A Soporific Afternoon

In the vicious postprandial heat I ventured on a garden hunt for butterflies and bees, which had been more present earlier in the day when we were clearing clippings and bagging them up for disposal.

Only two Peacocks and one bee settled in view during the half hour in which I was prepared to stick it out.

This afternoon we drove to Helen and Bill’s home at Fordingbridge to deliver a birthday present for our brother-in-law. He appeared to be asleep and Helen was out, so we left it in the porch.

We returned home via the forest.

Outside The Fighting Cocks at Godshill a group of ponies queued for a drink until

one became frisky and was rebuffed, while

another joined those waiting for a bus opposite.

Two walkers with a dog passed ponies on the green at Hale.

We followed another little and large pair on Tethering Drove, until they entered Broughton Gorse and led me to other equines in the adjacent landscape, one of which had succumbed to sleep,

as had two of our regular friends the Gloucester Old Spots slumbering at the Cadnam end of Roger Penny Way.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, peas, and pickled cucumbers and onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Banks’s Amber Bitter.

Far Too Busy To Chat


Aaron, Jackie, and I continued tidying up the garden this morning.

Daffodils still glow all over;


the new generation of honesty crops up everywhere;

Anemone albas

and the Anemone albas are spreading nicely in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Frogs and Jattie's sculpture

Jackie has weeded around and cleaned the little cistern pond, thus revealing the frogs and Jattie’s sculpture.

Snake's head fritillary

The lamp glowing in the sunlight is one of the snake’s head fritillaries Jackie has added to those already shining in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Peacock butterfly on gravel

A peacock butterfly tried in vain to look invisible on the gravel of the Heligan Path which joins

Brick Path

the south end of the Brick Path.

Bee on pulmonaria 1

Bees continue to plunder the pulmonaria.

Collared dove

I had a fairly lengthy conversation with a young collared dove taking advantage of Aaron’s fencing.

Wood pigeon with nesting material

Wood pigeons

Sparrow with nesting material

and sparrows were far too busy gathering nesting material to chat.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and special fried rice; followed by apple pie and custard.. She drank sparkling water and I drank Cimarosa limited edition Shiraz 2014.

Tom Daley


Jackie continued her creative miracles on the various beds. I rendered sporadic assistance in dead-heading, weeding, clearing up, and humping bags of compost.

Head Gardener's Walk

Here are current views of The Head Gardener’s Walk

Shady Path

and The Gazebo Path, looking across Margery’s bed in which her hollyhocks are now in bloom.

Petunias in hanging basket

Petunias in hanging baskets are ubiquitous,

Lilies 1Lilies 2New Bed

as are lilies of many different kinds in various beds. Currently they share The New Bed with dahlias and clematises.

Rose Garden

In the Rose Garden, before I’d finished dead-heading, the pink carpet rose was laid out before Love Knot, poppies, and petunias;

For Your Eyes Only

and For Your Eyes Only caught the sun.

Particularly in the morning, falling petals are suspended from spidery filaments. Spinning in the breeze some,

Fuchsia on web-string

like this fuchsia, have the appearance of Tom Daley taking off,

Honeysuckle (rocket)

or, such as this honeysuckle, shuttles aiming for space stations.

In case anyone needs to know this is what Wikipedia has to say about Tom Daley:

‘Thomas Robert “Tom” Daley (born 21 May 1994)[2] is a British diver and television personality. Daley specialises in the 10 metre platform event and was the 2009 FINA World Champion in the individual event at the age of 15. He started diving at the age of seven and is a member of Plymouth Diving Club. He has made an impact in national and international competitions from age 9. He represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics where he was Britain’s youngest competitor, the youngest competitor of any nationality outside the sport of swimming, and the youngest to participate in a final.[5] In 2009, Daley reached a career best ranking of number one in the FINA World Diving Rankings for the ten-metre platform.[6]

He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in the 10 metre synchro diving (with Max Brick) and the 10 m Individual Platform competition,[7] and won the bronze medal for Great Britain in the individual competition at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.[8]

After his success at the 2012 Olympic Games and a summer of great sporting interest amongst the public in the UK, television network ITV approached Daley to have a role in their new celebrity diving reality TV show Splash!. Daley made his debut in the show’s premiere on 5 January 2013 as a mentor to the celebrity competitors taking part.[9]

With the increasing warmth, the butterflies are back.

Peacock butterfly on hebe

Here a Peacock performs its trapeze routine on a hebe.

Ronan, from Tom Sutton, came to fix our boiler which has stopped working. Unfortunately there were several issues, one being a faulty control box which he will have to obtain tomorrow. We won’t stink, because we have an immersion heater in the shower.

Tonight we dined on Jackie’s wholesome heart casserole, creamy mashed potato, and crunchy carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I made a start on the excellent Brancott Estate merlot/cabernet sauvignon 2014 given to me for my birthday by Shelly and Ron.

More Printing

This morning I filled two more cuttings bags, and this afternoon we took them to the dump. This time, the Head Gardener only liberated a trio of terra cotta containers from a wine rack.

I spent much of the day printing and exchanging e-mails with Paul about the exhibition. The final batch of 50 completed my tally of 250 flyers.

Paul Clarke has put as much meticulous effort and skill into the hanging and display of the exhibition at The First Gallery as he did with the design of the flyers. He has made quite specific size suggestions for prints with which to adorn the walls, ranging from A2 to A6. As I Can only go to A3+ on my printer, I will need to investigate the cost of commercial printing for the one A2.

Here are some of the offerings I have sent:

Poppy and maple

This was the view through the red Japanese maple on 21st April 2014.

Fly in gladiolus

I made a very small crop of this gladiolus in order to position the burrowing fly;

Fly in colchicum

on 14th September 2014, just a week before that one, another alighted on a colchicum.

bee on eryngium planum

Two days later this bee settled on an eryngium planum;

Bee on libertia

another made for this libertia on 18th May last year.

Snowdrops and hellebores in garden

On 25th February 2015 snowdrops were in abundance.

Peacock butterfly & shadow

This Red Admiral butterfly cast an intriguing shadow on 21st November 2013.


Finally, here is a tulip from 14th April 2015.

For this evening’s dinner Jackie produced perfectly baked ham, moist ratatouille, creamy mashed potato, and crisp brussels sprouts; followed by sticky toffee and ginger pudding and custard. I drank Louis Virion Costiers de Nimes 2014, and the Cook drank lemon squash.

A Cricket Lesson

So many readers of yesterday’s post have expressed horror, disbelief, or dismay, that I may have missed the most incredibly dramatic first day of a Test  Match that the world has ever seen, or is ever likely to, that I have to say that I did watch the highlights on Channel 5 + 1, after I had published my offering. At Trent Bridge, his home county ground, Stuart Broad, watched by his father, Chris, a former England opening batsman, took eight wickets for fifteen runs as Australia were dismissed for 60 in less than two hours. Despite the loss of three early wickets, the home side replied with 274 for 4. Those unfamiliar with our national game may find this brief description of how it works. The epitome of the sport is a series of international Test Matches, each lasting five days. This no doubt stems from the idea that there are many battles in a war, and it is the final outcome that counts. First you must win a five day match, then you must win more than half the total of those in the series; always 5 between England and Australia. The current match is the fourth in the series. The tally is 2-1 to England. In each game each team of eleven players may bat twice. Each attempt with the bat is called an innings. The toss of a coin determines who bats and who bowls first. The batting side aim to score as many runs as possible; the bowlers intent is to take ten wickets (dismiss ten batsmen) as cheaply as possible. The opening innings in a match is usually a cat and mouse period, with the batsmen hoping to carry on to the next day and total 400 or more. It becomes apparent that to be all out (dismissed) on the first morning, and finish the day 214 behind, still needing to take six more wickets, before being set the unenviable task of overtaking whatever the ultimate lead was to be in order to set a reasonable target for England was an unmitigated disaster for the Aussies. This morning England advanced to 391 for 9 declared. This means that they closed their innings with one wicket left. Australia replied with 241 for 7. The match will finish in England’s favour tomorrow, probably without their having to bat a second time. Peacock on buddleia Unfortunately, I spent most of the day trying unsuccessfully to sleep off a bad headache, so all I can offer readers less than fascinated by cricket is a photograph of a Peacock butterfly on the buddleia bush, taken when I could face the sunshine. I dined on a vegetarian salad sandwich and sparkling water.

Clipped Wings

Continuing with the card-making process, I began by trying to understand why, when printing through iPhoto on the computer, pictures were being cropped in a frustratingly restrictive way.  In many instances this did not matter much, but when it came to a butterfly having its wings clipped this was intolerable.  So I got up this morning determined to crack the problem.

Essentially what was happening was that the iPhoto customising facility offered specific frame sizes and sliced the pictures to fit.  It is a while since I used my Canon Pro900 printer to any great degree, but I seemed to remember this not being the case with that piece of equipment in the past.  So what was happening?

It occurred to me that I was not seeing the usual box on the screen showing alternatives that come with the printer.  This offered me much more flexibility.  iPhoto must therefore be overriding it.  It is, of course possible that I have not fully understood the capabilities of the Mac.  Nevertheless, I had to find a way round this.

Peacock butterfly card

I thought I would work outside iPhoto.  How could I do that?  Then I had a brilliant idea. I would drag the pictures onto the desktop, open them up in preview, and print from there.  And what do you know?  It worked.  This had the additional bonus of the printer’s options for producing multiple copies of the same photograph on one sheet of paper.  Instead of having to find two different pictures that would conveniently fit together, I could now fit up to four samples of one image on the sheet.  I was able to rescue the poor Peacock, and to offer unpruned Clematis.Clematis card (long)

I had not used the butterfly at all, because the clipping would have ruined it.  The Clematis, however, had worked to some extent as a squarer image than the elongated one I had wanted. Clematis card (square) I was now able to use both.

Now, I am sure there are those of you out there who would have managed this in a much easier way, but please remember I am a septuagenarian, and when I was your age, before space travel brought the computer into its journey to the palms of your hands, we made do with film and chemicals.  And time.

Swan taking off card

The swan taking off is an example of the inventive creativity my able assistant brings to her part in the process.  Swan taking off inside cardNot having been able to decide the size of this print that would work, I produced two, one really rather too small.  Jackie decided to place the smaller version inside the card to echo the larger image on the front. This also involved considerable trimming so that the whole concept made sense.  Once having hit on this idea there was no stopping her.  Bits snipped off pictures began to turn up in all sorts of places, inside, on the back, to the left, to the right, in the centre.  Here a swan, there a swan, everywhere a swan.  When writing my inscriptions on the back I even missed some.

Despite her antipathy towards photographic cards, believing that such artwork should be drawn or painted, Jackie was heard on occasion to punctuate her work with such phrases as; ‘I could buy that one’.  It made me feel I must be doing something right.

We spent all day in the ‘factory’.  Today’s tally of products placed in the plastic wallets was fifty three.  That makes 153 in all.  Jackie thought that should have sufficed, but I found some more photographic paper that just had to be used up.  More were consequently printed.  The tally will be recorded tomorrow.                  .

Jackie still cooked a delicious hot arabbiata which I enjoyed with Lusac St Emilion 2011, and she with her customary Hoegaarden.  Before this I learned what it is like to water 83 pots so full of flowers that you cannot see the containers.  I just helped.  I didn’t fill the whole eighty three.

No Peeking

Chris and Frances still being at The Firs this morning, we dropped in for a visit, just as they and Elizabeth were leaving the house for a visit to Chesapeake Mill. They all did an about turn, phoned Jacqueline who was at Mum’s, and very soon a Firs gathering was arranged.  Jackie saw this as an opportunity.  Seated on her garden bench, dangling legs working backwards and forwards as if getting a swing going, grin on her face, and excited tone in her voice, ‘can I go shopping?’, she cried, ‘can I?  Can I?’

Off she went on one of her favourite activities.  It was only fair that it turned out like this, because on the way to Elizabeth’s we had been to Sainsbury’s to obtain cash from the machine and to put bottles in the bank.  Isn’t it strange how things have changed from the days when a bank was a bank and a shop was a shop?  It had required some willpower for my lady to resist entering the aisles on that occasion.

While she was doing this I wandered around the garden without any need to be working on it.  Naturally the forthcoming Open Studio was one of the topics of conversation.  Elizabeth has taken a number of very imaginative photographs juxtaposing flowers and parts of instruments.  Day lilySome of the best of these feature day lilies and the body of a guitar.  Unfortunately, when taking these, she had inadvertently turned the date stamp facility on, which meant the dates appeared in a crucial corner of the pictures.  Those who didn’t realise that, surprisingly, it is not yet possible to work absolute miracles with software suggested she should edit out the figures that sit across the grain of the guitar wood.  Even if she were that skilled it would take far more time than she has available.  Yesterday there were no lilies left, so she thought she could not repeat the exercise.  Today there were a number of blooms flourishing, so she will now be able to.

Peacock butterfly on buddleia

In the scented bed that I created last year, a peacock butterfly demonstrated just why the buddleia is know as the butterfly bush.

Salad meal (Mum)

Jackie returned laden, and we all sat down around the kitchen table and watched her, Elizabeth, and Danni fill it with goodies.  Then we tucked into a vast array of food.  A bottle of Roc des Chevaliers reserve bordeaux 2011 was also shared.

Unsurprisingly, Danni was rather tired.  Last night’s performance of ‘Fame’, the second of the evening, was the last of the run, and a certain amount of celebration took place afterwards. Danni She attempted to settle herself on her sun lounger in the garden, but received quite a number of, no doubt congratulatory, phone calls.

Early this evening we went on a house window-shopping drive, taking in properties in Ringwood, Hightown, and Matchams.  The last of these was by no means the least. North Lodge It is a beautiful lodge house in an idyllic setting, somewhat isolated, yet exposed to significant traffic noise.  A gravelled path alongside it leads to an extremely high solidly gated fence, sporting a board announcing the BDOC.  Wondering what the Bournemouth & District Outdoor Club might be, we looked it up after supper.  It is a naturist organisation which has ensured there could be no peeking unless you happened to be about ten feet tall; have x-ray eyes; or invest in a pair of stilts.  North Lodge is probably beyond our means.

I hadn’t expected to eat again after that lunch.  However, our trip made us peckish and Jackie knocked up fried eggs, bacon and mushrooms, and baked beans.  That answered our stomach’s call.