The Woman In White

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Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose GardenMargery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

I Felt More Than Somewhat Queasy

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Today I continued the scanning of colour negatives made in Cumbria on 18th August 1992, and last mentioned in ‘Welcome To The World’.

Boats on lake 18.8.92

 We visited a popular boating lake,

on which Jessica rowed our friend Alison Barran.

I have occasionally mentioned my fear of heights. This is described in particular in ‘Vertigo’.

Jessica never gave up trying to get me up mountains. Place Fell, which we scaled on the day in question was a case in point.

A sparkling waterfall fairly near the bottom was not too scary. I could have settled for that.

Granite boulder on Place Fell 18.8.92

The cleft in this granite boulder was an example of the rugged nature of the terrain.

Others littered the sloping hillsides on which hikers had trodden a clear path along which Jessica fearlessly strode,

eventually reaching the summit. In order to avoid any misunderstanding I am honour bound to state that

Jessica on Place Fell 18.8.92 7

I may just about have managed to stand at a high point to depict her gazing across the lumpy terrain,

Jessica on Place Fell summit. 18.8.92

but there was no way it would have been perched alongside this marker cairn.

Indeed I felt more than somewhat queasy enough when taking some of these shots on the way up. Note the sheep in the second picture.

Unfortunately most of the compositions did not lend themselves to cropping out the unsightly date stamp.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s Post House Pie served with carrots, green beans, and cauliflower.  Dessert was lemon Swiss roll and vanilla ice cream. I finished the Bordeaux.

Caught In The Rain

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Forest road

Landscape with bracken and dead tree

This morning we took a drive into the forest.

It was not long before the first of the day’s many  showers set the burnished bracken sparkling.

Landscape with partial rainbowLandscape with partial rainbow

We were even treated to a partial rainbow forcing its way through the indigo clouds.

House in valley

Deep in the valley a string of walkers passed a solitary house,

Smoke in the distance

while far off, optimistic smoke curled upwards to merge into the ether.

A grazing pony fixed me with a quizzical stare, then continued with the business in hand,

until, sensing the precipitation that was about to send me back to the car, it wandered off and crossed a path to take shelter under a tree.

Walkers on moor

It was then that I heard voices floating across the bracken.

Walkers on moor

They belonged to another group of walkers upon whom the rainbow had cast all the colours of the spectrum.

The rain really hammered on the car as we drove back though the forest passing walkers and cyclists also caught in it.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, potatoes and parsnip; crunchy carrots, cabbage and runner beans; divine gravy, and mint sauce; followed by bread and butter pudding souffle. I drank Almocreve Alentejano reserva 2014.

 

 

Find The Moth

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Today was overcast and unseasonably hot and humid. I cut the grass and had a wander around the garden. Many of our plants linger on, refusing to accept the advent of autumn.

Clematis

We still have blooming clematises.

Heligan Path

Although the leaves of the weeping birch are beginning to colour the Heligan Path,the beds bordering it remain colourful.

Rudbeckia

The new rudbeckias stand in a tub as they are having to await the demise of the nicotiana sylvestris which they are intended to replace.

Begonia

We have white begonias.

Bee on sedum 1

Bees continue to plunder the sedums into which they merge;

Moth camouflaged

but the prize for camouflage goes to this moth posing as a dying begonia leaf.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s powerful chilli con carne with rice and peas, followed by Victoria sponge and lemon meringue pie ice cream. I drank Croix des Célestins Fleurie 2014, and the Culinary Queen didn’t.

 

Rain Stops Planting

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It was Jackie who was up with the dawn this morning.

Frost and cherry blossom

She was struck by the frost on the Modus whilst the cherry was blooming, as the early sun lit the field behind the oak-lined hedge.

Frost on bench

The Castle Bench also had its share of white coating, although the sun had not yet reached the back.

Ladybird on euphorbia

By the time we drove off to buy 15 more packs of compost from Lidl, a ladybird (or ladybug if you are across The Pond) had been coaxed out to bask on euphorbia.

Palm Bed

We dug three bags of the compost into another section of the Palm Bed, and, until driven in by needle-sharp chilled rain, began inserting plants Jackie bought yesterday.

These evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious steak pie, new potatoes, and crunchy carrots, cabbage and cauliflower. She drank Blanche de Namur and I drank Axis Margaret River cabernet sauvignon 2014.

A Pot Of Dragons

Following a request from Paul, I made two more prints for the exhibition today.

 

Shady Path 2

This A4 of the shady path on 20th October last year was another I had forgotten,

Chair and bed head

and we now have an additional A3 copy of the Weeping Birch Bed from 12th March that same year.

Before the welcome rain set in early this afternoon, Jackie planted many flowers, back and front; and we jointly filled and transported to the dump four more large bags of hedge cuttings.

Dragons in pot

As is her wont, The Head Gardener did not take home an empty car. On our first trip we returned with a hoe, a plant pot rack, and a large plant pot which she filled with a collection of dragons and lotus flowers. Well, they are made of metal, and we do have a Dragon Bed. On our way back from the last trip we bought tw more bags of compost from Otter Nurseries.

Jackie folded a few more flyers for me to distribute locally.

plate

So important is colour in curry that I have often marvelled at those clinging to my empty plate after eating one of Jackie’s authentic meals like tonight’s lamb jalfrezi served with vegetable samosas, chick pea dhal, pilau rice, and parathas. With this wonderful meal Jackie drank Kingfisher, and I finished the madiran. Cremes brûlées were to follow.