Picking Up The Autobiography

Yesterday evening, through the window beside my desk, Jackie photographed glistening pearls strung out by a furry spider.

For reasons which will become particularly apparent from my post “The Foam Rubber Mattress”, patient readers who may have notice an hiatus in the drafting of my autobiography, may be pleased to know that I picked it up again this afternoon. Hoping to have lifted my block I have taken material from that post and from “Chocolate Surprise Pudding”

Jackie carried out more planting, ably hindered by Nugget.

This afternoon we experienced more showers than sunshine as we drove to The Wheel Inn to book a table for lunch to celebrate Mum’s 97th birthday tomorrow.

The rain really set in as we continued into the forest, but desisted just as we had decided to return home. We stayed on at Brockenhurst where

pair of donkeys trotted alongside the school buses transporting youngsters home from Brockenhurst College

and idled past our windscreen.

Ponies

and cattle happily grazed among huge oaks just outside the village.

Pied wagtails are to ponies as robins are to gardeners. We watched one nipping around nearby hooves and muzzles.

Back at home, Jackie took her camera into the garden.

She is particularly pleased with this clematis, shrivelled and wizened when we arrived here five years ago.

 

Another great survivor is the Phoenix grass we tried to kill, now rising triumphantly from Elizabeth’s Bed.

The Dragon Bed, seen from the Gazebo, was a jungle five years ago.

Sculptural grasses come into their own at this time of the year. These are in the Palm Bed.

The helianthuses Lemon Queen sit before a curtain of Virginia creeper.

She cannot remember the name of this gorgeous fuchsia.

Other favourites are osteospermum;

the waving verbena bonariensis

and the peripatetic cosmoses mingling with them.

This evening we dined on roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, including sweet ones; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

Should I Revert To The Classic Editor?

The light this morning was dull when I took a walk around the garden.

It looks to me as if WordPress have changed my gallery image sizes as they did yesterday. This will mean that nothing can be enlarged. I am also uncertain whether the galleries can be accessed at all. Should either of these situations arise, I will return to the Classic editor. I would appreciate feedback on this.

This afternoon the light was slightly better when I photographed a hosta blooming on the stumpery; the Virginia creeper brightening the back drive,

which also bears hot lips in its border;

bees plundering salvia and cosmos;

and a Red Admiral basking on warm paving bricks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic lamb jalfrezi with mushroom rice and onion samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserva Shiraz 2017.

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.

Can It Really Be October?

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. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT CAN BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

Today I took several strolls around the garden, marvelling at what we still have in bloom. Some of the flowers should be long gone. This is simply a selection. Identification can be found from the gallery captions. As can be seen from the orange poppy, geranium Rosanne, and hot lips shots, hover flies and bees still prowl for pollen. Can it really be October?

This evening Jackie produced a splendid roast chicken meal complete with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, some of which were sweet; crunchy carrots, and cauliflower; tender runner beans and Brussels sprouts. She had drunk her Hoegaarden whilst cooking. Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Mendoza Morador 2016.

Afterwards, having been pointed in the right direction by my blogging friend Paol Soren, I attempted to comply with the popular request for photographs of the fairyland produced by our solar lights, some of which may be seen festooning the earlier daylight pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have a tripod, so there is a little more movement than would normally be seen. Now I have a better idea of what I am doing, I will have a go with Elizabeth’s tripod.

Satisfied

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Today Summer has returned in the form of a hot sunny day.

Bee on geranium palmatum

I’m no entomologist, so my identification of the bee-like insects flitting from bloom to bloom should be taken with a pinch of salt (which, traditionally should see off weeds). I am, however, confident that this one on a geranium palmatum is really a bee.

Hoverfly on fuchsia

This is probably a hoverfly using fuchsia Delta’s Sarah as a landing strip;

Hoverfly approaching poppy

and another approaching a pale pink poppy;

Hoverfly in antirrhinum

more likely a wasp lurking behind this white antirrhinum;

Wasps in poppies

and a couple more sampling these new poppies

Herbaceous border

towering in the herbaceous border,

Canterbury Bells

where delicate pink Canterbury bells now stand alongside the deep blue ones,

rose Ernest H. Morse

and roses like the flaming Ernest H Morse

rose Dearest 1

and the gentler Dearest are thriving.

Hole under fence

Unfortunately this herbaceous border, between the Back Drive and the back fence recently erected to keep out invaders from the North Breeze jungle, became the source of my major gardening task. An attempt has been made by an even bigger beast to eradicate Jackie’s recently planted red rambler rose. There was a label giving the name of the rose, but it’s probably been eaten by whatever dug its way under the fence, tearing at the roots and demolishing a large ornamental poppy.

Concrete blocks in wheelbarrow

We decided to be subtle about creating a barrier. To this end I transported two concrete blocks from the other end of the garden,

Red rambler and concrete barrierConcrete blocks barrier 2Concrete blocks barrier 1

extended the hole behind the rose, and popped in the concrete. The subtlety lay in leaving the hole to the left of the rose, so providing the animal with an alternative route. The stem in the foreground of the last of this series of pictures will be tied to its support.

Rose garden

Here is a current view of the Rose Garden showing, from front to back, Absolutely Fabulous, For Your Eyes Only, and Love Knot, flanked by tall pink foxgloves;

Garden view from eucalyptus to Compassion rose

and another from the eucalyptus to the Compassion rose on the arch spanning The Dead End Path,

Jackie tidying Dead End Path

which received the bulk of Jackie’s attention today. She pruned, weeded, raked, tidied, planted, and

Derrick admiring bench supports

propped up the rather unstable bench with bricks which I helped transport from elsewhere. It can now take my weight without wobbling.

Petunias and cosmos

Recent plantings well settled in include the begonias in the foreground of the picture of the Head Gardener at work; these petunias and cosmoses in a tub nearby;

Osteospermum and nepeta

and osteospermums and nepeta in the Oval Bed.

Jackie 1Jackie 2

Eventually Jackie was satisfied that her day’s work was fit to be photographed,

Jackie admiring Dead End Path

and she could sit back and admire it.

This evening we are off to Danni and Andy’s home in Shirley where Elizabeth will join us for a meal at the young folks’ local Indian restaurant. Since it is only my niece who has expressed sleepless distress at not knowing what I had for dinner, and she will be well acquainted with it, I assume that the rest of you won’t mind if I report on this tomorrow. With apologies to those who will be on their breakfast.

 

A Wildlife Garden

Quote

CLICK ON IMAGES (ESPECIALLY THE CRICKET) TO ENLARGE. REPEAT (ESPECIALLY THE CRICKET) IF REQUIRED.

DID I MENTION THE CRICKET?

It is two years since we were last assisting our friend Giles in opening his garden in Milford on Sea. Once more, today, we took the first stint in his rota.

Jackie on the door

Overnight rain had only recently desisted at 11 a.m., so Jackie, on the door, had plenty of opportunity to work on her puzzles,

Giles and visitors

while Giles and I chatted until the first visitors arrived.

Wildlife Gardening Award Certificate

Blu-tacked onto the entrance window is a well-deserved certificate.

Giles's sculpture 1

Beneath this is one of the gardener’s creative sculptures, made from found objects. The upright stone was once part of a window in Southwell Minster.

Giles's sculpture 2

Here is another from the bottom of the garden.

Giles's sculpture 3Giles's sculpture 4

This one contains examples of his stained glass work,

View through sitting room window

as does this view from the sitting room, showing the artefact on which stands his tree encircled by butterflies.

Giles's sculpture 5

A further creation on the decking is seen through the French windows.

Giles's garden 1

Visitor

Pebbles and granite sets creating paths and other features were all collected over a number of years from on and around the nearby beaches.

Giles's garden 3Giles's garden 4Giles's garden 5Giles's garden 6Giles's garden 7

Seventeen years ago, this rambling haven was almost completely grassed over. It is now packed with trees, shrubs, and other features attractive to wildlife.

Raindrops on smoke tree

Raindrops still pilled on the fibres of smoke tree;

Raindrops on foxgloves

foxgloves;

ClematisClematis, thistle, wildlife hotel

clematis;

Raindrops and cricket on osteospermum

and osteospermum – even on the little cricket’s antennae.

Wild Life Hotel

A notice visible in the second clematis picture indicates and lists the uses of the wildlife hotel;

Viper's Bugloss

another extols the value of viper’s bugloss to bees.

Lupins

I expect these latter enjoy delphiniums, too, although blue is Giles’s favourite flower colour.

Hut

Had the rain persisted, no doubt this hut, with its natural seat, would have filled up with visitors;

Pond

certainly the pond would have topped up with water.

This evening we dined on the rest of the Chinese Takeaway, and both drank Kingfisher.

No Escaping Noel Manchee

Last night I read C. Day Lewis’s foreword to the Folio Society selection of Robert Frost’s poems. This was very readable and a good introduction to the poet. Why Paul Muldoon’s dense introduction was deemed necessary seems a mystery to me.

Lilac

Lilac is now blooming in our garden,

Vibernum

as are vibernum,

Osteospermum

and osteospermum.

We had a ‘Mum’s so lucky’ moment this morning, when I tripped over the cord of the electric iron whilst I was pressing shirts, sent the iron flying, spilled its water content, and broke the lid to its reservoir. And wrenched my troublesome knee . Not too badly, I hope.

This afternoon I worked my way through more of the photographic prints Elizabeth has returned. There were just three from 1982/3 that have not already featured in posts. This was during the period in which I was printing in black white, using an enlarger and chemicals.

Matthew was a wonderful big brother to his younger siblings. He enjoyed playing with them, and introducing them to interesting exploratory experiences like this one.Sam 1982 013

His guiding hand can be seen in the image scanned from a 10″ x 8″ print.

Louisa 1982 5

This is my favourite early photograph of Louisa. I made a number of varying sizes. This one happens to be 5″ x 7″.

Wherever you ran a road race in Southern England in the 1980s, you were likely, a day or so afterwards, to receive an envelope containing proofs or contact sheets portraying you in your hours of glory. These would, on the reverse bear this stamp:Noel Manchee stamp 1983

You were invited to buy 10″ x 8″ prints. I generally did. So, Mr Manchee, if you read this you will know that my title is tongue in cheek. Actually, I thought it a pretty smart activity, the rewards for the runners exemplified by my being able to lay hands on this photograph taken in 1983, during the Windsor Great Park half marathon. Thank you.Derrick Windsor Great Park half marathon 1983 001

That silly moustache was short-lived.

This evening Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea to collect my repeat prescription from the pharmacy. We then dined at the Britannia Thai restaurant which lived up to the various recommendations we have received for it. The ambience was pleasant, the music gentle, and the food excellent. The efficient service took a while to warm up, but was friendly when it did. My choice was a starter of tiger prawns on a bed of carrot and spring onion juliennes in a spicy chilli sauce; a main course of sea bass in another excellent sauce; followed by banana fritters. Jackie drank Singha beer and I chose Kingfisher.