Private View

A couple of days ago Margery suggested we should bring some greetings cards to the exhibition. We therefore selected a suitably themed batch from the factory we began in August 2013, and took them over this afternoon in preparation for the evening’s Private View.

Driving through Beaulieu on the way to Bitterne, we followed a large Travis Perkins lorry, which was forced, at regular intervals to come to a standstill in front of us,

Donkeys on road

in order to manoeuvre round donkeys on the road.

We did, however, arrive in good time to help Paul and Jutta Manser, a talented painter and wood engraver, to complete the hanging.

Every wall, including that on the stairway of this little house devoted to an art gallery, is utilised to the full.

Prints and albums

The ‘before and after’ albums were displayed on a cabinet surface beneath one of the walls.


alongside the albums was a rack of greetings cards.

Shady path printTable top print

Prints 2Prints 3Rain on Nasturtium leaves print

Other prints were to be seen in every room.

Prints 1

These, and others, were being prepared for placing in racks for when the exhibition opens to the public tomorrow.

As can be seen, Paul has done a splendid job mounting the exhibits.

Paintings 1Paintings 2

It has been an honour to share space with some of the excellent paintings,


and works in other materials in this event.


There were many generous donations of plants and seeds, with which to raise funds for Southampton Public Libraries.

Later this evening, Elizabeth booked a table at The Fishers Pond public house in Colden Common. We arrived on time. The reception we received from this member of The Vintage Inn chain was so appalling as to be insulting. It is far too late now for me to be bothered to detail this, although Elizabeth will be writing to them. Needless to say, we left, and drove on to The Fox and Hounds in Fair Oak, which could not have been in greater contrast.

Meals at The Fox and Hounds

There I enjoyed a mixed grill; Jackie, a burger; and Elizabeth, bangers and mash. My sister and I drank shiraz, and Jackie chose coke.

A Long Drop

Raindrops on blade of grass 8.12

This was a dreary day, covered in cloud and drizzling.  However, we were able to continue in the garden; Jackie with her general maintenance, and I making further inroads into the ivy-clad corner.  A framed nursery bed is to be returned to grass.  I had removed the frame in readiness for creating the scented bed.  Jackie dug and sifted the soil so it is ready for seeding.  She also weeded and potted up some plants which require a certain amount of thought for their final resting place to be determined.  The head gardener, Jackie, and the lady of the manor, Elizabeth had both bought carloads of plants this week.  I had never thought we could run out of available space.  Until now.

Over lunch we discussed, among other subjects, plant varieties and boundaries between properties. ¬†The subject of plant names came up because I had misinformed Michael Watts as to the identity of the Leycesteria photographed for yesterday’s post. ¬†I confused it with Abutilon, which we don’t have. ¬†Michael, the qualities I described do apply to the Leycesteria, but the Abutilon is not hardy. ¬†Hopefully this will demonstrate that I am definitely the under-gardener in this partnership. ¬†It was natural, given that we were eating an unusual variety of cucumber, that our expert was able to tell us that there is one called ‘Burpless’. ¬†I thought that did bear repeating.

In retrospect, the boundary issue was a little more alarming.  Potentially.  Apparently Richard Barbe-Baker (see 26th. May), when splitting up his land for sale, ensured that the neighbours on all sides would be responsible for fences, wall, hedges, and the like.  This caused a minor dispute when one set of neighbours wanted to replace the laurel hedge which I had been attacking all morning.  Whoever is responsible for the fixture dividing properties, the people on the other side must agree to the nature and materials of what is proposed.  Elizabeth and Rob did not want their wonderful, well-established, hedge replaced by a fence.  Perhaps having been unaware that I had been tugging away at thick stems of ivy entwined around that very laurel, Elizabeth casually remarked, in passing, that there was a sheer drop the other side.  I was a little less vigorous in the afternoon.  The neighbouring houses, you see, were built in a disused gravel pit.

Something similar pertained at Lindum House in Newark. ¬†Our garden ran along the side of the back gardens of Wellington Road. ¬†Ours was on a higher level than the others. ¬†There was therefore a similar drop on the other side. ¬†Against the wall between us and No. 10 Wellington Road, on their side, was a small ladder. ¬†This had been placed to enable the small boy who lived there to hop over and play with our previous owners’ dog. ¬†When we took up residence we left the ladder so the lad could nip across and play with Sam and Louisa. ¬†Paddy, our dog, when she arrived into our household, and when the little boy had made way for two other canines, took to leaping from our side into the new neighbour’s garden, relishing the opportunity to frolic with her own kind. ¬†Being, until she ruptured her stifle chasing a hare, a nimble creature,¬†she would scale the ladder back to us when she’d had enough. ¬†Unfortunately the ladder eventually disintegrated. ¬†This meant the owner of her playmates had to lift her up to the level of our wall. ¬†This was all right when he was at home. ¬†When he wasn’t she would have to call for assistance from our side. ¬†Which might take some time.

Danni and Andy joined us this afternoon and stayed on for Jackie’s evening meal. ¬†This was a very tasty Shepherd’s Pie, which, among other ingredients, contained mushrooms. Jackie drank her usual Hoegaarden, Andy orange juice,and the rest of us, assorted red wines. ¬†As usual at The Firs, this was followed by the eponymous mess. ¬†This consists of applying whatever is available to the bed of a merangue, and crunching it all up.