Dripping Rain

As, this morning, a skein of geese honked through clouds leaking liquid streams slithering down our roof tiles and window panes, I was reminded of goose dripping, spread on toast when we were small, and consequently of goose fat.

By lunchtime tentative notes of tweeting songbirds intermittently emerging from the shelter of glistening arboreal foliage merged with the trickling tinkle of plant-pattering precipitation, while sunlight penetrated lingering pearls bejewelling

a proliferation of pelargoniums

varieties of fuchsia;

Absolutely Fabulous roses;

snowy white snapdragons;

long-lasting hollyhocks;

and sky-bound rose hips I fortunately couldn’t reach to dead-head.

This evening we dined on oven cod and chips, garden peas, wallies, and pickled onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the merlot. Dillon and Flo ate later.

Presenting The Albums

It is almost two months since last we saw a puddle in the gutter alongside our front drive.

After fairly steady rain for most of the morning one built up for a brief appearance (by midday it had drained away). Jackie just had to photograph

it with its raindrop rings; a lesser pool on the patio; further fountain ripples;

more precipitation on pelargoniums, petunias, begonias, hollyhocks and Hagley hybrid clematis.

I, in the meantime finished reading V. S. Naipaul’s ‘A Way in the World’ and, after lunch, posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/08/16/a-way-in-the-world/

This afternoon, dropping Flo and Dillon off in Lymington, we met Karen and Barry at the Community Centre where we handed them

their completed wedding albums. Jackie took these photographs.

Our friends gave us a thank you card bearing a fond message and a splendid picture someone else had produced of the confetti moment; with tokens for afternoon tea at Rosie Lea, which has become one of our favourite venues.

As we made our farewells Flo and Dillon rejoined us and we did some shopping in the town before returning home.

This evening we dined on a variety of flavoursome sausages; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; cabbage fried with leaks, and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I finished the Bordeaux, and Flo and Dillon drank Ribena.

A Mis-sold Cousin

Among this morning’s reminiscences is the tale of the mis-sold cousin. Becky told us about the announcement that she had a new cousin who was a girl. This was Alex, a few years younger. Our daughter was very young herself, but old enough to look forward to having someone new to play with, because she was surrounded by boys in the form of her brother Mathew and various other cousins.

When introduced to the two week old baby, Becky was so disappointed and remembers thinking “what can I do with that?”. Today she expressed the humorous view that this was a case of mis-sold goods.

After a tour of the garden on another drizzly day, Becky and Ian returned home this afternoon. These images include dahlias; a deep red gladiolus; three different views of the Pond Bed; hanging basket petunias alongside Japanese anemones; hanging basket lobelias, bidens, and petunias beside double lilies; hibiscus; roses; white sweet peas; mostly white planting on Dead End Path; yellow and orange crocosmias; raindrops on calibrachia and pelargoniums; and, finally, another lily.

Later, I published https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/21/a-knights-tale-20-no-mod-cons/

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender chopped cauliflower leaves, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and Tess and I drank Papa Figos Douro 2019 which she had brought with her.

“I’m Going Shopping”

Determined to comply with our current Covid constraints Danni and Ella, to be joined by Elizabeth, for whom entry to the house was forbidden, were on their way for a tour of the garden when

a very heavy downpour dumped a damper on the proceedings. Raindrops dripped from solanums, crab apples, weeping birch, and pelargoniums. Even Absolutely Fabulous hung her bedraggled golden locks.

Fortunately the rain had ceased by the time they arrived. Ella made directly for the house in search of her favourite mice and other toys. Danni made an effort to explain restrictions and her daughter

diverted in search of monsters. She had to emit the roars herself.

Jackie led her to the dragons, but she became more engrossed in the unicorn and the Waterboy.

When Elizabeth arrived, her granddaughter introduced her to me.

Jackie had placed dry cushions on the benches on which Danni, Ella, and Elizabeth sat while opening one of our presents to our great niece. Like any other self-respecting child not yet two, Ella handed the enclosed parcel to her grandmother, and set off with the bag announcing “I’m going shopping”, leaving her mother to admire the Sloth Christmas jumper.

The sound of the horn on our coffee trolley alerted us to the fact that Ella had escaped into the house and was now repeatedly striking the reception bell with the flat of her hand. We enjoyed a reasonably intelligible conversation and she turned her attention to the toys strewn about the sitting room.

The sun made feeble attempts to throw light on the proceedings before it was time for

little tarts and departure.

Becky joined us for the weekend. The three of us dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and our daughter and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

On The Brink Of December

On a bright and sunny morning I wandered round the garden in my shirtsleeves.

Individual titles of these views can be found when accessing the gallery with a click on any image. The last two pictures show a Japanese maple before and after it had been pruned by Aaron and his A.P. Maintenance team who also

tidied up some of the beds.

Even a sleepy bee on a cobea scandens didn’t seem to realise that we are on the brink of December.

‘So enchanting was the vision of a stateless society, without government, without law, without ownership of property, in which, corrupt institutions having been swept away, man would be free to be good as God intended him, that six heads of state were assassinated for its sake in the twenty years before 1914. They were President Carnot of France in 1894, President Canovas of Spain in 1897, Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1898, King Humbert of Italy in 1900, President McKinley of the United States in 1901, and another Premier of Spain, Canalejas, in 1912. Not one could qualify as a tyrant. Their deaths were the gestures of desperate or deluded men to call attention to the Anarchist idea.’ So begins the second chapter of my Folio Society edition of Barbara W. Tuchman’s ‘The Proud Tower’, namely The Idea and the Deed – The Anarchists: 1890-1914′.

This chapter deals with the Anarchism that swept Europe during this period leading to WWI – the theory of the intellectuals and the actions of those prepared to carry out ‘The Deed’ with which it was hoped the populace would be terrified into changing the orders of society. As always in such events, more ordinary people were killed than those for whom bombs or bullets were intended. Interestingly, it seems that Germany, who used the terror tactics espoused by their military theorists to suppress the Belgian people in August 1914, was the major European country least affected by the Anarchists.

Tuchman’s descriptions of the avowed terrorism bears alarming similarity to that technique practiced today. Unfortunately modern bombs are far more destructive than those that were available more than a century ago. Perpetrators are prepared now, as they were then, to sacrifice their own lives for their espoused cause.

The fluid writing in this work is far more literary than that permitted by the requirements of ‘The Guns of August’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent shepherd’s pie; a leak and pork sausage; roast potatoes; moist ratatouille; and firm cauliflower, carrots and Brussels sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Coonawarra.

Raindrops Inside And Out

Recent heavy rains have opened another leak in the roof of our kitchen extension.

Jackie made these photographs of the kitchen floor, then

of what we think is the faulty lead flashing.

While she was at the upstairs windows

she then produced aerial shots of the soggy garden, after which

during a lull in the rain I toured the paths in search of raindrops on fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, begonias, pelargoniums, rose campion, various roses, chrysanthemums, Edinburgh dahlia, Rosa Glauca hips, and fallen beech leaves.

For dinner this evening we finished Jackie’s choice chicken and leek pie with crisp roast potatoes; al dente carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and most flavoursome gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montpeyroux.

Still Going Strong

This morning I cut the grass and produced a few photographs.

Individual titles appear on the galleries.

This afternoon I almost finished reading Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley which I will feature tomorrow.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of sag bhaji and mild prawn curry starter from Forest Tandoori followed by the main event in the form of Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

No Longer In The Shade

Once again we struggled in unaccustomed heat to thin out the rampant wisteria, and compost and bag up the clippings.

Jackie did most of the pruning and photographed the process before

and after her efforts.

As she said, she was no longer working in the shade.

Although the bulk of the composting and bagging fell to me,

the Head Gardener put in a chopping stint after lunch, when

we made more progress.

Fortunately we have secured a cancellation spot at the dump on 22nd.

The evening light as, in T-shirt temperature, we took our pre-dinner drinks on the patio, fell on

two socially distanced wood pigeons perched on the lopped cypress on the far side of the garden.

One flew of; the other remained unperturbed.

It was good to see that potted petunias and pelargoniums and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah.had perked up after recent watering.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away second sitting with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alma Da Vinha Douro Doc 2018.

Spotlights

General garden maintenance this morning included Jackie’s replanting of the

Iron Urn consisting of pansies underplanted with purple tulips, having replaced the root-bound soil; and much more clipping, chopping, and bagging of wayward shrubs.

The winter pansies now blend well with the pale purple colchicums or autumn crocuses, phlox, and Japanese anemones while contrasting with Puerto Rico dahlias.

Pelargoniums and lobelias hang happily over the Pond Bed with its Japanese maples, neighbours to

red and white dahlias.

Japanese anemones,

many attracting hoverflies. continue to proliferate.

The hoverflies enjoy other flowers such as this rain-freckled pale pink rose; you will probably need to access the gallery and bigify the ginger lily to spot its fly, but perhaps not the bluebottle on the tiny diascia.

Numerous happy plantings like pelargoniums and sweet peas; eucalyptus with suspended petunias and cascading bidens; and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah with more pelargoniums continue to produce.

Further fuchsias include the red and purple Mrs Popple and the delicate white Hawkshead;

most petunias also hang from baskets.

Yellow antirrhinums have bloomed non-stop since early spring; many sweet peas persist; pieris produces red leaves.

The sun spotlights mossy stones at the edge of the Gazebo Path.

We now have so many full garden refuse bags that Jackie tried to book the one permitted half hour slot at the recycling centre. This, of course, can only be done on line. There are none available for the rest of the month; more distant appointments will be ‘posted soon’.

Later in the afternoon we carried out extensive watering.

Unfortunately I submitted yesterday’s post without realising that I had omitted the virgin beef pie picture, with the result that those who viewed it first will not have seen the complete rudbeckia bas relief. That has now been rectified by the inclusion of the original, and here is an image of today’s second serving. We have consumed the stem and most of the leaves, and despite the small shark emerging from the right of the crust, no marine animals were harmed in the making of this production.

With this delicious pie we enjoyed boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and, cauliflower, tender green beans, and tasty gravy; Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I started on another bottle of the Bordeaux.

Do Not Climb

This morning, while the Head Gardener continued her autumn clearances, I followed in her wake, collecting, chopping, and composting clippings. The exercise was most delightful when focussed on the Pond Bed, savouring the liquorice flavour released from the statuesque bronze fennel and listening to the tinkling trickle of the water feature. Small birds are beginning to tweet again; pigeons continually exchange melodic love-notes; a biplane droned overhead. Tramping over crunching gravel on the back drive was less harmonious.

The bronze fennel is a very prolific self-seeder, so after lunch I cut down and composted much more of it. The pelargoniums in the second picture are in a hanging basket, which is why they stand above the much taller plant. The bed still contains

other pelargoniums, dahlias, and chrysanthemums.

Nearby, in the Wisteria Bed, these pink roses are blooming again.

Keeping with the pink, we have fuchsias Display and Garden News.

Super Elfin, red, Penny Lane, white roses, and clematis Dr Ruppel still scale the Gothic arch.

Fortunately these everlasting sweet peas are almost finished for this year, because many of the stems were bound to the fennel I removed from the Weeping Birch Bed.

More dahlias thrive in the New Bed.

It is now the larger Cabbage White butterflies that have taken the place of the Small Whites on the verbena bonariensis.

Paul Clarke dropped in for a pleasant chat and to return borrowed books while driving a sleeping Margery back from Bournemouth this afternoon.

Later, we took a drive into the forest, where Jackie visited Hockey’s Farm Shop, while

I photographed an old farm cart that isn’t going anywhere.

The stream at Ogdens North is now dry enough for me to step across quite easily. The pony in the last two of these pictures was so keen to make my acquaintance that I had to back away sharply to photograph the persistent creature which abandoned my face for he sparse grass underfoot.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon casserole; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; with tender runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Calvet Prestige Bordeaux 2018.