The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.

One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to

a utility room leading to a library, fronted by

a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias, geraniums, etc.

I do hope this accurately describes the evolution of a room.

A few days ago I had taken my copy of J.L. Carr’s short novel, ‘A Month in the Country’ from my library, and I finished reading it this afternoon. Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1980, the book is a many faceted gem. Two men are linked by the fact of having survived Passchendaele and each having accepted commissions to uncover secrets of a medieval church. I will try not to reveal too much, but can say that in economical, well-placed, prose encompassing just 121 pages of my Folio Society copy of 1999 the author speaks of heaven and hell; of judgement, redemption, and damnation; of joy and pain; of culture and spirituality; of time and eternity; all with a slowly seething undercurrent of suppressed sexuality. It wasn’t heterosexual love to which Lord Alfred Douglas referred as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, yet there are other reasons for fear of revealing feelings.

Ronald Blythe’s perceptive and informative introduction reflects the author’s style.

Ian Stephen’s detailed illustrations are true to the text.

The front and back boards are each printed with a copy of the artist’s engraving for the frontispiece.

Here are the rest.

Early this evening we took a brief trip into the forest.

From Pound Lane near Thorney Hill we watched ponies paddling in Whitten Pond, alongside which a young woman played ball with a pair of dogs.

On our return we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away with which we both drank Tsing Tao beer.

First Donkey Foals

Jackie has not neglected the front garden in her clearing and planting of the last few days. This morning I gathered and bagged up her cuttings from the gravel path.

Erigerons, day lilies, Hot Chocolate rose and fuchsia feature here.

Clematises, nasturtiums, petunias, lobelias, and solanum currently bloom in front of the garage door.

This afternoon we left the sunshine behind at home as steady rain tracked us to the North of the forest.

Coats glistening, a trio of ponies took shelter among trees at Ibsley;

further on, at Frogham, more shaggy yet bedraggled donkeys, including our first foals of the season found their own shelter.

This evening we dined on minted lamb burgers; potatoes pulverised into a creamy mash; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

A Virtual Tour

There follows the missing post from

15th January 2019

We will be without internet until the faulty router is repaired. This is because the loaned device does not work. Now that I know that EE was bought by BT in 2016, I understand why their customer care is on a par with that of their new owner. Their equipment failed. They would repair it free of charge but not replace it without payment. Yet they still take my monthly subscription. I am stuck with them because they are the only feasible service to our location. And I don’t have the energy to waste on battling with them.

Elizabeth visited bearing flowers and chocolates. She stayed for lunch before setting off to West End to accompany Mum to an eye appointment at Southampton Hospital.

Whilst I slumped comfortably in my customary corner

Jackie took a trip round the garden

and brought me back a photographic record. Titles of the pictures in the gallery, which can be accessed by clicking on any image, will identify the plants on display. Many of these would not be expected in mid-January.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken curry with brown savoury rice and vegetable samosas.

No Further Sustenance Required

Have you ever heard of nasturtiums blooming in England six days before Christmas?

Well you have now. These still cling, erect, to the trellis attached to the garage door.

The purpose of Walkford Woodland Burial Ground is to provide plots for interment and for ashes which will eventually return to their natural state. Approved trees may be planted among the graves, with clusters of flowers around the cremated ashes. These flora must be those found indigenous to this country.

Today I accompanied Jackie, Helen, and Shelley for their annual placing of a wreath on their mother’s plot.

Afterwards Shelley produced a splendid meal for us all, including other husbands, Ron and Bill. We were treated to a succulent chicken and artichoke heart casserole; creamy mashed potato; and flavoursome carrots and Brussels sprouts. This was followed by home-grown raspberry and blackberry crumble with cream or custard. I, of course, chose custard. Red and white wines were on offer, after mulled wine. When we returned home no further sustenance was required.

A Home

Today was gloomy, inside and out. Rain persisted throughout; skies and our rooms were most dingy.

Even at midday one could barely see the pale pink winter flowering cherry juxtaposed against the dripping crab apples.

The temperature was, however, warm enough for the nasturtiums and the solanum to keep their shape without becoming their usual flaccid selves at this time of the year.

And dingy inside? That was because we experienced an, albeit anticipated, extended power cut to facilitate the supply being installed in a new house in Hordle Lane.

That did, however, provide us with a perfect excuse to brunch at The Walkford Diner. My All Day Brunch was one of the smallest grilled ensembles on offer. Jackie’s mountainous cheese and onion baked potato was accompanied by a plentiful fresh salad.

From there, we back-tracked to New Milton, where Robert Alan Jewellers fitted two new watch batteries while we waited. We have always been impressed by the service here. Among other previous experiences we bought our wedding rings at this excellent local establishment.

Once our electricity was back in operation, scanning pictures was the order of the afternoon. Elizabeth is seeking inspiration for the decorations to her Swedish wooden house from the splendid designs of Carl and Karin Larsson. She already possessed a copy of Floris Books’, 2006, Carl Larsson’s ‘A Home’ (ISBN 0 – 86315 – 549 -9). This morning I read it myself. Each of the illustrations is accompanied on the facing page by a clear and concise explanatory text.

Here are scans of the front jacket and a few of the wonderful paintings featuring interiors.

Elizabeth is staying with Mum for three nights, so this evening Jackie and I dined on pizza and salad with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Médoc.

Nearly November? Never!

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CLICKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

After early morning rain we enjoyed intermittent sunshine. A wander around the garden produced much evidence of continued growth.

This afternoon Jackie drove herself and me to Ringwood where I collected printing paper and inks from Wessex Photographic and she bought a winter coat at M & Co. We continued into the forest.

Trees along its banks were reflected in the stream at Ibsley,

where a loan pony, ignoring a sudden spurt of rain, surveyed passers-by within sight of a tree of massive girth,

beyond which a group of youngsters enjoyed the use of a tyre swing.

We stopped at Hockey’s Farm Shop to buy a joint of pannage pork, reputed to offer a special flavour. A couple of ponies wandered along the road outside; two field horses, like most others, as protection against the expected colder nights, now wear their rugs.

As we near Remembrance Sunday an outlined World War I combatant has appeared on a wall near Hockey’s; cutouts have patrolled around New Milton throughout the summer; an army nurse stands near Barton on Sea.

From the clifftop at Barton we were given a clear view of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse; while beyond the golf course behind us we could see rain falling.

Synchronised gulls perched on fence posts, until one flew off over another.

As I wandered around the garden I had found myself thinking ‘is it really nearly November? Never’. Pannage pork, horses in rugs, and the Lest We Forget memorials perhaps suggest otherwise.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika served with savoury rice and crisp cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Pulpito Tempranillo 2016. This was followed by the Culinary Queen’s honey and treacle tart.

 

 

 

The Sun Gleefully Exclaimed

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Well into this glorious October spell we still have a profusion of blooms brightening the garden.

Here is a small selection.

Jacqueline spent the day meeting James and Mark and visiting Mum. Late this afternoon Jackie drove me around the forest.

Two ponies foraging on Sowley Lane were caked in dried mud up to their flanks. We wondered where they had been. In the gradually filling ditches perhaps.

Further on, against the backdrop of the ancient granary barn ruins outside St Leonard’s Grange, another somnolent equine group cast long shadows across the sward.

We passed our home and drove on to Mudeford in order to admire the expected sunset. Ultimately sinking rapidly, the sun gleefully exclaimed at the view.

In the fading light gulls squabbled over food tossed skywards by a kindly couple and gentler hues replaced the earlier golden glow.

This evening, Jackie and I dined on her splendid sausage casserole; sautéed potatoes and onions; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.