car wheels sending up spray from the puddle in the gutter to the front of the house,
or pools forming on the garden paths, this was not a day to venture outside. The alliums on the Brick Path are some uprooted by the Head Gardener who wages an annual war against these invasive bulbs.
Rain streamed down the windows, brightened only by Pauline’s welcome lightcatcher.
I was granted one brief easing of precipitation during which to nip out and catch raindrops on bedraggled pansies, shy tulips, damp hellebores, and glistening amanogawa buds.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb steak and mushroom pie; roast potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; firm Brussels sprouts; and rich gravy. Jackie and Becky drank Blossom Hill Pale Rosé, I drank Des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016, and Ian drank Cobra.
Today was milder and wetter. Last autumn, Jackie had planted up a pair of tubs for Mum’s garden. Now the intended recipient occupies a care home, one of these graces the garden of her empty bungalow. The other stands in front of the trellis adorning our garage door.
We took a short trip to the East of the forest, where, at East End the stunning golden mimosa tree is in full bloom;
a pigeon looks down on it from a nearby naked oak.
The corner of St Leonard’s Road and the road to East Boldre is as waterlogged as always once we have experienced considerable rainfall. Water overflows onto the road and vehicles spray as they pass.
At East Boldre a chestnut pony, ankle-deep in another pool, slakes its thirst. Today it can be said that there was water, water, everywhere, and always a drop to drink.
This evening we dined on tangy lemon chicken; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and tender peas.
Stormy weather and a heavy cold have kept me indoors for the last week. Today the wind has dropped to 20 m.p.h. and the sun has shone. I therefore took a walk in the garden. Jackie now has the cold and is currently housebound.
Our winter flowering cherry remains bright against the blue sky above.
The copper beech and the weeping birch still display their skeletal frames;
pruned roses are biding their time to burst forth in bloom.
Golden forsythia glows beside the patio.
Whichever way you look at them, the old cart wheels and the gazebo arches have designs on the gravel path,
visible beyond this end of the Phantom Path.
Camellias still bloom and bud throughout the shrubberies.
Daffodils still abound. Those in the patio are accompanied by tulips, pansies, and violas.
Primulas, bergenias, hellebores, cyclamens, comfrey, alliums, grape hyacinths, and pulmonaria all await discovery in the beds.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese served with rashers of bacon, followed by lemon Bakewell tarts.
Although it wasn’t to last long, we awoke to our first proper frost of the season
Jackie photographed the panoramic views from the dressing room and from the garden bedroom upstairs.
She then toured the garden and brought back this gallery of images. As usual titles are given on accessing the gallery with a click on any of the pictures. The sun soon brought the temperature up and each one of the wilted plants on display had returned to its full glory by midday.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendidly matured succulent sausage casserole; creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender curly kale; and red cabbage imbued with the piquancy of vinegar and soy sauce.
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.
Last night I watched a recording of Saturday’s breathtaking rugby match between Wales and South Africa; after lunch today the soporific contest between Scotland and Argentina.
Bright sunshine had taken me into the rather cold garden this morning.
Winter pansies and trailing ivy adorn hanging baskets on the sitting room walls.
and Japanese maples brighten several vistas.
Surprises include lingering snapdragons
and nascent honeysuckle.
Ubiquitous flamboyant fuchsias continue to flounce among the beds.
Clematises needing warmer weather have died back from the gazebo, but the Cirrhosa Freckles will enliven their support right through until spring.
Carpet roses, like this one in the Weeping Birch Bed, pile on the blooms.
Serpentine stemmed bobbles of Japanese anemones cavort before a spider web in the Rose Garden.
A few crinkly leaves are still to fall from the copper beach;
the Weeping Birch has shed all hers.
Being possessed of our one joint good knee, it fell upon Jackie to fit a new toilet seat in the print room.
This evening we dined on Jackies’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice followed by profiteroles. My wife drank Hoegaarden; sister Elizabeth drank Hop House lager; and I drank Tesco’s finest Médoc 2016.
This afternoon Jackie drove me to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea to collect a repeat prescription, and then on to Ringwood to buy printer inks from Wessex Photo.
On the way we passed Old Milton’s Chaucombe Green, which is becoming something of a memorial ground.
One of the ‘Lest We Forget’ outlined soldiers, sponsored by Councillor Geoff Beck, stands among autumn leaves fronting a bed planted with winter pansies.
A Flanders poppy decorates a lamppost beside the bordering pavement.
In ‘120 Animal Casualties’ I reported on the tally towards the end of last year posted on Roger Penny Way. I had been under the impression that this was the number of deaths.
Graphic standing silhouettes of those killed total 56. It would appear that the others were injured. As can be seen, no group of those animals who have the right of way on forest roads, went unscathed.
As I am trying to get my head around the new editing facility I cannot tell whether it will be possible for viewers to enlarge these images. I am therefore copying out the text of the Brief History of Milton Village.
‘The manor of Milton (‘Mildeltune’) is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 and literally means ‘Middle Farm’. It was part of the lands belonging to Hugh de Port, and the estate was held for him by William Chernet. The Chernet family maintained possession of Milton into the 13th century, although lesser families were managing the estate on their behalf. The most important of these were the Chaucombe (or Chalcombe) family, who were probably the first people to build a church in Milton in the mid 13th century. In 1303 Thomas de Chaucombe was given permission to hold a weekly market on Tuesdays at Milton, as well as an annual fair on the feast day of Mary Magdalene. From 1365 to 1565, the manor was in the possession of the Tyrrell family. The manor passed through various hands in subsequent centuries. The last significant owners were the Bursey family in the 19th century, and in the 1890s the remaining lands of the estate were subdivided and sold.’
I’m sure one or more of my blogging friends will let me know if this has been an unnecessary effort.
The market mentioned above continues to this day, although at some stage it has moved to Wednesday.
This evening we dined on breaded chicken steaks from Tesco, which Jackie spiced up with very hot ratatouille, served with crisp sautéed potatoes and tender green beans. I finished the Merlot.