The End Of The Roll

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We were promised sunshine and showers today. In the end the rain dominated. Consequently I was unable to cut the grass. There was nothing for it but, with the sun on my back when it did put in an appearance, while being dripped on by the trees, to take advantage of the light to photograph raindrops; then hit the massive ironing pile.

Gazebo path

The Chilean lantern bush is on the left of the Gazebo Path, and the yellow bottle brush one to the right. The eucalyptus is in flower.

Raindrops on Bottle Brush Plant

The bottle brushes were well washed;

Raindrops on rhododendron

Heligan Path BenchView from Brick Path across the lawn

as was the rhododendron that has bloomed in the Phantom Bed since these views from the Heligan Path and the Brick Path were last featured.

Raindrops on sweet peas

These sweet peas are now adorning the arch to our right.

Raindrops on peony

Peonies heads are too heavy to be raised

Cordyline Australis

in the Palm Bed, so named for the cordyline Australis.

Elizabeth's Bed

From the Oval Path to the right can be seen Elizabeth’s bed with its bright pink hydrangea;

Rose Garden

and straight ahead through to the Rose Garden, where

Riandrops on Mum in a Million

Mum in a Million

Raindrops on Margaret Merril

and Margaret Merrill have both washed their faces.

Raindrops on Day Lily

This day lily in Margery’s Bed has just had a shower.

Kitchen Bed View

Between shirts I nipped out to photograph this view across the Kitchen Bed from the Patio.

This afternoon I scanned the last few frames on the Devon September 1983 holiday roll of colour negative film featured yesterday, when Mary observed that an image of Jessica and Louisa warranted a close up. This is the next shot in which I have

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1

first cropped the background,

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1 Crop

then brought the subjects into close-up.

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 2

Once released, Louisa was quite clear where she wanted to go,

Louisa 9.83 1

but not quite so confident when negotiating the terrain,

Sam 9.83

which hadn’t fazed Sam at all.

Jessica 9.83

Here is Jessica shortly before we left.

Louisa 9.83 2Louisa 9.83 3

Back home, our daughter adopted the usual exhausted mode.

Jackie having returned from her three days away, we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled onions and gherkins, followed by Dorset Apple Cake brought back from Tolpuddle. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

Various Stages Of Life

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The experts on the antiques programme Bargain Hunt, which we generally watch at lunchtime, tell us that silver items should not be polished, for that activity eventually obliterates the hallmarks. Many antique book dealers also believe that uncut book pages should be left in their pristine condition because taking a knife to them reduces their value.

This poses the question whether treasures are to be preserved in figurative amber and never used, or to be enjoyed for what they are

Count Morin, Deputy 1

I had no qualms about taking a sharp kitchen knife to the pages of

Count Morin, Deputy cover

a delightfully told political fable.

It is always interesting to speculate on who has read an old book, or indeed whether it has been read at all. In the old days when books were still well made to last, the pages were often joined at the edges and required cutting, as indicated above, in order to read them. So, if, as in this 1921 publication, you found uncut pages, you knew no-one else’s fingers had left their marks on the virginal leaves. It is such a pleasure to know that you were the first, and gives you a responsibility to take great care of your chosen treasure.

Although this slender little volume from The Bodley Head is illustrated throughout, I have chosen to restrain any impulse to scan the internal pages; because straining the spine to flatten the book in the scanner seems too high a price to pay; and because the woodcuts don’t appeal to me, as they display the heaviness I associate with Black Forest carving, thus denying the elegance of the text in translation by J. Lewis May.

Wood Pigeon and Owl

Without our double glazing I may have been able to eavesdrop on this avian conversation through the sitting room window.

My contribution to the general garden maintenance of the day was to hold the steps and otherwise assist The Head Gardener in retraining clematises at the front.

Jackie reflected training clematis

This photograph was executed with one hand on the steps, and the other on the camera.

Clematis

Clematises such as this one don’t yet need such mountaineering feats to support them;

Violas in hanging basket

and the hanging baskets are within easy reach.

Bird's nest

While tidying her containers behind the shed, Jackie has found a nest from which the chicks have hedged and flown without our knowing it was there.

Thalictrum

She has also found the thalictrum’s true element in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Shady Path

Visible in the Dragon Bed in the centre of this Shady Path view,

Peony

we have a new peony bloom.

Phantom Path

This view along The Phantom Path leads us to the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden entrance

up the entrance of which Madame Alfred Carière and Summer Wine are speedily making their way;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and within, Jacqueline du Pré displays various stages of life.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The Dymo Marker

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Well, I did cut the grass, and wander round the garden, but that was along time ago. The rest of the day was spent preparing my finances for my very efficient accountant. Had I done even a modicum of filing any time during the last seven months, the task may have been a little more exciting. But I didn’t. So it wasn’t.

Jackie, however, may have found her own awesome effort, rather more satisfying.

Jackie working on Dragon BedDragon Bed

She spent the whole day resuscitating a small section of the Dragon Bed. This involved the usual method of improving the soil with compost; finger-fishing for thousands of tiny allium bulbs; prising out buried lumps of stone which now form the access path you see here; and planting new residents.

Tree peony

We have also been clearing the Palm Bed; enough to allow a glimpse of a hidden peony.

Clematis

The inherited clematis on the Shady Path is doing well,

rose Special Anniversary

as is the rose Special Anniversary, in the Rose Garden where

Rose garden

Festive Jewel begins a bid to compete with the fluorescent heucheras.

Honesty

I swear that wherever there is a breeze we can hear the jingling of Spanish doubloons.

Mimuluses self-seeded

The red mimuluses in the hanging basket slung here, not only survived the mild winter, but also self-seeded in the camouflaged blue painted Butler sink below.

Viburnum plicatum

The viburnum plicatum becomes daily more glorious.

View from Waterboy

This is a view from the Shady Bed towards the Waterboy;

Revived tree

and another across the Phantom Path, leading to the revived yellow-leaved tree, on which, when we arrived, only the bottom right hand branch bore foliage.

Rose garden evening

Winchester Cathedral As we sat in the Rose Garden with our pre-dinner drinks I reflected from my chair on what it would look like when all these plants were in full bloom.

Now, boring as my day mostly was, it did have one major benefit. Jackie has painstakingly written her plant labels in black permanent marker. Unfortunately this is not proof against the wind and the rain. My files are all labelled with a Dymo Marker, which I thought would be longer lasting. So I showed her how to work it, and she was away.

Mister Chatty Man, proprietor of Hordle Chinese Take Away, provided our dinner this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Precipitation

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Keeping out of the kitchen this morning was just not an option. The enticing aromas of tonight’s dinner would not permit it. Preparation of Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi was under way. The spicy fragrance and enticing colours of food from the Indian sub-continent would, if necessary, compensate for lack of taste. They don’t even have to think about that, for their flavours are second to none.

Chicken jalfrezi 1

Initially I resisted, until the bubbling sauce got the better of me;

Chicken jalfrezi 2

and the tomato puree added rich colour.

Chicken jalfrezi 3

Jackie normally likes to fry the chopped chicken pieces separately, but they had not been defrosted in time, so

Chicken jalfrezi 4

in they slid,

Chicken jalfrezi 5

and the tempting mixture continued cooking, until,

Chicken jalfrezi 6

with the addition of ample chicken stock, the pan simmered away the early part of the afternoon,

Chicken jalfrezi 7

until the lid was removed to release the condensed liquid and allow the meal to thicken up.

Heavy overnight rain and a thick cloud layer rendered the garden an inverted version of the pan lid. When the precipitation ceased

Fly and raindrops on crab apple blossom

a bedraggled fly still sought shelter among the liquid drops on the crab apple blossom;

Clematis

our first large blue clematis bloom had taken a battering;

Rhododendron

and the first offerings of an early rhododendron,

Rose Shropshire Lad

rose Shropshire Lad,

Peony

and tree peony, were all somewhat soggy.

Early this evening the weather was dry enough for us to sit in the rose garden for pre-dinner drinks. The higher and brighter notes of the small birds combined with the deeper ones of the wood pigeons, against the repeated refrain of The Needles lighthouse fog warning.

Rose Madame Alfred Carriere and raindrops

A weeping Madame Alfred Carriere had popped out during the day,

Misty background

in time to catch the mist rolling in from the sea.

Meat samosas, egg fried rice, and paneer in a curry sauce, were served with the aforementioned stependous jalfrezi.  Sticky toffee pudding and cream was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I started another bottle of the Cotes du Rhone.

Streets Of London

Shadow, grass, gravel

Again, the early morning sun, casting shadows across the gravel to meet grasses on the other side of the path, worked it’s magic

Peony

on the peonies;

Roses

on new rambling red roses;

Aquilegias

on rose tinted aquilegias;

Clematis Warsaw Nike

on the clematis Doctor Ruppel;

Geranium palmatum

on a somewhat nibbled geranium palmatum;

Bluebottle on frog's back

and warming the stone of a frog’s back on which a bluebottle hitched a ride.

I have mentioned before, my, as yet unpublished, Streets of London Series. From March 2004 until some time in 2008, I conducted this exercise, wandering around during breaks in my working day. The constraint I set myself was that the street signs should appear in the shots. There are many hundreds of these colour slides taken with my Olympus OM2, so I decided to embark upon scanning them. I entered the first dozen, from March to April 2004, today.

Streets of London001

From Hanover Gate, NW1 can be seen the burnished dome of Regent’s Park mosque.

Streets of London002

Warwick Place W9 stands on the corner of Warwick Avenue. The mind boggles at the van’s signage.

Streets of London003

The ubiquitous McDonald’s has an outlet on the corner of York Way N1. Perhaps Securitas is coming to collect the takings.

Streets of London004

A spindly young London Plane comes into leaf on Castellain Road W9.

Streets of London005

Maida Avenue W2 runs alongside the Little Venice stretch of the Regent’s Canal, forming a junction with Warwick Avenue which spans the bridge. The white building on our left is The Bridge House, featured in ‘Time To Go’.

Streets of London007

This corner of Gray’s Inn Road, WC1 stands diagonally opposite Kings Cross Station. The area is always clogged with traffic.

Streets of London011

The station itself stands on the corner of Euston Road and York Way, N1.

Streets of London008

The subject of the witty window cleaner sculpture in Chapel Street, NW1, scratches his head in contemplation of the task of cleaning Marks and Spencer’s glass fronted tower standing alongside Edgware Road Metropolitan Line station.

Streets of London009

From this corner of Warwick Avenue, W2, narrow boats on the Regent’s canal are visible through the railings.

Streets of London006

In Sardinia Street WC2, Angelo advertises his hairdressing, whilst thespians trip the tango.

Streets of London012

The eponymous Church Street Market runs from Edgware Road. At this far end it is joined by Penfold Street, NW8.

The sign for Gracedale Road, SW, is now many miles from Furzedown, so I have inserted it in a more appropriate post.

Margery and Paul popped in for a very welcome surprise visit, ‘to check up on’ me. This was, as usual, great fun. Paul put me right on the jackdaws I had recently incorrectly identified as hooded crows. I amended the post accordingly. Thanks, Paul.

Jackie returned home early this evening, and we dined on her superb chicken and egg jalfrezi with special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden whist I opened another bottle of the Madiran and drank some of it.