Decorating A Dingy Day

Intermittent sunshine sparkled on the drizzle of an increasingly rainy day. This was just as well for Aaron of A.P. Maintenance, one of whose tasks this morning was tidying the shed interior.

This involved removing all contents in order to lay a clutch of doormats bought from the Efford Recycling Centre a couple of years ago;

then replacing them in good order.

The hardy pink rose that has weathered the recent storms has now reached her full maturity.

Elizabeth had driven off to Pilley this morning for the next stage of unpacking in her new house. After lunch Jackie and I delivered more of her equipment. Friends Paul and Cathy were also in attendance.

On reaching the village green at neighbouring Portmore we noticed a group of residents decorating the tree.

Naturally I ambled over and investigated. Very friendly community members were continuing a tradition begun about six years ago. The idea was the creation of a focal point for meeting and getting to know each other over mulled wine which was to follow.

The young woman under this splendid hat was my informant.

The fact that four of the people present, including this gentleman and his companion perched on the ladder entering into the spirit of things, were recent incomers who hadn’t met their neighbours rather made the point.

The usual donkeys wandered along the gloom of Norleywood Road,

pausing to try their luck with attentive visitors.

Others preferred the certainty of prickly gorse.

Jacqueline being with Mum, Elizabeth joined us again this evening. Pannage Pork, we are told, especially the crackling, tastes particularly good, so, trying not to imagine I might have photographed our particular meal snuffling among the acorns, we bought some, and Jackie cooked it this evening. It was, indeed, particularly good; served as it was with potatoes au gratin; roast butternut squash; Yorkshire pudding; crisp carrots; tender runner beans; and tasty gravy. My wife drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I both drank Western Cape Malbec 2018.

Empress Of The Senses

Winds had subsided overnight and sunshine has returned. Another very strong storm is predicted for tomorrow. In the meantime

the pink rose stays erect

and the Japanese maple leaves cling to their moorings.

This morning I finished reading:

The front jacket shows the French icon of the demi-monde as a young woman.

On the back she appears in her later years, by which time she had become a celebrity recognised by the literary establishment. The ISBN number of this 1991 publication can be seen beneath the photographs.

Herbert Lottman has written an engaging account. Unlike John Carey whose review was published in The Times Books of 17th March, 1991, I will not précis the life in case my readers will wish to read it for themselves. All I will mention is that Colette’s painful last years is one more reminder of how fortunate I am to live in an era where hip and knee replacements under anaesthetic are commonplace, at least in my culture.

Richard Willson’s excellent newspaper illustration probably reveals enough.

A brief obituary of this prolific caricaturist and political cartoonist appears in https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/richard-willson-political-cartoonist-and-environmentalist-6281503.html on 26th December 2011

One of my methods of selecting books to read is the review. This one I had slipped inside the book where I will leave it as a marker.

My mother’s frailty has steadily worsened since she was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago. It is clear that she needs 24 hour care, either at home or in a residential establishment. This afternoon we are travelling to her home in the village of West End where we will join in Elizabeth’s discussions on the options with Mum. A Waking Carer will be on hand when we take my sister out for a meal. I doubt whether I will have time to follow this up until tomorrow.

Keeping Their Heads Down

Gusts from the recent storms still swept the garden today.

The plastic cover wrapping the garden chairs was sucked in and out like bellows. We did our best to loosen yet still implement the rope ties applied yesterday.

The pink rose seen in the background swayed to and fro;

as did all the trees. The  Weeping Birch limbs lashed like cats o’ nine tails, while flickering Japanese maple foliage frolicked on tightrope branches.

This afternoon we drove down to Milford on Sea for a brief look at the turbulent waves and  spray soaring over the protective walls and raking the rocks below. The Isle of Wight was barely visible, although I could clearly see an intrepid couple walking along the distant sea wall while I struggled to keep myself and my camera steady.

Some gulls swooped and hovered above the waves, but most kept their heads down on the lower ground of the car park.

One photographer sensibly employed a tripod.

From here we continued on to visit Helen and Bill in their new home at Fordingbridge. They have downsized to a bungalow which offers a most comfortable sense of space. With Jacqueline also engaged in selling her house and buying another, there is definitely a sense of sisters on the move.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers with sautéed potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine Bonval Cote du Rhone 2016.