take us up to two hours longer to make the journey, we didn’t try it today, although it is possible that our diversions overlapped with some of it.

More Than It Could Chew?

It was yet another unseasonably hot day.

Incinerator and old wheelbarrows

I cleared up after last night’s fire. It had become dark before I was able to finish the exercise. I gathered up the unburnt branches, chopped them up small, and piled them beside the incinerator which has taken the place of the two old wheelbarrows. The rusty metal one suffered enormously from being the pyre container until recently. The green one had been a pond in the Weeping Birch Bed, to which Jackie applied the finishing touches this morning.

Jackie finishing Weeping Birch Bed

Wedding Day pruned

She also completed her work on training the Wedding Day rose on the Agriframes Gothic Arch.

Rose Love Knot

The rose garden, where most roses, like Love Knot, are blooming,

Rose garden in mirror

 encourages a reflective mood.

Bee and ?spider on Cosmos

We continue to enjoy an entomologist’s delight. Actually, I could do with a student of insects to identify what I think might be a baby spider contemplating wrapping up a bumble bee which might be a bit more than it could chew.

?spider on cosmos

The cosmos gives an idea of scale.

This evening we drove over to Emsworth to visit Becky and Ian. Becky had some items for sale in the monthly Emsworth auction, which was very crowded. Our daughter sold an old wind-up gramophone and some Beatles records, among other things, but the prices were disappointing. Afterwards we dined on excellent fish, chips, and gherkins from a shop across the road, with Tesco’s mushy peas. Becky drank chianti and the rest of us enjoyed the Italian Birra Moretti.

Not Exactly A Chair

Over coffee, Jackie and I began the day discussing the detail of the Churchill queue photographs posted yesterday. Even I, who had been there in January 1965, was surprised at what can be revealed by clicking on the images to enlarge them. This prompted me to add a postscript that you may find as fascinating as we found the exercise. Little did I know, when I pressed that shutter, that it would one day be possible to send those pictures and comments on them, for immediate consumption, across the world at the touch of another button.

PrimulasTree barkAfterwards, I extended my gentle amble to the entrance to Roger’s fields. Primulas are now blooming on the verges of Downton Lane, and, on this more overcast day, yesterday’s vibrant tree bark colours have made way for gentle sage greens and silvery greys.Pine cones and Paul

First chatting to Carl in the pub car park, I engaged in a longer conversation with Paul, a very friendly builder living at number 25, who was clipping his hedge. He noticed me photographing a pine branch that had been ripped off and thrown across the other side of the road. He told me it was very unusual for these limbs to be torn from the trees, and that even now it would be very difficult to break off the cones.

Jackie planting primulasPrimulas and snowdrops on Mum R's plotAfter lunch, as today would have been Jackie’s mother’s birthday, we drove to Everton Nurseries where we bought primulas and snowdrops which Jackie planted by her Mum’s plot in Walkford Woodland Burial Ground. Only natural woodland flowers are to be set there. Although the primulas are cultivated, they will, if they survive, soon revert.Mirror

We then moved on to Molly’s Den in search of a chair, and instead came away with a rather attractive bevelled  mirror which we think is probably contemporary with our house.

A rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce provided our evening sustenance. This was accompanied by Jackie’s savoury rice, this time including and enough finely diced vegetables as to suggest it was an exquisite biriani, and crisp red cabbage stir fry. Jackie drank Peroni, whilst I chose Lidl’s 2012 Bordeaux Superieur.