Energy-Sapping Humidity


Today was hotter, and considerably more humid than yesterday. I flopped this morning, but didn’t sleep. Perhaps that fact that I slept all yesterday evening had something to do with this. My brief trip into the garden at mid-afternoon was energy-sapping.

Correctly surmising that I might need a rest en route to my planned perch at the Westbrook Arbour, Jackie positioned Mum’s stool beside the Nottingham Castle Bench. I took a few pictures from there, then moved on. Melting, after about twenty minutes I fled back indoors.

I took a cooling break before uploading the pictures. This was extended by a very welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, for which I was most grateful.

My choice of Supermarket prepared meals this evening was fish pie to which Jacke added crisp carrots. leeks, and mange-touts, which added fresh flavour.

New Roses


This has been a day of varied activities. This morning involved various administrative phone calls; a trip to Lymington to confirm the order and pay for Jackie’s new laptop; and a drive among the lanes around Sway.

Horse and rider

Other road users somewhat impeding our leisurely progress included a horse and rider;


a group of cyclists consisting of a gentleman and young girl lagging behind two boys pausing on the brow of a hill;

Hay truck

and a truck bearing a precarious looking wide load of hay.

Sunflowers and acorns

Coombe Lane, in particular, is home to Long Cottage, the garden of which contains a row of sunflowers fronting a rather wizened little oak tree bearing large clusters of cupped acorns.


Further along this road a group of inquisitive young Friesians thronged to their gateway in order to enquire what we were doing there.

ScarecrowScarecrows 1Scarecrows 2

Hordle has its own Scarecrow Trail, but since we followed the Bisterne one thoroughly, and parking is quite dangerous alongside the exhibits in the more populous village, I will simply photograph those we come across in our wanderings. The first of these are outside Hordle Parish Church of All Saints. They have been created by the children of the nearby Nursery School.

Hole for new rosesBrick path 1Sweet peas

Early this afternoon Jackie dug  the first hole for  the roses that will ascend the now unclad Gothic Arch seen at the far end of this section of the Brick Path, alongside which stands the Nottingham Castle bench with its attendant sweet peas.

Clematis Star of India

The rear of the bench can be seen in this shot of the Star of India clematis in Margery’s Bed.

Dragon Bed 1

The elegant forms of white gladioli take centre stage on this view of the Dragon Bed,

Dragon Bed 2

while, to the right of them, the colours of Japanese anemones, fuchsia, and lobelia form a similar sinuous shape.

Rose Penny Lane

Later, we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought two roses for the bare arch. We have examples of these elsewhere in the garden. Penny Lane wanders over the potting shed in the Rose Garden, and the bright red Super Elfin has taken off like a rocket in the herbaceous border.

Jackie digging hole for Super Elfin

Here Jackie, having planted Penny Lane, starts on a hole for the heavily pruned Super Elfin. I helped out a bit with that one, but the Head Gardener refused to photograph me on the grounds that my minor effort didn’t warrant a presence on the blog. Frankly that seemed a little harsh to me.

Penny Lane and Super Elfin

In a short while we can expect to see a difference.

Beef pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef pie, with meaty gravy, boiled potatoes, spring greens, and bright carrots. The Culinary Queen finished the sauvignon blanc, and I finished the Fleurie.




A Manly Garment

A couple of days ago Jackie had achieved a first. Seeking a small table for use in the garden, she had unsuccessfully visited various shops in Highcliffe. A wave of inspiration led her to try her luck in the Efford Recycling Centre, purely as a shopper without the excuse of having something to deposit. There she purchased a table, three hanging baskets, a chair, and some shelves. She also spotted something on which she wanted my opinion before buying it.
This was a somewhat rickety garden bench, not old, and in pretty good condition. It was still there when we visited the dump for the purpose of dumping. We bought it and tightened up its bolts when we got home. We also came away with a couple of cast iron sides to another bench for us to assemble; two window boxes, and a plant pot.
View from repositioned Castle benchView from dump benchThe Castle bench, in its assembled state, is now very heavy indeed. However, we inched it along to make room for what will forever be termed the dump bench, which is facing the opposite direction. This means that those sitting on the Nottingham Castle replica have a shifted, and rather more attractive, perspective in view. Jackie on dump benchHere Jackie sits on the new acquisition admiring the scene from there.
Derrick tightening Castle bench 1Derrick tightening Castle bench 2Derrick tightening Castle bench 3Derrick tightening Castle bench 4Derrick tightening Castle bench 5In repositioning the Castle bench we realised that its bolts also needed tightening. So, like any self-respecting motor mechanic unable to lift what he is working on, I crawled underneath the seat with a socket set and a couple of ordinary spanners
for the two longer bolts. Trapped in that position I was prey to the paparazza, who had a field day.
Incidentally, I owe my apparel to Sam and Louisa. The trousers, excellent for carrying all kinds of stuff in their numerous pockets, were cast off by my son sometime in the late 1990s. I suppose it is acceptable for a father to wear hand-me-downs from his son. It must have been around the year 2000 that Louisa spent some time in Sydney in Australia, with her friend Rebecca, and brought me back the T-shirt from Manly beach.
In January 2008, soon after Sam and Holly’s wedding in a Margaret River winery, Louisa, Errol, and my granddaughter Jessica Thompson, revisited my daughter’s Sydney haunts. Derrick & Jessica in Oz 1.08By coincidence, I was wearing the same souvenir from Louisa when Errol took this photograph.
Having successfully tightened up two benches, I had the bit between my teeth. Off we drove to Travis Perkins in Milford on Sea and bought a supply of Red Grandis eucalyptus hardwood; nuts and bolts; and a bolt cutter to sever some that had been rusted into their holes. We needed 19 four foot lengths of timber, and a kind young staff member called Nathan volunteered to cut the much longer strips to the required size.
I got my head together to work out the process of measuring, drilling holes with precision, and assembling the sides of our other dump purchase, and, with a little help from our resident D.I.Y. expert, began the construction. Then it rained. Heavily. With thunder and lightning. We grabbed tools and made a dash for cover.
There is no limit to what, given gestation time, and a certain amount of nurturing, a sausage casserole (recipe) can develop into. Thus the liver casserole of a day or two ago, evolved from the sausage sauce (and one sausage) being supplemented by more onions, mushrooms, liver, and tomato puree. By then the juices were richer and even fuller of flavour. Liver and bacon casseroleTonight it became the liver and bacon casserole, which Jackie termed ‘the evolution of the sausage casserole’. Absolutely delicious. Maybe it will carry a few chillies  tomorrow. With her meal Jackie drank Hoegaarden. My choice was a Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012, brought over from France by Mo and John.