Not Cold Enough

Perhaps it was the very light overnight frost that led the blackbirds to investigate the neglected crab apples in the front garden.

This one turned its back on them and considerately stayed just long enough for me to photograph it.

We still have plenty of colour in our plot.

There are winter flowering plants such as this viburnum bodnantensis Dawn in Margery’s Bed,

and the tiny clematis cirrhosa Freckles dotted over the gazebo.

Hardy autumnal chrysanthemums we do expect;

maybe some of these fuchsias are tough enough to make it through the winter;

but self seeded bidens?;

still perky nasturtiums?;

sturdy penstemons?;

varieties of geranium not sheltered in the greenhouse?;

roses such as ascending Altissimo,

blushing Schoolgirl,

marvellous Mamma Mia,

and blooming Absolutely Fabulous?

To send these beauties packing it is not yet cold enough.

This evening Jackie produced a fillet of pork laced with powdered mustard, flaked almonds, and brown sugar, served with roast potatoes and parsnips; colourful rainbow carrots, firm Brussels sprouts, and tender runner beans. Having enjoyed a beer beforehand, neither of us imbibed.

 

 

 

A Wee Bit Harsh

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Nasturtiums

Early this morning, in the front garden, I photographed nasturtiums;

Petunias in hanging basket

double petunias in a hanging basket;

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

clematis Mrs N. Thompson, now taking over from the pink roses on the trellis;

Clematis Ville de Lyon

and another, Ville de Lyon, draped over the fence.

Moving to the patio, I admired the various planting groups, including planters and hanging baskets along the Kitchen Path.

A brief sojourn in the Rose Garden revealed, among others, the miniature Little Rambler, clematis Arabella; Creme de la Creme; a bee in a poppy; and Jackie’s new creation, Rosa Canoris Forkii.

This made me determined to return later and join Jackie in a lengthy dead-heading session. I have to admit that I did get carried away with tracking bees and hoverflies, but, nevertheless, I thought the Head Gardener’s observation that there was more photography than dead-heading being carried out, was a wee bit harsh.

This afternoon I dozed through two World Cup football matches. It doesn’t much matter which they were.

Before dinner, we enjoyed a drink on the patio. I saved some of my Doom Bar to accompany Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and boiled basmati rice. Having finished her Hoegaarden, Jackie had the pleasure of watching me.

The Rush Hour

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We had a very enjoyable time yesterday evening at Vicki and Barrie’s Golden Wedding Celebrations, organised by their children and grandchildren.

Pop records and TV adverts from 1967 were played on a monitor. Son, Steve, conducted a spoof ‘Mr and Mrs’ programme that his parents entered into with gusto.Oral tributes were made. The septuagenarians nimbly led the dancing.

A plentiful, varied, and fresh, cold buffet was supplied and we were invited to bring anything stronger than the soft cold drinks, or tea and coffee. We shared the bottle of Prosecco we had won at Ron’s party quiz.

The couple’s daughter, Angie took photographs on her mobile phone, and will e-mail me the results so I can add them to this post.

Late this morning, I watched yesterday’s recorded rugby matches between Scotland and New Zealand, and between England and Australia.

Jackie in greenhouse

While I watched telly, Jackie tended plants in the greenhouse.

Pelargonium 3

She is nurturing pelargoniums

Pelargonium 2

of the more tender variety,

Begonia

and begonias.

 

Hardy pelargoniums

Pelargonium1

survive outside,

Antirrhinum

as still do antirrhinums,

Nasturtium

nasturtiums,

Honeysuckle

honeysuckle,

Red Admiral

and somewhat battered Red Admirals.

Jackie has given the Kitchen Bed’s urn its winter planting.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

In addition to roses we have, in the Rose Garden, clematis Duchess of Albany, her skin taking on the quality of parchment,

Fuchsia 1

various fuchsias,

Salvia

and penstemons.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas take on autumnal hues.

When I sat down to upload the above pictures, my Apple invited me to upload the latest operating system. I attempted to do this. An error occurred in this. The system is locked and I can’t do anything more with the computer. I had to give up, and eventually used the Microsoft laptop. Windows 10 has changed everything about importing pictures since I last used it, and it wasn’t easy to get my head round.

Off we then drove to Hatchet Pond in an effort to calm me down.

Silhouettes by pond

Not long before sunset

Silhouetted photographer

photographers

Tree and man reflected

gathered;

Hatchet Pond and waterfowl 1

waterfowl

Sunset and waterfowl

paddled along;

Swans with wake

swans trailed their wake.

Sunset 4

The pond reflected

Sunset 2

gold

Sunset 3

 tinged clouds,

Sunset 5

rapidly turning red.

Sunset and jettrail

A jet plane streaked into the foaming flames.

Sunset with silhouettes

So many photographers were now lined up that this seemed like rush hour on the railways.

The treatment worked. I retained my equanimity.

This evening Jackie produced succulent roast pork served on a bed of peppers and onions, accompnied by roast potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Concha y Toro cabernet sauvignon 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

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Sections of my head need tweaking I attempted to manage two of them this morning. Neither was particularly straightforward.

A certain amount of nasal congestion appears to have blocked my left ear. I had made a non-urgent appointment with my GP for this morning. She informed me that both ears need syringing to remove a surfeit of wax On two occasions in the past this has been done free of charge in my GP surgeries. There is no longer funding for this, so I have two choices. I can have a referral to an NHS hospital where there would be a long wait, or I can pay £30 per ear to a private clinic. Thanking my lucky stars that I can afford it, I opted for the private route.

Given the demography of this area, there are a number of Hearing Centres in New MIlton. It would be a simple matter to select one.

While I was at the practice surgery I enquired about the referral letter for the necessary cataract adjustment that was to come from Boots Opticians. This had not been received. Jackie drove me to the optometrist where I was given a duplicate to take back to Milford on Sea. The gentleman kindly put it into an envelope for me.

Although Boots does apparently also deal with ears, it seemed sensible to visit the Hearing Centre directly opposite. After all, they don’t get distracted by eyes.

They don’t do wax removal. Neither does anyone else in the town. I was given a card for The Private Ear Clinic which has bases in Hythe and in Milford on Sea.

Back in the car, I had a look at the optometrist’s referral letter. It had been sent to the wrong freaking surgery.

Back out of the car, I returned to Boots where the eye man owned up to his mistake. I said something to the effect that we all make mistakes and I’d settle for calling him a berk. He altered the address. Jackie was going back to Milford to meet her sisters, so she took the form to deliver to the GP.

Back home I phoned the ear clinic, opted for the Milford venue, and made an appointment.

Where is the clinic?

It is in the hospital alongside the GP surgery. You go in the same door and turn left to enter the main building. One more example of private medicine being carried out in NHS property. I suppose our ailing public body needs the rent, otherwise they may have to sell the building for a housing development that no local people have the means to live in.

Tomorrow I have a quarterly teeth clean arranged. The rest of the time I do it myself. This is also a private arrangement, because even NHS treatment is now costly, and you can’t pick your time. Surely nothing can possibly go wrong.

We did have a light frost a couple of nights ago, but most of the garden has remained unscathed.

After lunch I set about photographing some of the survivors. Did I mention that I became rather damp getting in and out of the car? That is because, although the temperature was much milder, it rained all day. Not to be deterred I started in the front garden, but didn’t get very far.

Solanum

On the trellis we still have solanum,

Rose pink climber

pink roses,

Pelargonium

 and pelargoniums in hanging baskets;

Clematis Mrs N. Thompson

as for Mrs N. Thompson, what is she doing up at this time?

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums still have strength to scale the front of the garage door

Pelargoniums and solanum

against which lighter pink pelargoniums flirt with another solanum.

Bidens and petunias

Self-seeded bidens venture towards the pavement outside, beneath continually cascading petunias.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, roast potatoes, cauliflower, and sautéed onions and leeks. I drank Tulga Toro 2013

 

 

Seeking Camouflage

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The sun has returned after several days’ absence. I wandered around the garden with a camera. These photographs reflect the current conditions in our plot.

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscuses are now in full bloom. This one is at the front;

Nasturtium

as is this yellow climbing nasturtium sharing the garage frontage with

Hanging basket and clematis Star of India

hanging baskets such as this container of geraniums an lobelia blending with the clematis Star of India behind them.

Dahlias, lobelias, and fuchsia chequerboard

There are quite a few dahlias reaching up to meet the Chequerboard fuchsia sharing the basket suspended from the wisteria arbour with the paler blue lobelias.

Clematis Polish Spirit and buddleia

A buddleia peeps through the Gazebo arch festooned with clematis Polish Spirit;

Eucalyptus

nearby petunias hang from the eucalyptus.

Leicesteria

Leicesteria drop earrings dangle in the West Bed

Japanese anemone

which also contains white Japanese anemones Jackie planted a couple of years ago to contrast with the ubiquitous pink ones.

Begonias and lobelia in hanging basket on dead snake bark maple

Begonias swing from the dead snake bark maple.

Gladioli Priscilla

Priscilla gladioli have survived the rains in the

Through the New Bed

New Bed.

Petunias and geranium

These petunias and geraniums stand on a brick plinth in the Weeping Birch Bed;

Petunias, geraniums, etc

opposite them a pot on the corner of the Raised Bed contains more of each with many blooms behind them.

Crocosmia etc

The crocosmia in this shot greets you as you leave the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden featuring Just Joey

this view of which is focussed on Just Joey.

Elizabeth's bed with Altissimo

Altissimo, in the centre of this shot looking into Elizabeth’s Bed, has sent out a lower than normal stem.

Palm Bed

Yellow rudbeckia takes centre stage in this section of the Palm Bed.

Comma butterfly

This bronzed Comma butterfly appears to be seeking camouflage from the dead little fir tree

Gazebo Path

in a pot on the right hand side of the Gazebo Path.

Perhaps last night’s power cut improved tonight’s evening meal. A consequence was that the lemon chicken Jackie was marinading remained in the lemon juice overnight. We enjoyed this with her special fried rice and runner beans. I finished the pinot noir. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio as an aperitif.

 

 

 

Umbrellas And Multi-Ocular Devices

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Early on this grey, overcast, morning, Jackie drove us to Lymington and back to buy a birthday present.

Lilies and bronze fennel flowers

Upon leaving the house I decided I had not published enough photographs of the front garden. I therefore focussed on these lilies flanking bronze fennel flowers;

Fuchsia Sir Matt Busby

fuchsia Sir Matt Busby suspended over the front porch;

Nasturtium

orange nasturtiums potted in front of the garage door;

Clematis

a purple clematis soaring both them;

Solanum

white solanum adorning the trellis;

Lobelia and petunias

lobelia and petunias cascading over a hanging basket;

Lacecap hydrangea

and this pink and blue lace cap hydrangea spreading across the right hand corner.

It being market day in Lymington I hoped to have further fun with the camera. No sooner had we emerged from the shop, which must be nameless at the moment, and I brought out the camera, than the rain came down and umbrellas went up. Nevertheless, I persisted, and photographed

Women's tops

a rail of Summery women’s tops;

Melons

an abundance of bulbous green and golden melons;

Nectarines

glistening nectarines;

Olives

metal bowls of oleaginous olives;

Bread

loaves of rustic Mediterranean bread;

Veg cutters

the stall of a gentleman demonstrating veg cutters the colour of which made up for a lack of oranges;

Sandals

and decorative sandals, the display of which now seemed somewhat optimistic.

Couple under umbrellaWoman with pink umbrellaWoman with umbrella 1Woman with umbrella at fruit stallWoman with umbrella 2Woman with umbrella 3Couple under umbrella 2

Here are some of the umbrellas,

Woman keeping rain off with plastic bag

not forgetting the lady who had forgotten hers.

Reading glasses

Reading glasses may now be obtained without prescription, and are cheaply available on market stalls.

Jackie inspecting specs 1Jackie inspecting specs 2Jackie inspecting specs 3

Jackie has collections all over the house and garden. Naturally she inspected these specs,

Jackie wearing four pairs of specs

and bought £5’s worth of what Becky calls her mother’s multi-ocular devices. The idea is that wearing two pairs gives you twice the strength of magnification. Four is overdoing it a bit.

This afternoon I watched the women’s Wimbledon tennis final on TV.

For this evening’s dinner, Jackie produced steak and onion pie, new potatoes, crispy breaded mushrooms, crunchy carrots, and fresh spring greens. We had drunk respectively Hoegaarden and Banks’s Amber bitter on the patio beforehand. I had some of mine left over to drink with the meal. Jackie hadn’t. But then, her bottles are smaller than mine.

 

 

 

 

 

Mellow Fruitfulness

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As we were both up before dawn this morning we took a trip to the coast to catch sight of the dawn over the Isle of Wight. There was nothing to see. It was raining and the sky was covered in grey cloud.

John Keats famously described autumn as “a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. We haven’t had any mists yet in this delayed waning of the year. So I guess we must be patient.

Many flowers, such as

nicotiana

nicotiana

nasturtium

and nasturtiums continue to bloom.

There is, however, a certain amount of “mellow fruitfulness” in the form of

Crab apples

crab apples,

Rosa glauca hips

rosa glauca hips,

apple

just a few apples on a tree that was laden last year,

nicotiana sylvestris seed pods

and the seed clusters of six foot tall nicotiana sylvestris,

nicotiana sylvestris seeds

just one pod of which produced this cappuccino  chocolate cloud of minute seeds on the poppy tray.

I cannot remember how to calibrate my scanner to the laptop, so the last two photographs I e-mailed to Emily were produced by

EmilyEmily

photographing the prints and uploading them.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spiky pasta beef arrabiata and runner beans with which I drank more of the malbec.