Waste Not……..

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Although I didn’t have to grapple with the mortgage issue until late this afternoon, I’ll deal with it first to get it out of the way. The latest nonsense is that, after almost a month of procrastination and prevarication on behalf of the solicitors in the case, we learned two days ago that one of our documents must be signed in face to face contact with a solicitor acceptable to the lender. The firm that the building society originally approved is in Manchester. We were not prepared to travel up there for a ten minute encounter. Our independent adviser found one in Southampton who withdrew today on the grounds of sickness. Jackie and I will have to trail around tomorrow to find another prepared to witness our signatures.

Happily ignorant of this, we began the wet and rainy day taking the bags of garden refuse to the dump, then drove on to MacPenny’s garden centre in Bransgore, where I wandered around the garden while Jackie plundered the plant sales and waited for me in The Robin’s Nest cafe.

Plants for sale

Autumn has applied its rosy tints to many of the potted shrubs on offer.

Hosta

Being the only person daft enough to enter their garden on such a day, I had it to myself. This giant hosta gave me a gleaming greeting.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

Shrubbery 3

The dismal weather could not deter the shrubbery from doing its cheery best to brighten the day.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen,

Fuchsia

fuchsia,

Unidentified flower

and this flower I cannot identify, splashed colour around. Susan Rushton, in her comment below, has suggested this: ‘The mystery flower looks like hesperantha coccinea.’.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas were a little more muted.

Mossy root

Almost fluorescent green moss coated tree roots;

Chrysanthemums and stepsChrysanthemums and grass

small ferns punctuated log steps beside which asters, or Michaelmas daisies, clustered; splendid Pampas grass perched on a terraced bank.

Steps 1

Other logged steps were deep in shade;

Dog's headstone

where William was laid to rest.

Autumn leaves 3

A few trees were in the process of shedding their leaves; some clinging stubbornly on;

Autumn leaves 1Autumn leaves 2Autumn leaves 6Autumn leaves 4Autumn leaves 5

others decorated damp sward.

Autumn leaves on path 2Autumn leaves on path 1Autumn leaves on path 3

Winding paths are already being carpeted.

Hosepipe

A loosely coiled hosepipe lay dormant.

Eventually the rain increased and drove me inside where we enjoyed good quality brunches before returning home.

Regular readers will know that it is rare for us to leave the recycling centre ( the dump), without making a purchase from the sales area. Today, Jackie bought a child’s multi story car park for the use of grandchildren and great nephews.

Apples and bag of bulbs

Someone had tossed apples along with branches into the green refuse container. They were rescued and brought home with bags of bulbs from MacPenny’s. As the saying goes, ‘waste not, want not’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s exquisite beef and mushroom pie; tasty gravy; new potatoes; and crisp carrots and cabbage; followed, of course, by stewed apples and vanilla ice-cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

A Conundrum 2

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We took it easy today. Prompted by today’s post from thebikinggardener I wandered around the garden to see how our Hellebores are doing.

Some way behind Geoff’s, ours are coming through.

Many primulas have so far survived the winter.

Mist on cherub

The shattered bits of cherub Jackie found in the undergrowth a couple of years ago have gained a fine coating of moss.

Honesty and weeping birch

The remnants of honesty, hollowing ovals on stems, blends well with the weeping birch bark.

The parent viburnum Bontantense and its two children are blooming well. One joins with a leycesteria in beginning to mask Aaron’s new fencing.

Winter flowering cherry

Alongside the winter flowering cherry

Blackbird

and beneath the crab apples, a blackbird dropped down for a change of diet.

Pieris

This pieris takes my mind off the fact that the grass needs cutting.

Hydrangea

A few youthful pink cheeks survive amid those ageing, wrinkly, and skeletal ones of this hydrangea.

Eggshells on new bed

Finally, the conundrum. Who has dragged a clutch of eggshells from the compost heap across the New Bed? Well, we did spot a rat, hands and nose pressed to the pane, peering, like Tiny Tim, through our window when we ate our Christmas dinner.

Just before 4.30 p.m., we dashed out to Barton on Sea to watch the sun sink into Christchurch Bay. I did not stage the photograph of the woman kicking it back up into the sky.

A while later we dined at Lal Quilla. My choice was lamb shatkora massala; Jackie’s prawn sallee. We shared an egg paratha, mushroom rice, and sag bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.

The Patience Of A Dog

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I needed a trip to the bank in New Milton today. As it was a fine frosty morning we took a drive in the forest first and moved on to Friar’s Cliff for big breakfast brunches in the eponymous café.

On the way through Tiptoe we fell in behind a splendid horse and cart. After I had photographed hooves through the car windscreen, Jackie overtook the antique vehicle and stopped further down the road so that I could lay in wait for a full frontal shot.

Holmesley Passage, was bathed in both sunshine

and frost;

as was the still autumnal woodland and the bracken covered moor.

The stream that runs under the road flowed fast over the concrete ford.

Wrapped up and back-packed walkers strode across the moor.

Diners 1

The Friar’s Cliff café was so full that many diners sat outside (remember the dog)

Kayaker

watching the sea, a canoeist kayaking by,

Woman and dog on beach

and dogs frolicking on the beach.

Water and crisps

We are given a slip of paper containing our order number, and wait for the superb, freshly cooked, food. One couple didn’t touch their bottled water and crisps. They, too, were to receive a café meal.

A young mother clutched both her small son and his scooter as she made for the café. She didn’t drop either before she reached her destination.

We admired the patience of a golden haired dog ogling its owners’ bacon sandwiches without moving a muscle.

This evening we dined on fish fingers, chips, onion rings, and baked beans, with which I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Footpaths

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Phonebox and postbox

This morning I walked around the perimeter of the field by the disused phonebox and in service postbox, through Honeylake Wood,

Footpath 3

and back across the slender ribbon footpath that will soon be obscured by the farmer’s crops.

Landscape

Oak trees are among the latest to bear leaves, but those beyond the field are beginning to burgeon.

The occasional light aircraft droned overhead; my feet rustled the driest surface that I have experienced through the wood; and harsh squawks of pheasants lent dissonance to the sweeter notes of smaller birds. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Moss-covered trunk

Water in the downward sloping ditch often reaches this moss-covered trunk.

CelandinesDitch

Celandines carpet its somewhat dehydrated banks,

Footpath 2

and the normally sodden undulating footpath leading up to the bridge over the stream had no inclination to inhale my shoes.

Fallen birch

Smaller trees, like this birch, have been left straddling the path

Footpath 1Private Keep Out

from which ramblers are not encouraged to stray.

Tree bent by wind

As readers will know, we are not far from the sea. Many unsheltered trees are bent into shape by the force of the prevailing winds.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, although it was very busy, we received the usual warm welcome and excellent food. My choice was lamb Taba Shashlik Jalfrezi with pilau rice and a share of onion bhaji and egg paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

High Street night sky

The sun was just thinking about setting as we emerged into the High Street.

 

A WRAF Beauty

Early this morning Jackie discovered an ailing bird which may be a baby pigeon. She made it a little hospital bed, complete with water and a suet ball.Baby pigeon ailingPigeon

By the end of the afternoon our little friend was struggling around the garden, unable to fly, because its tail-feathers were shredded.Aaron working

Compost area

Aaron continued his work on the back drive. Acute observers will notice that the IKEA wardrobe sections have been once again recycled. A comparison between these two photographs, from the beginning and the end of his day, demonstrate what Aaron Parris  can do as A.P. Maintenance.Crows above field

Woodland pathWoodland 3Feeling reasonably recovered from the virus, on this bright, crisp, day, as crows filled the skies above the brassica field, I took a very gentle amble along the woodland walk. My right knee didn’t like it much.

StreamFootbridgeThe path remained pretty muddy, especially down by the fast-flowing stream, where, to reach the footbridge, I still needed to teeter on the fallen logs.

Beyond the bridge the footpath inclines quite steeply and is consequently much drier. Sunlight picked its way through the bracken, the trees, and the fallen leaves. Bright green lichen and and mosses glowed in the clear light.Woodland 2Woodland 4Woodland 5Woodland 1My post ‘A Statuesque Beauty’ featured an image of Jackie’s mother standing with her lifelong friend Sheila. Upon Sheila’s death in a nursing home, her daughter Margaret retrieved a small framed photograph from her bedside table. This is a signed photo of my late mother-in-law, Veronica Rivett. Margaret sent the picture to Helen. This copy is destined for Jackie’s other sister Shelly. I was, of course, engaged to make two more prints, one for each of the other sisters. Jackie brought it back from yesterday’s sororal meeting, and I worked on it today.Mum Rivett 7.42

Apart from a small tear, the effect of which I was able to remove, this picture, which could have been of a film star of the day, is in pristine condition. It is inscribed July 1942, which, by coincidence, was the month of my birth. There is no prize for discovering the location of the tear.

Lamb jalfrezi meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi (recipe) and savoury rice (recipe) accompanied by supermarket samosas and onion bajis left over from Christmas. Her choice of beverage was Hoegaarden, whilst I finished the bordeaux.

A Rude Awakening

Flowering cherryWe have packed the long life milk, so it fell to my lot, this bright morning, to walk down to the village shop to buy some more. I returned via the church path, The Splash, and Furzey Gardens.

Burgeoning spring has come to Castle Malwood Lodge garden, with its flowering cherries and its shrubs; to those in the village; and to the verges and hedgerows.

I stopped on the way to say goodbye to Alan. We discussed the ‘bedroom tax’, which in my view is far more complex than it seems to some. There is no doubt that many elderly people, often recipients of depleted and diminishing Social Services, are struggling alone to keep going in family houses when all their offspring have moved away, whilst younger people, faced with mounting rents, strive to bring up families in one-bedroomed flats. Whether penalising those Council tenants who cannot, or are reluctant to, move from their life-long homes is the answer, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, somehow a balancing of this problem needs to be achieved.

At the village green I met a couple seeking a walk before lunch in the Trusty. I now have plenty of experience with which to set them on their way.

Celandine & violasHawthorn

Celandine, violas, primroses, and hawthorn sparkled in the sunshine. Primrose & ChampionI find it almost impossible to photograph primroses in bright sunshine, so I settled for an equine one who, with Champion, her male escort, basked at the trough.

Moss on phonebox

Moss adorned the little-used public telephone box.

Berberis

Sawn trunkA flaming bright orange berberis blazed alongside the road leading up to the church.

A number of trees bordering the still soggy church footpath have been cut down. They leave fascinating forms reminiscent of a child’s wooden jigsaw puzzle.

At one end the signpost has been embellished by the addition of an outstretched gauntlet. Clearly someone thought the direction of the thoroughfare needed some clarification.Gauntlet

Less hardy than the New Forest ponies, many of the adult thoroughbreds in the fields still wear their winter warming coats. The youngsters seem to be deemed not to need them.Horses through hedge

Alex Schneideman, in a recent post, illustrated an enlightening article on the emotional impact of out of focus portraits against sharply drawn settings. I wonder what he would think of this shot of the horses seen through the hedgerow.

Toad

Whilst I was wandering this morning Jackie began the task of dismantling her portable garden. We continued it this afternoon. When she had installed it, she had disturbed a sleepy toad. The creature obviously survived the trauma, for today the horticulturist once again aroused it from its slumbers.

Jackie’s garden contained the deer-proof fencing, various assorted bricks, and a total of 84 pots of flowers, most of which were quite large. Some of the pots were in hanging baskets. There was the bird feeder with its squirrel baffle, and lots of both wooden and metal stakes. This was no mean achievement to put together, and quite a project to take apart. As I trudged backwards and forwards across the garden to return brick-loads to their previous resting place behind the garages, I wondered how she’d managed to carry them all across in the first place.

As I post this we are about to drive to the Curry Garden at Ringwood, where we will enjoy their usual excellent food and a pint and a half of Kingfisher.

 

After The Deluge 2

Yesterday evening Bill drove Helen, Jackie, and me to the Fuchi Chinese fusion restaurant in Totton. One of their favourites, this establishment is rather more up-market than Family House, which remains one of ours. The food was first class, and the service excellent, once we had struggled through the accent of our beautiful waitress with her very strong accent. This young lady understood us very well and spoke very good English once you could get your ears adjusted. It was quite fun really.

There was something of a pause between dishes, obviously the result of everything being freshly cooked. Helen chose a dish served in a hot stone pot with a fried egg on top of it. The man I took to be the young proprietor tossed this, mixing in the egg, and served it to Helen, informing her that it was enough for three people. We all had a share. It was good.

Jasmine teapotJasmine teapot 3Jasmine teapot 5The highlight came at the end of the meal. This was Helen’s jasmine tea. The hand-made clear glass teapot was perched on a stand of the same material. Now I know why tea lights, one of which was placed under the pot, are so called. A rounded teabag was undone. It contained what looked like a small walnut. This was dropped into the hot water, and we watched, fascinated, as a beautiful flower unfolded in the gradually darkening liquid reflected in the shiny black composite table. I don’t know what the tea tasted like.

Castle Malwood signA31

Pool & treeRipped branchSnatching sunshine between showers after another night of heavy rain, risking losing a shoe to the suction of the bog it now is, I wandered around the small section of forest that lies between our Upper Drive and the A31. It has taken a heavy toll in recent months.Fallen treeRoot & pool One huge branch has been ripped from its trunk. Deep pits, once dug for gravel, not yet filled by autumn leaves and other detritus, are now small lakes reflecting such surrounding trees that are still standing, and aiding the erosion of those that have fallen. Ponies visit for a drink and a meal of lichen and holly, now much more easily accessible.

Against the lightRipple & reflectionRipplePoolsReflection

Mossy trunkShadowsAs I walked out, raindrops from a recent shower, still sliding from branches overhead, dripped pattering onto last October’s leaves and forming ripples on the lakelets.

Bright emerald green moss contrasted with the soggy russet leaves on which the sun radiated long, strong, shadows.Telephone cableSawn trunk

The telephone cable brought down by the toppling, large, lichen-covered tree on 11th February still trails along the verge. It is itself undamaged.

WaterloggedWaterlogged 2

Much of the area is completely waterlogged.

Sun through treesbacklit reflection

Reflections seen against the light of the sun penetrating the trees are seen in silhouette.

On 28th February I observed that the evolution of what starts out as compost soup can be very varied. For today’s lunch this became chicken stoup (stew/soup). Added to the soup of that date was the remaining rich liquid from the evening’s sausage casserole and some freshly cooked further chunks of chicken. Superb.

Smoked cod, baked beans and chips accompanied by Roc Saint Vincent Sauvignon blanc 2012 provided our evening sustenance.