Up And Down The Garden Path

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Between phone calls wrestling with internet connection problems, while Jackie began the process of moving the less hardy plants to their winter quarters in the greenhouse, I wandered around the garden inspecting the surprises it still holds for us. Being a natural optimist I hoped I would be able to post my findings later.

We have a profusion of prolific fuchsias, not all of which I can name. A bee clambered dozily into one of the Delta’s Sarahs.

Cyclamens grace the stone tubs on the front wall, and various beds, such as that of the Weeping Birch, also home to asters, begonias, geraniums, petunias, bidens, and a red carpet rose.

Begonias

 geraniums and petunias also bloom in other beds and containers.

 

The primula survives in the West Bed; a little blue iris reticulata in the raised bed; a clematis once again scales the potting shed trellis;

the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, such as that in a container in front of the garage, stands proud beside its neighbouring nasturtiums, and the honeysuckle and solanum ascending the right hand trellis.

This morning glory may have been a late developer, but it is making up for lost time; hot lips are persistently, provocatively, pursed.

My wanderings involved a few trips up and down the Brick Path.

It must be more than thirty years since I bought our now threadbare but structurally sound Chesterfield sofa from Heal’s. This afternoon it was removed for reupholstering.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent pork chops with mustard and almonds; new potatoes; crisp carrots; tender cabbage and sautéed peppers and onions. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Réserve de Bonpas 2016. This meal prompted me tell the relevant story that was told in ‘Chamberlayne Road’.

 

Very Short People Or Wheelchair Users?

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The morning glory outside our kitchen door has not flowered at all this year. Until now.

Elizabeth’s hairdresser operates from the David Lloyd Fitness Club at Southampton. David Alan Lloyd (born 3 January 1948) is a former professional English tennis player and entrepreneur. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He and his younger brother John Lloyd became two of the most successful British tennis players throughout the 1970s and 1980s. David now runs a string of Leisure Clubs, of which this venue is one.

I accompanied my sister for her appointment with her stylist at the start of our day. While she was being pampered I sat on the bonnet of her car and watched the members coming and going, while a car wash was in operation.

This Leisure Centre and Danni’s home are both very near Southampton General Hospital. Elizabeth and I were due meet a practitioner later to discuss our mother’s care. We moved on to Danni’s where we counted a considerable amount of money taken at last night’s “Scrum Dine With Me’ fundraising event for  ‘Wooden Spoon’, the Children’s Charity of Rugby, for which my niece was responsible.

The three of us then lunched at Santo Lounge in Shirley. My choice was fish, chips and mushy peas, with water to drink.We then fought our way into the hospital car park and up to Ward G5 to visit Mum and meet Emma, the practitioner, who spent a good amount of time going through options with us and with our mother. Mum is still not medically fit to leave, so we will have time to mull over the situation.

Mum then had an appointment at the Eye Hospital which was close enough for her to be taken there by chair. Elizabeth accompanied her while Danni and I visited Rob and Helen who also live very nearby. A combination of the stages of the treatment and waiting around for a porter to transport the patient back to her ward meant that it was after six when we all said goodbye to Mum.

My bending down to insert my card into the parking ticket machine to pay the £6.20 that this afternoon had cost us, caused some hilarity. Had it been designed for very short people or for wheelchair users? Danni was unable to resist photographing my effort and e-mailing me a copy.

This evening Jackie, Elizabeth, and I dined on the Culinary Queen’s excellent sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, tasty Brussels sprouts, and runner beans. My sister and I drank W.O.Breede River Valley Pinotage 2017

 

 

Narrow Lanes

The day began less than delightfully. Two days ago, our dishwasher was delivered. That was an excellent service. Disappointingly, the Kenwood machine developed a fault on our first wash last night. The booklet advised us to contact a qualified technician. I tried that this morning. Curry’s customer service number produced one of those maddening systems that asks you to repeat everything before moving on to the next robotic question. Eventually I reached a person who clearly knew what he was doing, but, unfortunately for him, could only offer a visit in five days time with no specific time frame. Rather less than calmly, I expressed my frustration. ‘We are not the retailer’, he politely replied. He did sound a little upset. Of course I said it was not his fault, but I had expected to speak to the people who sold the equipment, not an engineer engaged to conduct repairs within the guarantee period. That is asking too much in our progressive age.

I then tried the number of the Christchurch store given on the receipt. This connected me to the same system. It looks as if I will be washing up for a few more days.

After this I needed a walk. It is a long time since I undertook one of these in the rain. We have enjoyed such a long dry summer that it is difficult to remember the two years of Hordle beachalmost incessant rain that ended this spring. I took my circular route to Hordle cliff beach, along which I crunched with no other company. The few dog walkers there were preferred to stay on the cliff top. One small terrier stood at the top of the steps insisting he be led down. His master complied with the request, but the young lady with him remained aloft.

Often, on these narrow winding lanes, a mirror is fixed to a suitable structure on the opposite side of driveways so that residents emerging are able to see anything coming up Derrick selfiethe road. One of these in Downton Lane gave me the opportunity to take a selfie. Although the term for these images has not yet reached the dictionaries, they are photographs taken at arm’s length by the subject with a mobile phone. Certain politicians, such as David Cameron, are partial to their photo opportunities. Actually I don’t believe my effort is strictly a selfie, since it is a reflection and taken with a digital camera that doesn’t send or receive messages. Perhaps the lexicographers will eventually elucidate.

A controversy rages in The New Forest over cyclists. One faction encourages them into the area, so they may enjoy their exercise and patronise the tourism facilities; whilst another regards them as a nuisance, often creating dangerous obstacles on the roads, causing long backlogs where they cannot be overtaken.Caution cyclists A sign at the corner where Downton Lane meets the coast road states ‘Caution Cyclists’. I think this is to encourage car drivers to be on the lookout. It could also be alerting pedestrians to the fact that a two wheeler could come hurtling round the bend on the footpath. On the other hand it may be suggesting that the cyclists themselves should be careful.

Clematis CarnabyMorning gloryBy mid-afternoon the day had brightened. The clematis Carnaby has flowered for the first time, as has a pale blue morning glory, clearly fooled by the dull morning into blooming still at 5.30 p.m.

This evening Jackie varied her smoked haddock and cauliflower cheese meal photographed on 2nd May last year (recipe for cauliflower cheese), by using cod. The green element in the palette was provided by spinach. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. We both drank  Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez 2013.

‘Not Two Peoples…….’

When you wake up at 6 a.m. in an all-electric house to find you have a power cut and cannot make your morning coffee; and you have often passed a cafe in New Milton that professes to open at 6.30, there is only one thing to do. We did it. Dopily, Jackie drove us to Sunny Side Up Cafe. When, on entering, you learn that the big breakfast contains Ferndene Farm Shop sausages, suddenly coffee doesn’t seem enough. Jackie enjoyed her poached egg on toast, but I just had to have the full works.Breakfast

And I could read about the Test match in yesterday’s Sun. Moeen Ali, permitted by the English Cricket Board to wear wrist bands bearing the legend ‘Save Gaza – Free Palestine’, had been stopped from doing so by the International Cricket Council. Steve Harmison, M.B.E., former England fast bowler has been quoted as saying that the spinner’s action on a cricket field was dangerous. Perhaps so, but Gaza has been an insurmountable problem for generations. Even without being able to unravel the rights and wrongs of the situation, I don’t see why he shouldn’t have made his statement.Unloading

Through the cafe window we watched the driver of a huge articulated lorry tidily loosening his load for delivery to Travis Perkins. We had watched him drive past the depot, presumably because he could not negotiate the left turn, and on to the next roundabout where he could backtrack and execute a right turn from our side of the road. Others were queuing, awaiting the store’s opening for their reception. From the top of the pillar box a POST OFFICE sign has been removed. Our home therefore has a shared history with the eating place, as does the Upper Dicker Village Shop, and no doubt many others of our smaller post offices which have been lost.

 

UnknownHollow branchI took a walk along the maize field and collected more flint stones, completing the head gardener’s path on my return. I blame my Dad for the visual pun, because I thought of him as I peered down a hollow tree branch lodged in the hedgerow. One day when I was very small my father appeared in the doorway with one cardboard centre of a toilet roll held up to each eye, thus forming a pair of makeshift binoculars.  Somewhat mystified, I gazed up in amazement.

‘Not two peoples’, said Dad. ‘Two peepholes’.  Yabba dabba doo!

He would have been proud of his grandson Matthew’s offering related on 31st August 2012.Bee on convolvulus

Bee in morning gloryBetween the tyre tracks on the path alongside the field, bees worked their way along ground covering convolvulus. Back home, another burrowed into a morning glory.

Compost wallJackie and wisteriaThis afternoon I dug up and stacked more of the heavy concrete blocks and a few bricks from the kitchen garden, and Jackie completed her compost wall, then pruned and trained the wisteria.

Red Admiral undersideRed AdmiralThis evening’s Red Admiral butterfly perched on a solar light, presumably waiting for it to come on in order to enhance its colour. It is of a duller, more orange, variation than, and consequently perhaps envious of, its redder and brighter relative seen yesterday.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious offerings. Jackie drank T’sing Tao beer and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.

The Gauntlet

Scarlet PimpernelWhen I read Baroness Orczy’s timeless novel, ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’, I had a vague idea that this was a flower, but didn’t know what it looked like. We have a lovely little orange weed, rather like a forget-me-not in size, that crops up all over the garden. I haven’t been digging it up, because I find it so attractive. I was rather pleased, then, when, this morning, the head gardener informed me that this was scarlet pimpernel.

PoppyNasturtiumDifferent coloured poppies continue to bloom, if only for a day.

Antirrhinums and pelargoniumWe also have nasturtiums, to which snails seem rather partial.

Different hued antirrhinums manage to hold their own with strident pelargoniums.

In the last of today’s plant photographs we have pilosella aurantiaca, otherwise known as orange hawkweed, a plant that in some parts of America and Australia is considered as an invasive species.

IMG_9090

Today I completed the clearance of the right hand side of the front driveway that Jackie had begun yesterday. I uprooted the last of the brambles and pruned most of the shrubs very severely, revealing more flowers, such as the day lilies. Jackie, who embellished the wall with a window box, assures me the heavily pruned growth will burgeon again next year. I certainly didn’t rival her treatment of the mahonia.

Painstakingly, I conveyed to a convolvulus that was making its way up an ornamental cherry tree that its presence was no longer required. Maybe I should have waited for a flower. It may have been a morning glory. I tied up the white rose that had Front driveGardening gloveClematistaken to the ground in its bid to escape the other thorny rambler, which has torn holes in the fingers of my gardening gloves and left its mark on those inside.

A new pair, or at least the right hand gauntlet may be in order.

An attractive clematis now quivers in the breeze above the roses on the archway through to the front garden.

Fortunately, our guests of yesterday evening left enough of Jackie’s delicious beef casserole for us to finish it today. Strawberries and ice cream were to follow. I drank some Yellow Tail shiraz 2013, also courtesy of last night.

Only Eighteen To My Mother

Morning gloryYesterday morning someone tampered with my camera.  When I came to download pictures, I found a number of shots of Morning Glory on the device.  I suppose I’d better print one.

The culprit this morning repotted a splendid white begonia which isn’t so far behind the multitude of others.

Begonias et al

BegoniaI began the day by adding more than a ridiculous 25% to the cost of the removal from Sutherland Place.  The suspension of two parking bays was required, at a cost of £84 in addition to the £16 already paid for the trade permit.

Guards lining The Mall

Elizabeth then rang just before we were about to leave for The Firs, to tell me that the Guards lining The Mall card had sold well and to suggest I made a larger print suitable for one of her mounts.  I did so.  The tale of the making of this picture is told in the post of 8th May (click here for post).  It was late night shopping at The Firs today.  Given that Thursday is the day the shops in the West End of London remain open until 8 p.m. I imagine it is only appropriate that West End, Southampton’s studio should do the same.

In the two days I have not visited there have been more sales including nineteen of my cards, only eighteen of which went to my mother.  More were sold today.

Studio entranceEach day Danni has gradually evolved the definitive display of the various works.  This has meant the artists having a good look round to find where their own pieces are on any particular day.  Mine, for example, are now largely en bloc on their original wall, having spent the last few days individually wandering around the room. This afternoon Jackie decided to extend the pink balloon theme at the entrance.  She raided the conservatory for any suitably coloured plants and lined them up on either side of the path to the door.

Two of Elizabeth’s university friends, Barbara and Marcella, having come for the weekend, joined us all this evening for the excellent spaghetti Bolognese cooked by Danni and stirred by Andy, after Jackie had chopped the ingredients.  There was French bread between the slices of garlic drenched in butter that were heated in the oven.  Various cakes and custard were to follow.  Red and white wines were imbibed.  Jackie and I ate and she hastily drove us home.