Work On House And Garden

This morning Nick Hayter finished the final coat on the west gable end wall.

He cleared up his materials, washed his rollers and bagged up empty paint cans.

James the carpenter visited to discuss the next stages with him. This will include the fitting of a new drainpipe and the start on the east end gable.

Jackie, meanwhile, spent most of the day on removing the fallen arch, This involved cutting some plants free of the twisted metal structure before it could itself be moved to a temporary location at Fiveways.

The remaining section of the arch will be used to support the pale pink climber in the Rose Garden which currently blocks access to the bench in front of the shed.

While in that section she also photographed an apple and Autumn sculpture in front of a fuchsia of the Hawkshead variety;

then the view of the garden from the Cryptomeria Bed to the house.

This evening we all dined on further helpings of Jackie’s tasty pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

“Dad’s Best Morning Of The Week”

Knowing that we would have both Nick working on the house, and Martin in the garden, and thinking of the photo opportunities this would provide, Becky offered the opinion that has provided today’s title.

Martin began by mowing the lawn, which involved temporarily moving the pebbles from around the chimney pot, and carrying the clippings to the compost bins.

Meanwhile Nick began applying the first coat of paint to the west end gable wall. The pressure he needed to exert proved too much for his roller so he had to go and fetch another.

A Red Admiral butterfly alighted on a dust sheet.

Martin continued working on the Palm Bed clearance;

Nick finished applying

the first coat of paint to the wall;

and Martin brought the Palm Bed clearance alongside Jackie’s earlier footpath.

When Nick asked if he could wash his roller in our kitchen sink, Becky said “only if Dad can photograph you while you do it.” “I’ll lock the door”, was our friend’s reply.

This evening we dined on meaty and spicy pizzas, corn on the cob and fresh salad with Becky’s dressing. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.

Conversions And Curry

This morning I converted the following posts from Classic to Block edits, with the last two being changed to Garden categorisation:

Wayback Machine helped by identifying one missing picture in the Transitional Objects post.

Nick Hayter visited to discuss costings for refurbishing the outside of the house. We will start with one stage.

This afternoon Jackie drove us all over to Westbourne where we met Becky and Ian at Spice Cottage in order for me to settle my losing bet over the England v. France Women’s Six Nations rugby match, the result warranting my paying for the curry meal. My main course was Tandoori King Prawn naga with Special Fried Rice. We all shared peshwari naan and onion bahji; I haven’t registered the other main courses. The men all drank Kingfisher, and the women soft drinks. The service and food was as excellent as always.

What To Do With Flies

For much of the morning and the first half hour of a sweltering afternoon Jackie continued weeding the Brick Path, taking her own


and after photographs;

meanwhile I filled several trug-loads of dead-headed roses and weeds pulled up from the beds along the way.

Afterwards I printed another batch of A4 prints of him at work for Nick, who finished his work today.

Early this evening Jackie and I took a drive into the forest.

There seemed to be three options for photography when we arrived at Hatchet Pond: a man throwing sticks into the lake for his dogs to splash after, crows pecking in the grass, and, as a last resort my lens might reach a few groups on the far bank. As I disembarked from the Modus the man and his dogs walked away, and the rooks flew off.

Fortunately, a young lady aimed a judicious kick on the far side.

On Furzey Lane, a young foal, looking enviously at his mother’s tail, the switching of which he tried to emulate with no effect, did his best to dislodge the flies which pestered him, with ineffective kicks and waggling of his abbreviated little brush.

Along Lodge Lane a colourful pheasant strutted in the verge grasses, and inquisitive field horses displayed their fly protection gear.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s pasta bolognese with fresh salad. The Culinary Queen and Ian drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Zesty, and I finished the Côtes du Rhône.

Busy Bees, Hummingbird Moths, Decorator, And Gardeners

Today Nick continued with his painting of our bedroom and upstairs sitting room walls;

Jackie continued weeding, alongside Martin

who heavily pruned a couple of New Zealand flax plants and an ornamental poplar before mowing the lawn carpeted with daisies which will return in a few days.

In the meantime I photographed two other breeds of hard workers also struggling with the heat – namely

hummingbird moths on pelargoniums,

and bees on yellow bottle brush and mauve verbena bonariensis.

While I was at it I photographed a few more flowers which bear titles in the gallery.

This evening we dined on slow roasted pork with crunchy crackling; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; al dente cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, with meaty gravy. Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden, Becky finished the Portuguese Rosé, Flo drank elderflower cordial, and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône.

In The Nest

Nick spent the morning

sanding down yesterday’s filling of walls, ceilings, and woodwork;

painting ceilings

and, this afternoon, walls

The blackbird’s nest, first sighted on 3rd June, now has,

as photographed by Jackie, two babies. One egg may be unhatched; the yellow ball is a seed.

For much of the day I listened to BBC’s sound broadcast of the last day of the second cricket Test match between England and New Zealand. Anyone who knows what happened will understand why.

This evening we dined on spare ribs in a variety of sauces, mine being chilli; Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice, and tender runner beans, followed by strawberries and cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Portuguese Rosé, Ian drank Cobra and I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2020. Flo abstained.

How To Get Rid Of Dandelions

I began the last push on clearing the two rooms Nick is currently working on together at 4 a.m. this morning. These are the new sitting room and our bedroom upstairs.

Our friendly decorator began prepping before Jackie and I took a mid-morning forest drive.

A framed crocheted Queen welcomes visitors to St. Mark’s Church, Pennington.

We travelled along the very narrow Pauls Lane on our way to Pitmore Lane

alongside which I photographed the landscape with horses.

Further along we encountered a group of donkeys and their foals which

attracted a number of other photographers including this Frenchwoman. I quipped that these donkeys would become very familiar with the camera, and realised that her husband did not understand me. He told me so in English and followed in his own tongue which I didn’t understand. When he explained this to his wife I suddenly tuned into his French accent and replied, haltingly, in his own language. The three of us then spoke about how difficult it is to speak in another language for the first two or three days of a visit. The husband told me that they kept two donkeys at home.

One of the foals appears to have been attempting to emulate the stereotypical female Argentine tango dancer. Tossing its head around, scratching against the stiff grass, first on its feet, then sinking to the ground and rolling its muzzle close to the ground, the little animal failed to grasp the secret of how to get rid of dandelions.

By this afternoon Nick had made considerable progress and will begin applying paint tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken korma and various leftovers from last night’s Red Chilli takeaway, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Ian drank Cobra, and I finished the Bordeaux.

Rich Pickings

This morning Nick completed his painting of the garden room and vacuumed and tidied everything, as he always does.

After lunch Jackie drove me into the forest.

As I walked down the slope from Wilverley Road to capture the views of Longslade Bottom, its landscape festooned with ponies, foals, and dog walkers

I noticed buttercups and daisies on the lush verges and blackberry blossom and ferns flanking the stony tracks produced by generations of wildlife.

At the corner of the dog-rose-lined Armstrong Lane on the approach to Brockenhurst a small group of ponies including a leggy foal and their short limbed Shetland acolyte grazed among glowing buttercups; while another group preferred to shelter in the dappled shade. Perhaps the couple in the last image, prone to weird moaning sounds and a certain amount of head butting, were engaged in some kind of unrequited courtship ritual.

On the bridge over the ford at Brockenhurst a group of amused tourists photographed ponies on the road.

Along Meerut Road a woman approached a small highland cow, and seemingly oblivious of this bovine, stood beside it photographing the landscape and pointing out something of interest to her male companion.

I wandered over to a pony and foal and discovered that some small corvine creatures had found rich pickings at the equine hoofs.

This evening we all dined on Becky’s flavoursome savoury rice; succulent chicken Kiev; fresh salad; and tomatoes with mozzarella and basil. Jackie, our daughter, and son-in-law drank Rosé Prosecco; I drank Château Sainte-Clotilde Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2018; and Flo abstained.

Burning Garden Refuse

Today Nick applied first coats of paint to the Garden Room.

In the meantime, with minor assistance from me, Jackie burnt the garden refuse unsuitable for composting.

Later this afternoon Jackie and I took a short forest drive.

Along Forest Road a pair of ponies and foals set off into the shrubbery as I walked across to them with a camera round my neck.

Another foal clambered to its feet as I approached, and sought the comfort of its mother.

I spoke to the owner of a frisky spaniel and suggested that it might disturb the foals. He replied that she was a good girl and would not worry the ponies. I had to acknowledge that she was not doing so at the moment.

We stopped along Wilverley Road where I did not disturb another mother and baby.

A red postbox remains outside Postbox Cottage in Wootton Road. It has been decorated with a yarn crown to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

This evening we all dined on Papa John’s pizzas, with which Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Diet Coke, and I finished the Durif Shiraz, while Flo abstained.

Ground Floor Completed

At intervals during the day I finished reading ‘The Woman in White’ which I had neither time to review nor to scan the illustrations from The Limited Editions Club edition from 1964. I will do this tomorrow.

By early afternoon Nick had completed his transformation of our entrance hall/my office and the vestibule. In previous years he has decorated our sitting room and our kitchen to the same exemplary standard.

Once more demonstrating his flexibility he applied the final stages to the paintwork and gathered up his dust sheets which he carried upstairs where, tomorrow, he is to start on the Garden Room bedroom which we cleared as best we could for his access.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts; and tangy red cabbage, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Pays de l’Aude Rosé 2020, Becky and Ian drank Zesty; and I drank more of the Durif Shiraz.